Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks

Genre: YA fantasy
Page Count: 362
Released: 2009 by Houghton Mifflin
Recommended for: anyone looking for a fresh, funny twist on vampires

(from Goodreads):
Think vampires are romantic, sexy, and powerful? Think again. Vampires are dead. And unless they want to end up staked, they have to give up fanging people, admit their addiction, join a support group, and reform themselves.

Nina Harrison, fanged at fifteen and still living with her mother, hates the Reformed Vampire Support Group meetings every Tuesday night. Even if she does appreciate Dave, who was in a punk band when he was alive, nothing exciting ever happens. That is, until one of group members is mysteriously destroyed by a silver bullet. With Nina (determined to prove that vamps aren't useless or weak) and Dave (secretly in love with Nina) at the helm, the misfit vampires soon band together to track down the hunter, save a werewolf, and keep the world safe from the likes of themselves.
The perfect antidote to slick vampire novels, this murder-mystery comedy of errors will thrill fans of Evil Genius.

My Take: 

Vampires, bloody and seductive and batty and immortal and sparkly as they may be, are long overdue for a dose of reality.  I present it to you in the form of The Reformed Vampire Support Group

In Nina's world, vampires are to tall, dark, and dangerous vamps as stained bedsheets are to ghosts.  The colorful characters of her Support Group include Horace (a real wannabe-vamp who goes around dressed like Spike from Buffy), Dave (fanged after a gig at a local bar), Bridget (the nicest old lady in the world who spends far more time peacefully knitting than careening around in the form of a bat), and Father Ramon, their resident support group adviser/ Catholic priest.  Nina herself lives with her (seventy-plus-year-old, ex-bartender) mother and spends her waking nights churning out vampire fantasies on her laptop exactly like those devoured by paranormal readers.  She can't go out during the day without wearing hardcore sunglasses and her version of a night out on the town is carpooling to the weekly Support Group meeting.  

The existence of vampires is a complete secret, granted that there's always at least one psycho wannabe-vampire-hunter on the loose, and Nina and her fellow vamps are by no means up to protecting themselves from anything more threatening than, say, a bunny rabbit.  They survive, not on human blood, but on the blood of hamsters which they raise themselves.  Mildly disgusting, yes, but the book never gets too graphic concerning the poor little rodents. Fifty-plus years is a long time to be dead, so when a member of the Support Group is mysteriously dusted (none-Buffy-addicts READ: killed), the gang set out to discover the murderer before one of them ends up being next. What ensues is a murder mystery which is really more of a series of hilarious, unfortunate coincidences and misconceptions.  And yes, werewolves are included, which only adds to the feel of (an intelligent) Twilight parody.  I recommend this smart, funny yarn of 'real-life' vampires to both vampire addicts and those readers who are really kind of exhausted with the whole craze.  I'm reading the sequel, The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group now, and haven't gotten very far, but so far, so freaking hilarious.  

My Rating: 4/5


Nic @ Irresistible Reads said...

Sounds like a great book when you need a laugh. Wonderful review :)

Casey (The Bookish Type) said...

The title of the Abused Werewolf Rescue Group caught my eye on NetGalley a while back and I've been intrigued by this series ever since. It sounds like a refreshing new twist on the vamp craze! Thanks for the great review -- I'll definitely be reading this one!

Maria Behar said...

Wow! Sounds hilarious!! I definitely want to read this one!! Sure hope it's available as a REAL book; I don't like reading ebooks...

Great review!! : )

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