Jessica has always known she is adopted.  Her parents, the Packwoods, have told her the story of how they, as anthropologists, were studying her family in Romania when they were attacked. Jessica’s birth parents begged the Packwoods to take their daughter to safety.  Eventually, Jessica’s birth parents and many others of her family are killed and the Packwoods return to the United States with a new baby. Jessica hates the story.  She hates the fact that her parents were the kind of freaks that anthropologists wanted to study in the first place and how her birth name sounds so ethnic and strange.  Antanasia – what kind of name is that?

Jessica starts to get a little freaked out when she sees a strange and mysterious guy watching her from afar.  At the same time, she starts hearing her birth name whispered in the air.  Antanasia…  When the same strange and mysterious guy shows up at school she doesn’t know what to think.  It turns out he is an exchange student named Lucius Vladescu.  When Jessica points him out to her mother and tells her how he gives off a weird vibe she doesn’t seems too surprised to see him.  Jessica’s mother even invites him home for dinner to talk.  All this happens within the first 17 pages of the book.

Jessica (Antanasia) is a Romanian vampire princess who was betrothed to Lucius when they were born. The promise of their marriage has held their two clans, the Dragomirs and the Vladescus, in a tentative peace for years. If the wedding doesn’t take place, there will be a large scale war which will most likely lead to the destruction of the Dragomirs.

Jessica has a difficult time believing any of this.  She has a hard time believing anything that can’t be explained logically.  Lucius attempts to win her over while Jessica attempts to live her life like normal – pretending like she isn’t a vampire princess.

Both Jessica and Lucius go through major changes in the novel.  They have time to examine their true feelings about family and duty.  Beth Fantaskey does an excellent job keeping the reader guessing until the very end.  You will constantly be reassessing your opinion about how the story will end.  Personally, I found myself getting very nervous as I was getting toward the end of the book and I still thought there was so much that needed to happen.  Luckily, Fantaskey does a brilliant job tying up loose ends.  JESSICA’S GUIDE TO DATING ON THE DARK SIDE could easily be the beginning of a series (I don’t know if there will be a sequel or not), but it can also work as a great stand alone novel.

JESSICA’S GUIDE TO DATING ON THE DARK SIDE has become one of my new favorite young adult vampire novels.  I know I’ll be reading it again.

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