Thirteen-year-old Vladimir Tod really hates junior high. Bullies harass him, the principal is dogging him, and the girl he likes prefers his best friend. Oh, and Vlad has a secret: His mother was human, but his father was a vampire. With no idea of the extent of his powers, Vlad struggles daily with his blood cravings and his enlarged fangs. When a substitute teacher begins to question him a little too closely, Vlad worries that his cover is about to be blown. But then he faces a much bigger problem: He’s being hunted by a vampire killer.
I picked up Eighth Grade Bites after reading Reno’s review on Ninth Grade Slays. Dracula in middle school? It sounded like a good read. I was right.
The main character Vladimir Tod deals with all the things we dealt with in middle school. Horrible bullies, annoying homework assignments, first crushes, and struggling to figure out who he is. What Vlad also has to deal with is coming to terms with the death of his family, exploring his developing vampire abilities, and unraveling the mystery of his path.
Heather Brewer gives Vlad a compelling voice, and makes vampires every day instead of mysterious and sexy. Vlad drinks out of blood bags as though they were capri suns, and still feels guilty for biting his friend years ago. Vampires admire corporate buildings instead of crypts. It’s easy to follow Vlad’s assumptions as he tries to solve the mystery of who killed his English teacher, but I do hope in the next book Vlad will do more sleuthing and less assuming.
There was a character in the book named Edgar Poe, who got one scene in the book. I hope in later books, we learn more about this character, because I am really curious to see how Heather imagines Edgar Allan Poe and Dracula would have gotten along!
I recommend this to any teens living through middle school, anyone who remembers how miserable those years can be, or want a modern vampire story with less romance. At 182 pages, it’s a quick read, and quite enjoyable. I hope you like it as much as I did!