Throat

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Overview

R. A. Nelson takes us on a supernatural thrill ride, a modern-day vampire story set on a NASA base and filled with space-and-science intrigue. Seventeen-year-old Emma feels cursed by her epilepsy—until the lost night. She's shocked to wake up in the hospital one morning, weak from blood loss. When her memories begin to return, she pieces together that it was a man—a monster—who attacked her: a vampire named Wirtz. And it was her very condition that saved her: a grand mal seizure interrupted Wirtz and left Emma ...
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Overview

R. A. Nelson takes us on a supernatural thrill ride, a modern-day vampire story set on a NASA base and filled with space-and-science intrigue. Seventeen-year-old Emma feels cursed by her epilepsy—until the lost night. She's shocked to wake up in the hospital one morning, weak from blood loss. When her memories begin to return, she pieces together that it was a man—a monster—who attacked her: a vampire named Wirtz. And it was her very condition that saved her: a grand mal seizure interrupted Wirtz and left Emma with all the amazing powers of a vampire—heightened senses, rapid speed—but no need to drink blood. Is Emma now a half-vampire girl? One thing soon becomes clear: the vampire Wirtz is fierce and merciless, feared even by his own kind, and won't leave a job undone.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Nelson (Days of Little Texas) proves that the vampire genre is not entirely sucked dry with this fast-paced adventure featuring an enjoyably flawed heroine. Emma's epilepsy has made her something of an outsider: she's prone to anger and rash decision-making, and her condition prevents her from getting a driver's license. On her own following a disastrous soccer game and car accident, she's attacked by a vampire; waking up in the hospital, she discovers that she's acquired a vampire's powers. When the vampire who assaulted her, Wirtz, comes back to finish the job, Emma flees to protect her family. She takes refuge on a NASA base, where she meets science geek Sagan, an unexpected friend and ally. With Wirtz relentlessly stalking her, Emma must rally Sagan and several local vampires to save both herself and everyone she cares about—Wirtz may have centuries on her, but Emma has her own advantages. With a pseudoscientific take on vampires, a smattering of Germanic lore, and a strikingly unconventional showdown, this is a robust alternative to the forbidden love tropes of wispier vampire novels. Ages 12–up. (Jan.)
VOYA - Vikki Terrile
Emma views her seizure condition as a curse; it has kept her from getting her driver's license, cost her the one boy she ever cared about, and makes her feel like a freak. But when a monster attacks her in the Georgia woods, it is her epilepsy that saves her life and causes her to develop extraordinary powers. Nelson's lengthy vampire novel has romance, adventure, history, astrophysics, and MacGyver-esque defense plans, but still lacks sparks. Emma, half-human/half-vampire after a grand mal seizure, interrupts evil vampire Wirtz's attack of her; she is a sympathetic character with all of the superpowers of a vampire and none of the physical limitations (other than having to wear special sunglasses). Sagan, the young man Emma meets when she accidently finds refuge on a NASA Space Center, is near painfully perfect. His presence and the set-up for Emma's unique powers leave the story feeling contrived, and—despite the science and adventure aspects—formulaic, as though Nelson was told to include a vampire romance to make his NASA adventure marketable. The setting at NASA, Sagan's research, and the vampire history Emma learns from three other vampires who live nearby seem to be setting the stage for an event that does not come; taken with the novel's last paragraphs, a sequel seems likely. Vampire romances are still in high demand, and this one delivers the goods within a package that could have been better but should still find an audience with Twilight fans on the hunt. Reviewer: Vikki Terrile
Children's Literature - Haley Maness
Emma, a moody, aggressive 17 year-old, has struggled with epilepsy all her life, but as she ages her seizures have grown fewer and farther apart. Two days before being seizure free for six months, Emma has a big seizure on the soccer field. In a fit of anger she drives off into the mountains of Georgia and crashes her mom's car. While looking for help she is discovered by Wirtz, a powerful, fear-inducing vampire. He is scared away by another strong seizure, but not before managing to bite her. Now, Emma has many of the known, cliche powers of a vampire without the need to fear the sun or drink blood. But, Wirtz, who never leaves a job unfinished, begins to hunt her down. This fast paced and frightening read will shock readers into wanting more, although Throat is not an outstanding novel in a constant stream of dark, vampire—themed books. Reviewer: Haley Maness
From the Publisher
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, February 2011:
"Nelson offers...variation to the vampire YA heap with his pseudo-transformation epileptic chick, but even more interesting and memorable is the thoughtful exploration of the way logic and faith (in varying forms) can sometimes yield much more remarkable results than either alone."

