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.


Rue is trying not to worry.  Her mother has disappeared after a terrible fight with her father.  Right after her mother disappears her father is arrested and accused of murdering one of the students he teaches at the University.  Rue knows her father didn’t do anything wrong, but doesn’t know how to prove it.  To add to her stress, Rue starts seeing things.  Things that shouldn’t be possible in the real world.  Things with wings.  Things that look like faeries.

While Rue’s father is in jail she is taken to meet the grandfather she’s never met – her mother’s father.  She finds out that her grandfather is one of the fey and what he has planned for the world is a danger to all mankind.  Rue is the only one who can stop him.

When Rue’s mother makes a reappearance, she is extremely ill. Rue picks up some clues as to why her mother disappeared in the first place and puts others information together on her own.

In between looking for clues to the real story behind the girl her father is accused of killing, finding out about her mother, and coming to terms with her heritage, Rue is trying to maintain her life at school and with her friends.

THE GOOD NEIGHBORS is the first volume in the KIN series.  Holly Black wraps up this volume nicely while still leaving readers begging for more.  Fans of Black’s novels Tithe, Valiant, and Ironside will enjoy seeing the faeries come alive on the page of the graphic novel.  Be looking for sequels sometime in the future.

Raven is back for another adventure with the vampire love of her life, Alexander. Together they plot to keep Alexander’s cousin, Claude, from finding the blood vials he needs to turn into a full-blooded vampire.

If you haven’t read the actual books you’ll be missing some of the backstory.  It would be best to start at the beginning and then read the graphic novels in order to get the whole picture.  While this volume is longer than the first, it’s still not long enough.  It is too hard to wait for the next installment, which comes out Fall 2009.

Charlie has a parking fairy.  For a fourteen-year-old who can’t even drive, a parking fairy is pretty useless.  Charlie would much rather have a shopping fairy like her best friend or even a bathroom fairy.  At least that way she’d never have to go to the restroom in the middle of a movie.  Charlie always smells like gasoline and people constantly bug her to go places with them so they can benefit from her fairy and get great parking spaces.  Charlie has had enough. She has decided – NO – vowed to get rid of her fairy.

One way Charlie thinks she can ditch her fairy is to prevent it from doing its job.  She isn’t going to ride in any vehicle until her fairy is gone.  The problem? Walking everywhere is causing her to be late to school so she is racking up demerits faster than she can get ride of them.

Another situation causing Charlie stress is a new boy at school.  Steffi is handsome, interesting, and seems to be showing interest in her.  UNTIL he sees Fiorenza and her stupid “All The Boys Like You” fairy.

Charlie develops a drastic plan.  She even teams up with her nemesis, Fiorenza, to take care of her fairy problem once and for all.

HOW TO DITCH YOUR FAIRY by Justine Larbalestier is a delightful story about fairies, friendship, and first love.  Some nonsense words are interspersed throughout the book to replace selected vocabulary. Determining the meaning of a word is easy by using the context of the sentence, but for those who want to be sure, there is a glossary at the back of the book.  The author has even included a cool list of common fairies.

In this exciting and inventive follow-up to EPIC, you’ll meet Ghost and her band of anarcho-punk friends.  They live in Saga, a virtual world – only they don’t know it is virtual.  The Dark Queen and her assassin are the only two with the true knowledge of how their world came to be.

The inhabitants of Saga live in a rigid class system based on the color of the card you hold.  The majority of the citizens hold red cards, the card that represents the lowest class, and live a dreary existence.  

Ghost and her loyal group set out to shake things up with help from Erik, a.k.a Cindella, and B.E. from Epic.  They attempt to take on The Dark Queen and squash her evilness forever.

SAGA is a good bet for science fiction buffs.  Fans of EPIC will enjoy the brief appearances of the characters that were so important in the book that started it all.