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NIGHT ROAD by A.M. Jenkins

NIGHT ROAD

By A.M. Jenkins

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: June 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-06-054604-5
Publisher: HarperTeen

The “v” word that saturates YA literature these days is anathema to the sun-challenged “hemovores” in Printz Honor–winning author Jenkins’ undead road-trip novel. Bloodsuckers Cole and Sandor take to the highway in order to indoctrinate fresh convert Gordon in the ways of the “hemes.” The journey becomes a metaphorical one for Cole, a centuries-old teenager who still struggles to overcome his own aversion to the hemovore life, even as he instructs his young charge. The already-leisurely narrative often stalls to allow space for Cole’s long philosophical musings about the nature of immortality and memory, and even though Jenkins builds suspense with the addition of an unstable “stray” (a rogue hemovore without a colony), the tone remains more Anne Rice than Stephen King. Still, it’s an intriguing take on the currently popular subject, and sidekick Sandor’s comic commentary lends levity: One fellow “tasted funny” because “[h]e’d had Italian for dinner. . . . You can always tell, because of the garlic.” A slow but ultimately satisfying tour through vampire country. (Fiction. YA)