Publisher's Weekly, February 14, 2011:
"Nelson (Days of Little Texas) proves that the vampire genre is not entirely sucked dry with this fast-paced adventure featuring an enjoyably flawed heroine...With a pseudoscientific take on vampires, a smattering of Germanic lore, and a strikingly unconventional showdown, this is a robust alternative to the forbidden love tropes of wispier vampire novels."

BookPleasures.com, December 25, 2010:

"This is not your regular vamp fare, guys and gals. From the romance that is anything but trite, to the amazing science fiction aspects, you will find yourself FINALLY happy that a good writer wrote a very good vampire book. Enjoy!"

TeenReads.com, February 19, 2011:
"I picked up a bit of German vocabulary as Emma's grandfather, Papi, and all the vampires speak the language; I was given an insider's view of what it's like to live with epilepsy; and I learned some things about vampires that I never knew before...THROAT is quite well-written, and I very much enjoyed reading it. I think you will, too."

Bookloons.com, March 1, 2011:
"This unusual supernatural thriller shines a different light on vampires."

From the Hardcover edition.

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—When Emma is attacked by a vampire, the epilepsy she has always regarded as a curse actually saves her life. Because of her condition, she wakes from the attack with a vampire's speed and strength, but without a craving for human blood or the need to completely avoid sunlight. She doesn't even realize what has happened to her until she starts adding up the pieces—and until the vampire starts showing up in her dreams, tracking her, and threatening to attack her family. To protect them, Emma flees to an abandoned building at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. She eventually meets a sweet and geeky guy who protects her from discovery by the NASA staff and some good vampires who help her plan how to take down the evil vampire before he can kill everyone she loves. This gripping book offers a fresh take on vampire mythology, with some fascinating scientific elements and a hint of romance on the side. The glut of information needed for the story's complex world-building slows the plot in places, but the interactions between characters ring true, and the heart-pounding action sequences make up for the slower moments.—Misti Tidman, formerly at Boyd County Public Library, Ashland, KY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375867002
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 1/25/2011
  • Pages: 464
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.52 (w) x 5.80 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

R. A. NELSON is the author of Teach Me, a Book Sense Kid Pick, Breathe My Name ("Incandescent"—Kirkus Reviews), and Days of Little Texas. He lives in north Alabama with his wife and four sons and works at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. Visit him on the Web at RANelsonBooks.com.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Read an Excerpt

1. THE CURSE

When I was thirteen, I ran away from home because of a curse.

Mom caught up with me miles out in the country, standing in front of an abandoned grain silo. The sky was full of what looked like baby tornadoes. I had just been examined pretty thoroughly by a three-legged dog. I was sweaty, thirsty, filthy with road dust, and my heart was completely fractured.

Mom turned the car around and headed back to the apartment, yelling the whole way how badly I had frightened her. I turned my head to the window to shut her out. I just wasn't up for it. For the first time in my life, I didn't feel like fighting back. I was broken in too many places.

Instead I thought about the curse, how crazy it had been to try to outrun it. How do you run away from something that's inside you?

But I had learned something from walking all that way. I had learned the world was an amazingly big and strange and unknown place. There could be anything out there. Anything at all. Even something evil. I wouldn't have believed that then. I believe it now.

