Where have you been dating?
This debut novel by Beth Fantaskey, Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, tells the tale of a somewhat normal Pennsylvanian teen who finds a Romanian so-called vampire moving into her house, stalking her at the bus stop and announcing that Jessica's his long-lost betrothed, destined to be a vampire princess. Jessica deals with everything from interfering cheerleaders and her own mixed feelings to a vampire war in order to figure out what the problem is, who the hero is and what she wants out of all of this.
The book was entertaining. With all of this Twilight obsession, it's nice to see the funny side of vampire lore. The first half of the book doesn't take itself seriously, which was a good move by the author, with several funny scenes involving farm boys, horses and school.
The second half is much more serious and dramatic (cue vampire war threats), when Jessica has a change of heart about her vampire betrothed while he's changing other hearts. I felt like this didn't completely fit in with the beginning of the novel, giving it an uneven tone. Major vampire drama is hard to pull off (Stephenie Meyer flopped in Breaking Dawn) and I wish the author had kept it set in Pennsylvania and focused on the Lucius-Jessica chemistry instead.
The messages Lucius shares about women with Jessica are almost all refreshing (I have differences when it comes to chivalry) and unusual to find in YA lit (not advocating diets? what?!). Readers looking for a fun vampire read will like this one, and I'm interested to see whether the author chooses to write lighter or darker fiction later in her career.