Life in small town America is hard for Jane. On top of the usual teenage troubles with peers and homework and boredom, Jane lives alone in a strange old house with her invalid mother. Her mother has been near catatonic for years, afflicted by some strange wasting disease. It’s only Jane who keeps her alive, day in and day out. Day in and day out. Day in and Day out.
But then one day everything changes. A new girl shows up in school. Her name is Sabrina and she sees something in Jane that she doesn’t even see in herself.
Their friendship will push Jane to unearth the mysteries of her mother’s past and the dark history of her missing father. Forced to face a monstrous lineage, Jane will have to make decisions about just who and what she wants to be.
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 7.10(h) x 1.00(d)|
|Age Range:||14 - 12 Years|
About the Author
Victoria Dalpe: Victoria Dalpe is a writer and visual artist based out of Providence, RI where she lives with her husband, writer and film maker, Philip Gelatt. From the attic window they can see the spot where HP Lovecraft's ancestral home once stood. Alas, it is now a Starbucks. Victoria loves horror movies, reads too much, and has a soft spot for painting animal skulls all day.
What People are Saying About This
“I loved this story. I loved the dark themes, the conflicted characters, as well as the intoxicating relationships that stem from two creatures. From a mother’s love, to the manipulation of lust and affection, Dalpe wields that darkness like a brush, as she dyes the otherwise tragic beauty of romance into black. I would rate this book a 5.0 out of 5.0 stars, and would recommend it to fantasy and paranormal romance lovers in general.”
Horror Novel Reviews
“My favorite thing about Parasite Life is that, even though on the surface it is about the solitary life of a monster, it deeply explores the convoluted nature of human relationships. It points out the selfish aspects of love that can be hard to face, and it prompts the reader to examine their own motives when interacting with others. Family, dating, love, sex, and so many other kinds of relationships are complicated and confusing, and this novel takes them seriously and encourages readers to do so, too. . . . Rating: 4/5.”
Carla Reviews Books
“Overall, I very much enjoyed Parasite Life. It held a good emotional narrative that kept me sucked in. Watching Jane evolve and struggle internally with the beast inside her was interesting to watch. Even the relationships felt natural and refreshing. . . . I would definitely recommend this book to any horror or emotional drama fan.”
“Victoria Dalpe’s stellar debut novel suggests that sometimes you consume the ones you love. The prose is tough and unsentimental, yet evocative in its depiction of the cancerous nature of abuse. Parasite Life battens down on youinsidious and predatory.”
Laird Barron, author of Blood Standard
“How do you breathe new life into the YA vampire novel? If you’re Victoria Dalpe, you do it by wrapping a refreshingly humanistic interior and an incredibly compelling narrative voice in the Gothic, primal, atavistic horror that made the children of the night sing to us in the first place.”
Orrin Grey, author of Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts
“All relationships are parasitic. That’s never been truer than in Parasite Life. A visceral and tempestuous ride through a genuine teen hell, Parasite Life is a beautifully written, gothic tale about that give-and-give-and-take in all kinds of lovefamilial and romanticthat slowly drain us dry even as they feed us. In Parasite Life , Dalpe tells a fine damned story.”
Susie Moloney, author of A Dry Spell, The Dwelling , and Things Withered: Stories
“A dark and stormy read! Parasite Life is the kind of book that makes you want to lock the doors and draw the curtains just so you won’t be interrupted. Victoria Dalpe is such a charming woman that it’s surprising to realize she has such a dark and macabre imaginationa classic tale whose Gothic roots run deep throughout the story.”
Adrianne Ambrose, author of Fangs for Nothing, Confessions of a Virgin Sacrifice , and the “Betty and Veronica” Archie Comics
“In Victoria Dalpe’s compelling debut, seventeen-year-old Jane DeVry shares a house in a small New Hampshire town with a mother suffering from a mysterious condition whose symptoms include mysterious wounds and sudden bouts of screaming. When the friendship of a new student at school awakens new desires in her, Jane sets out to learn who she is, beginning an odyssey that takes her first into her mother’s old journal, and then to the art scene in contemporary Manhattan, in search of a father she has never known. Smart, gripping, and possessed of real emotional depth, Parasite Life invokes the traditions of the Gothic while taking the form boldly into the twenty-first century.”