Four years later I was sitting in that same junky old car and we were headed east toward the north Georgia mountains. This time the sky was dotted with innocent-looking spring clouds. Mom was driving and my sister, Manda, was shrieking Disney Channel tunes in the backseat, helping me to get my game face on.

After we crossed the state line, the landscape began to change. We passed through sagging towns that could have been renamed Foreclosureville, then nothing but red clay fields, mossy farms, and small, lonely houses clinging to rocky hillsides.

In the last clear place before the mountains I saw a slash in the forest where brown and white horses were cropping grass. The horses made me ache. I'd always wanted to ride, but my neurologist, Dr. Peters, had convinced my mom it would be too dangerous. Because of the curse.

When we got to the Appalachian foothills, the forest took over and the road began to rise. Mom's old Kia labored and whined. A blue Mustang shot past us, honking, its emergency lights flashing. Three girls were hanging out the windows, laughing and screaming, hair blowing across their faces.

I knew before I looked that Gretchen Roberts was driving. Gretchen had been my best friend in the eighth grade before the curse had changed my life forever. Now she was beautiful and had her own car and all the guys called her G-Girl. We didn't talk a whole lot anymore unless we had to on the soccer field.

Every time we traveled to a tournament, Gretchen played cat and mouse with us, knowing I was the only junior in our entire high school that didn't have a license.

I swore quietly and glanced at my mother. She was hunched over the steering wheel, long brown hair covering what I knew was a look of worried annoyance.

In two more days it would be my hands on that wheel, my foot on the gas. Nothing in front of me but the open road. Forty-eight measly little hours and I would be officially seizure free for six consecutive months. Long enough to satisfy the Alabama Department of Motor Vehicles. For once, I would beat the curse.

Now we were climbing long switchbacks into a shaggy forest. Tall trees hung over the road, and thick clumps of kudzu and poison ivy made the day seem darker.

"I heard they filmed Deliverance around here," Mom said, eyes cutting back and forth nervously. "That old movie where the redneck makes the city guy squeal like a pig?"

I could believe it. I could only see a few yards into the gloom. But the feeling of mystery and danger made me hungry to go exploring. To escape.

"How do you make somebody squeal like a pig?" Manda said. She was five and the main reason I remembered how to smile most days.

"Like this," I said, and reached back, going "Oink! Oink! Oink!" and tickling her stomach until she screamed.

Now it was Mom's turn to swear. "Stop it, Emma! You're going to cause an accident! And put your seat belt back on!"

We passed a historical marker that said South Edge of Dahlonega. That's all I was able to catch. I knew Dahlonega was some kind of mine. Coal? Silver? Gold? I couldn't remember.

It would be useless asking her to stop. Mom didn't even care about her own history, let alone anybody else's. The last time I asked her about my dad, she told me to Google him. I did, and all I could find was a service that wanted $39.95 for a peek at his latest utility bill.

I had already made up my mind: the first thing I was going to do after getting my license was take my mother on a long road trip and pull over at every marker. Read each word lovingly. I knew what she would say.

"You have no sense of time, Emma."

Sure, Mom. As long as you don't count the kind that's measured in centuries. Or driver's licenses. Two more days.

We made a wrong turn looking for the soccer fields, and eventually the pavement dead-ended in a shadowy clearing. In front of us sat an old gray building perched on stacks of flat river stones. Its windows were specked with mud, and an algae-coated stream crept along beside it.

"Nice place for a murder," I said.

"Let's get out!" Manda said, straining against her seat. "I want to see!"

Mom cursed and jerked the wheel around crazily, throwing up gravel and road smoke. After we found the main road again, the forest magically opened up, revealing ten soccer fields smothered in sunshine and dozens of girls romping around in the most bizarre color combinations you ever saw.

"Thank God," Mom said.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 17 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    REally Good!!!

