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EIGHTH GRADE BITES by Heather Brewer

EIGHTH GRADE BITES

The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod

By Heather Brewer

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-525-47811-9
Publisher: Dutton

Proving that you can’t have your blood and drink it too, this shallow vampire tale waffles between vamp/camp and purported somberness. Eighth-grader Vladimir has a secret: He is (he thinks) the only living vampire. Pandering Aunt Nelly, a nurse, goes to “great lengths to sneak blood from the hospital” for Vlad’s vital nutrition. His parents were mysteriously murdered, and now his teacher’s missing. The odd substitute suspiciously demands research on vampires. Who’s stalking Vlad, and why? It’s unclear which hints are real clues and which are sloppy narration. Cheesily referential names (town of Bathory; classmate Edgar Poe) and gleeful gross-outs (cookies dunked in blood) undermine the supposed gravity of Vlad’s situation and lineage. Brewer evades the problematic nature of blood-sucking, hiding behind quips like Vlad’s refusal to kill because “just think of the looks he might get at the next block party if he got caught. This one just tries too hard. (Fantasy. 10-12)