Ninth Grade Slays (Vladimir Tod #2) by Heather Brewer
Publication date: 17 April 2008 by Dutton
ISBN 10/13: 0525478922 | 9780525478928
Category: Young Adult Paranormal
Keywords: Fantasy, vampires, middle school, horror, humor, bullying
Format: Hardcover, paperback, eBook, audio CD, Audible
Freshman year sucks for Vlad Tod. Bullies still harass him. The photographer from the school newspaper is tailing him. And failing his studies could be deadly. A trip to Siberia gives study abroad a whole new meaning as Vlad connects with other vampires and advances his mind-control abilities, but will he return home with the skills to recognize a vampire slayer when he sees one? In this thrilling sequel to Eighth Grade Bites, Vlad must confront the secrets of the past and battle forces that once again threaten his life. Find out why author D. J. MacHale calls The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod "Gruesome, heartwarming, spellbinding."
Vladimir Tod is back in Ninth Grade Slays! Having survived eighth grade and the surprising revelations in the last book, all Vlad has to do now is make it through his freshman year of high school. Unfortunately school bullies, a photographer with keen eyes, and a vampire slayer threaten to make this year even more dangerous than the last.
Things aren’t all gloom and doom though. Vlad’s still hanging out with Henry, his best friend and faithful drudge (still love that word). He also makes a new friend when Henry’s cousin Joss comes to town. Vlad’s still crushing on Meredith and makes a little headway in that direction. She and Vlad are too adorable together and I found myself saying a mental “awwwww” more than once when reading. Otis also comes back and takes Vlad on a trip to Siberia to learn about vampire culture and get training from Vikas, an old friend of the family. He also learns what the Pravus is and the prophecy behind it. It explains why the Council is so afraid of him but Vlad is having a hard time believing that he can be the Pravus.
What can I say except that I am now a full fledged member of Brewer’s minion horde? This book was just as good as the last one, if not better. It’s darker and moodier - Vlad’s being hunted by a slayer and missing his parents more than ever. Friendships are put to the test and evil lurks in unexpected places. There’s also a big twist in this book that took me by complete surprise.
Brewer captures the angst and confusion of adolescence perfectly - the teachers, bullies, crushes, jealousies, fears, friendships and the difficulty of trying to figure out who you are - half vampire or not. While I was never bullied or made fun of like Vlad and am definitely not part vampire, I can still relate to him. I also just like Vlad. I want to give him a big hug and and invite him over for a batch of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies (he can bring the O positive).
A fantastic installment to the series and I am looking forward to reading the next one. (Special thanks to Alethea for getting some books signed by Heather at OCCBF for me since I couldn’t make it).