    Was very surprised by this one, I didn't think it was going to be as good as it was. Action-Packed,Danger,Romance, Adventure= Throat! Really good REad!! :)

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2013

    Better than twilight

    I usually hate books about vampires but seriously...
    The first thing that shocked me was the idea of being a half vampire. Awesome.
    Then of course, there's the love story. There's no love at first sight, and I wasn't actually sickened by the romance. Sagan is an enjoyable character. And he's not a vampire that does all the work!
    There are a few funny moments in this book like when Emma shows Sagan what a half vampire can do.
    My only criticism is that there's room for a sequel but there is no sign of there being any.
    Overall:
    No love triangle
    Steady romance
    Humor
    Female protagonist
    Vampires
    Yep! Better love story than Twilight.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 27, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Good book!

    I will admit that this is a strange book that actually got my attention. What got me hooked was the plot. The characters were a little hard to grasp. Some seemed unbelievable while others you can get right away!
    Emma is not your normal teenager. She had epilepsy and the things of the world seem far for her. She struggles with finding who she is or where she fits. After having everything she has worked for blown up in her face, Emma runs away crashing the car. But not before a vampire named Wirtz gets to her.

    I really enjoyed reading Emma. Her character has gone through so much and for once just wanted to be normal. No doctors, no medications, just a regular teenager. I felt for Emma and the anger that she harbored. She had a lot to deal with. After becoming a vampire, Emma seems to find herself more. She finds strength in not only what she has become but she finds strength in her new relationship with Sagan. Emma draws strength from him in order to do what she has to do. She does her best to protect her family by separating herself from them.

    The relationship between Emma and Sagan I loved. They fell into an easy relationship that was not stressed. They brought peace and comfort to each other was nice. I like how Sagan was there for her and helped her out. The setting I did find a bit strange. The whole thing was based on a NASA base plant where Emma was hiding out. Sagan worked there. There was lots of talk of aliens and astronomy.
    Overall, it was a good, fun, read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2011

    Read for yourself and be the judge!

    If you like strong female characters, action, realism, and your nerves on edge, you will probably like this story. The characters aren't stereotyped and flat, they are original and well rounded, but this is clearly a plot-driven story with an interesting setting. Plenty of tension sexual and otherwise. With something for both males and females who like to be entertained by a good story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 16, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    THROAT

    Had no idea if this was going to be a good read, but man did I hit the jack pot, the plot
    is so engrossing . You have a 17 year old girl who has epilepsy seizures that hit her
    randomly,and trying to be normal young girl going to school and living with this is
    really unthinkable . But this book gets you so engrossed with Emma and her battle
    to try and stay one step ahead of this Evil Vampire Wirtz who is stocking her every
    move, and of course there's a young heartthrob of a guy who helps Emma , so I will
    leave you with this little tidbit to entice you to read THROAT!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Joan Stradling for TeensReadToo

    Emma's epilepsy has ruined her life on more than one occasion, but she'll never forget the time it saved her from being killed by a vampire named Wirtz. She's grateful to be alive, but she soon learns she'll never be the same. Emma has the abilities and powers of a vampire, but without the curses of drinking blood and avoiding sunlight. It's a great feeling, until she realizes it's put her in danger. The vampire who bit her isn't about to let her walk free. He's hunting her, and Emma knows it's only a matter of time before he finds her. Desperate to keep her family safe, Emma runs away. She doesn't count on meeting Sagan and falling in love. When Wirtz catches up with her, she'll have to fight for her life - and for Sagan's, too. But Wirtz is a vampire other vampires fear, and he doesn't fight his battles alone. Emma isn't sure she can win the fight, but it won't be for lack of trying. Nelson's dark tale of ugly vampires is a refreshing change from the gorgeous vampires found in other novels. I loved Emma from the start. The characters and places are vivid, making it easy for the story to play in full color in my mind. The NASA Space Center setting is a particularly brilliant touch. I bit into THROAT, enjoyed every gulp of dark mystery, and was sorry to set it aside once I'd drained the story from it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2011

    wow!!!

    great

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted February 25, 2011

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    Posted February 1, 2011

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    Posted January 30, 2011

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    Posted June 28, 2011

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    Posted March 9, 2013

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