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Vampire Kisses
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Readers don't have to share goth girl Raven's passion for vampire lore to appreciate her misadventures in Dullsville, a town "bigger than a cave, but small enough to feel claustrophobic." Growing up with her brother, Nerd Boy, and ex-hippie parents now bent on climbing the corporate ladder, 16-year-old Raven has always been a misfit. Alternately tormented and chased by popular soccer player Trevor Mitchell, Raven fears she will never meet a true soul mate. Then some ghostly pale Romanians move into a nearby abandoned mansion. While rumors regarding the new family's vampire tendencies fly around town, Raven becomes enamored with the hauntingly handsome son, Alexander Sterling, who rarely ventures from his attic bedroom. Some second-rate sleuthing around the mansion gets Raven in trouble but also wins her a date with the youth she rapturously calls "Gothic Guy, Gothic Mate, Gothic Prince." As in her Teenage Mermaid, Schreiber adds some refreshing twists to genre archetypes and modern-day stereotypes. Raven's ill-fated flirtation will bring more laughs than heartache, and if the ending is a bit rushed, elsewhere the comic timing is dead-on. Ages 12-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Gr 7 Up-Raven, 16, doesn't fit in at school or home. This goth-girl is obsessed with vampires and when a new family moves into the old town mansion, she is convinced that the son, Alexander, is a vampire. The story swirls around and through sibling rivalry, peer relationships, friendships, and love. Raven is a feisty protagonist with a quick wit and a real sense of self. She defends herself and her friends, often besting her peers with humor and a quick tongue. As her connection with Alexander deepens, she comes to understand her family better. It is through his shadowy character that readers are kept off balance. Schreiber weaves a tale that is more about acceptance and friendship than about vampire behavior and culture, and sustains a tone that draws readers to the characters rather than to horrific plot developments that would keep them reading. There is far less intensity than in Annette Curtis Klause's Silver Kiss (Laurel-Leaf, 1992) and less moodiness than that found in Amelia Atwater-Rhodes's Midnight Predator (2002) and Shattered Mirror (2001, both Delacorte). While the ending isn't tied up in a neat and pretty bow, it fits the style and tone. All in all, a good read for those who want a vampire love story without the gore.-Molly S. Kinney, Peach Public Libraries, Fort Valley, GA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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