Sunday, 8 February 2009

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side / Beth Fantaskey

Summary - The undead can really screw up your senior year . . .

Marrying a vampire definitely doesn’t fit into Jessica Packwood’s senior year “get-a-life” plan. But then a bizarre (and incredibly hot) new exchange student named Lucius Vladescu shows up, claiming that Jessica is a Romanian vampire princess by birth—and he’s her long-lost fiancé. Armed with newfound confidence and a copy of Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire’s Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions, Jessica makes a dramatic transition from average American teenager to glam European vampire princess. But when a devious cheerleader sets her sights on Lucius, Jess finds herself fighting to win back her wayward prince, stop a global vampire war—and save Lucius’s soul from eternal destruction.

Review - Before I start, I want to clarify one insy weensy matter - this book is nothing like Twilight! Would people stop saying that as I am beginning to get tired with people's lack of imagination and investment in Twilight theory (YA vampire = Edward = Twilight = Adele arggggghing). Thank goodness it's not like Meyer's work because I actually like and relate to the protagonist in this tale. Jessica's got moxie and buckets of it. She's smart, she's capable and she's unknowingly betrothed to Lucius due to her being a vampire princess!

Lucius is an intense, righteous and darkly handsome Romanian (more Mr Darcy than Edward)who has come to America to convince Jessica that they should marry and reunite their warring vampiric families. I just loved every bit of repartee between these two. Lucius would get all hoity-toity and Jessica would smack him back down to size. The development of their relationship moved naturally as did the pace of the story. Each possess distinct voices which make for hilarious interchanges. Fantaskey also uses letters as way to view Lucius' perspective on certain events, saag and "squatty boy" (hehe). I really knew these characters well by the time I was a few chapters in and found myself very invested in the outcome. Hence, very little movement between pages 1 and 354, my body is atrophying but I really don't care.

Jessica's always known that she was adopted. She lives with her yoga practising, vegan eating adoptive parents in the country and refuses to believe her origins when presented them by Lucius. I loved the new take on vampirism, particular the guide book that Lucius presents to his betrothed. This book was a great sense of humour as are the continual misunderstandings between our terrible twosome. I loved tracing their changing feelings throughout the course of the story. Jessica denying her past and repelling Lucius, slowly comes to see Lucius for his strengths while Lucius begins to see Jessica less as a duty and more as a person of worth. The necessity of the alternating perspectives make this intense, hilarious and moving as we are able to identify both individual's motivations.

I loved these characters, I hope we see more of them. More than anything I love that Lucius, at no point, was compared to cold marble. If I were to nitpick anything, it would be that the cover model should be more curvy with curly, dark hair (emphasis on the curvy).

Beth Fantaskey (she of the fabulous surname), I loved your debut effort. What's next? Zombies, unicorns, football players?

May I suggest a winged monkey? Cause I have one for you!

Published: February 2009
Format: Paperback, 354 pages

Publisher: Harcourt Books

Origin: USA

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Beth Fantaskey Website

*** I have no idea if or when this book will be released here in Australia. I was extremely fortunate to have won this ARC from the wonderous Jocelyn at Teen Book Review and Wonder Woman extraordinaire, Karen Mahoney. Thanks guys!


Shooting Stars Mag said...

Ahhh sounds amazing. I really do want to read this. Heard great great things!!!


awww love the winged monkey. LOL

Unknown said...

I was all set to be like meh, I'm over vampires, but that sounds really good! I'll have to get my hands on that one. Plus, you're right -she has one awesome surname. She'd probably make a kickass magician.

Janssen said...

I've heard good things about this book - I can't wait to read it!

Adele said...

A magician? Awesome.

Or alternatively, if she continues to write in the fantasy genre and becomes big (which I think she will), they can rename FANTASY...Fantaskey! Ta da

Karen Mahoney said...

*strikes Wonder Woman pose*

Great review - I'm glad I stick to giving away books and simple book recommendations. I'm not such a good reviewer... I just say things like: "Yay! I loved it." :)

Beth Fantaskey said...

I wouldn't rule out writing a book about a football playing zombie unicorn who falls profoundly in love with a winged monkey... but actually, my next book includes none of the above... Thanks to everybody who's commented so far!
(And believe it or not - my name is real!)

Unknown said...

Karen - Thanks so much. You do look very WWish when you pose like that, the similarity is striking!

Beth - I love your name and I am even happier that it is real. I look the idea for your new book, Jill sounds awesome but a football playing, zombie who rides a unicorn who falls profoundly in love with a winged monkey who's been adopted by faeries could be a great novel though...just saying.

Adele said...


I am seriously getting attacked by the typo demon at the moment.

Anonymous said...

Just finished this book. LOVED it! Have to agree with how well the characters progress in the story. Would make a great movie!

Anonymous said...

i just finished reading this book, about 2 minutes ago. i loved it, but wouldn't it be better if the author included a wedding scene?

Nessy said...

I read the book here in the good ol' U.S.Of A and Ir really really enjoyed it! it's like OH NO then YEsss then nooo then yesss again lol a lot of ups and downs that keep the reader interested I know that everyone in Australia will enjoy it!