Monday, August 5, 2013

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side (Jessica #1) by Beth Fantaskey: review

Goodreads rating: 3.87
Paperback, 351 pages
Published January 18th 2010 by HMH Books for Young Readers
Series: Jessica #1
Source: Bought
Genre: YA paranormal romance

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 fiancĂ©. 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.

I've had this book on my shelf for some time now, and I just never felt like I had the time to get around to it. Then, I was looking at all the pictures and tweets for the filming of the Vampire Academy movie, and decided it was time to read about some vampires. I started with this book. I was hoping this wouldn't be a Twilight repeat, although it almost started it out that way. Luckily, people have realized that making the book have the same plot line as Twilight and have it be about vampires is a big no-no. They do almost meet in the same way, but really, meeting in class is pretty formula for any novel that takes place in contemporary society and involves a guy with paranormal powers. In a way, I almost look forward to it. But then it needs to deviate a bit, like this book did. Jessica is adopted. Her real parents died in Romania and put her in the care of some American historians there at the time. The thing is that her parents only ever told her that she was adopted and that her real parents were dead. There was nothing about being a vampire princess in an arranged marriage. Needless to say, she's not happy about it. Although, by the way Lucius was described, she seems a bit nuts. You gotta take a gift horse in the mouth, girl!

The romance, while it takes the front seat for most of the time, isn't the only issue. Jessica is in high school and is really trying to get her life together, trying to make it a great senior year. She has all these plans, not only for her last year in high school, but in life, and in one moment (because of one person) all those dreams are ruined. She has a good reason to resent Lucius. But he's also a smoking hot vampire. I guess there's some give and take. Jessica isn't exactly warming up to her betrothed, and even though he seems persistent, he soon starts to give up, and Lucius does too. Not only that, but the guys that he answers to back in Romania aren't being all that truthful to Jessica and Lucius, and eventually Lucius has to go back. But what will Jessica choose? I wish I could say more, but I don't want to give anything away. This was a cute read, but my chest felt heavy for most of the book, worrying for Jessica and Lucius and the whole situation and how complicated things get. There was so much unfairness going around! But I was glad we got to see some things from Lucius' POV from the letters that he wrote back to Romania. I'm very happy I finally picked up this book, and I can't wait to see what the sequel has in store!

Readers of vampire novels that are looking for something a bit different from the Twilight wannabe's.

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