Eighth Grade Bites (The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod #1)
by Heather Brewer
Publication date: 16 August 2007 by Dutton Children's Books
ISBN 10/13: 0525478116 | 9780525478119
Category: Young Adult Paranormal
Keywords: Fantasy, vampires, middle school, horror, humor, bullying
Format: Hardcover, paperback, eBook, audio CD, Audible
Junior high really sucks for thirteen-year-old Vladimir Tod. 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: hes being hunted by a vampire killer.
Vladimir Tod’s just like any other normal eighth grader. Well, a normal eighth grader who also happens to be a vampire. Born to a human mother and vampire father, Vlad must navigate the minefield of adolescence while maintaining his cover as a human. Only his best friend Henry and his caretaker, Nelly, know his secret.
Then Vlad’s favorite teacher, Mr. Craig disappears, and Vlad has a bad feeling about the new sub. Mr. Otis is a little too interested in Vlad and he starts to suspect that he may have had something to do with Mr. Craig’s disappearance. When Vlad finds his father’s journal, he uncovers information about a secret society of vampires--one that his father fled and hid his family from. Was the fire that killed Vlad’s parents really an accident, or are the same people he suspects of murdering them also after him now?
This was a really fun book and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The plot is original and has a good mix of horror and humor. Vlad is an extremely likable protagonist. He struggles with the things that most boys his age struggle with; bullies, homework, girls--but also has to deal with hiding his fangs, eating blood at lunch and making sure he wears his sunscreen so he doesn’t burst into flames.
Brewer’s descriptions of Vlad’s eating habits manage to be both gory and mundane. I love the ingenious method Nelly has of packing his lunch and it’s nice to know that vampires like chocolate chip cookies, too. Henry is an awesome best friend. He takes everything in stride, even when things get really crazy. His confusion about being called a drudge is one of my favorite parts of the book (and made want a drudge of my own). Once I got started, this book was hard to put down. You could easily devour (ha!) it in one sitting.
Though Eighth Grade Bites is aimed at middle grade readers, the story will appeal to all ages. I know I am hooked and can’t wait to read the next one!