John Langan, author of The Fisherman
“Already trapped in a claustrophobic life which forces her to play caretaker to her own mentally ill mother, teenaged Jane is finally forced to confront the secrets and lies which surround her when her “attraction to Sabrina, a new girl at school, awakens hungers too violent to ignore. Victoria Dalpe’s Parasite Life is a coolly sensual slice of darkness that reads like Anne Rice for the post-Twilight age.”
Gemma Files, Shirley Jackson and Sunburst Award-winning author of Experimental Film
“ Parasite Life is a totally unique spin on the vampire genre. This dark and blood-soaked coming of age tale haunts and intrigues as the secrets of Jane’s past are revealed.”
Abby Denson, author of Cool Japan Guide and Dolltopia
“Sensual, moving, and sometimes grim, Parasite Life explores the tough questions: what would you do for love? What would you do for need? And who would you betray to survive?”
Nancy Baker, author of Cold Hillside and A Terrible Beauty
“Visceral but polished, grim but lush, and ultimately optimistic. A coming-of-age story in more ways than one.”
E.L. Chen, author of The Good Brother
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reviewed by Robin Goodfellow for Readers' Favorite Parasite Life by Victoria Dalpe is a dark, gothic novel about the destruction love can bring. The book is separated into four parts. The first part, Ars Moriendi, introduces a girl named Jane, who has to care for her sickly mother. She meets a girl named Sabrina, and while she begins to slowly build up a vestige of happiness, she discovers that she is something not wholly human. In Imago, both Jane and Sabrina must find her father in order to determine how she could coexist with normal society. In Momento Mori, Jane realizes just how deep a mother’s love can really be, as well as what it means to finally let go. Finally, in the Epilogue, Jane understands who she is, and accepts herself, despite the death that will come with it. More often than not, I was perplexed by Jane’s mother. She was ruined by Hugh, who considered her little more than a plaything to him, and yet through it all she still decided to have his child. She knew Jane was a half-vampire, and although killing the child would be a kinder fate, in the end she still chose to care for her. The things she did for Jane were confounding, as if saying she was indifferent to her daughter was just empty words. Sabrina, on the other hand, was a bit purer than that, almost naive. She was childlike in a sense, in that when she discovered what Jane was, she wasn’t harsh with Jane. She kept Jane human. She prevented Jane from drifting off into what was essentially damning her. Finally, there’s Jane herself, who, at first, appeared to be an endearing wallflower. But the more I found out about her, the more I realized that this story could very well be her fall from grace. I enjoyed reading about her struggle to retain her humanity, as well as her shifting paradigm of the world around her. What's more, I loved the dark themes, the conflicted characters, as well as the intoxicating relationships that stem from two creatures. From a mother’s love, to the manipulation of lust and affection, Dalpe wields that darkness like a brush, as she dyes the otherwise tragic beauty of romance into black.
There are many branches of the horror genre that have drastically needed resuscitation for years now, and Parasite Life is the CPR that vampires have been waiting for. While effortlessly capturing the dreary, isolated life of an outsider teenager in rural New England, author Victoria Dalpe crafts a brooding and sepulchral character study of an adolescent woman being spread thin by a multitude of burdens, including caring for her mute and sick mother, their dilapidated home, navigating high school life, and trying to find an identity by reaching into a past that she is struggling to remember. Aside from being thrown into the deep end of adulthood, pieces of a morbid puzzle start to worm themselves into her life, and just when you think things couldn’t get more complicated, the story takes a sharp and unexpected turn. Parasite Life is a slow burn, with each chapter meticulously unwrapping another character or clue as to what is lurking in the past, present and future. The pacing of the book is steady and maintains an eerie aura and intense atmosphere. It was an easy read due to Dalpe’s talented story-telling; her ability to build and maintain mystery leaves you eagerly waiting for answers. I truly believe this will be an innovative and crucial contribution to the vampire genre. Though this is classified as a young adult novel, the content is often mature and dark; even as an adult, I saw myself in the main character as my memory was thrust back into the struggles and awkwardness of high school, and how difficult it can be to find yourself. This is cerebral and modern gothic horror at its finest, and I am looking forward to future works from Dalpe. Highly recommended!