Monday, May 15, 2023

Today's read... Social Vampire by James Schannep

 Today's read is another book that's been staring up at me from my pile, begging to be picked up as soon as I found the time. As my followers know, I'm not the biggest contemporary fan (although I love to find gems!). The idea of a vampire in a contemporary novel...nope, not even a smidgen of fantasy...caught my attention. Plus, the cover made me smile as I pictured all of the silly scenes, which could transpire when a high school teen suddenly decides to convince everyone he's a vampire. It promises to be quirky fun.

by James Schannep
YA Contemporary
318 pages

At a new school, you get a chance to reinvent yourself, so...why not be a vampire?

Gordon is hiding something. Is it the fact that he's secretly a vampire? No, of course n-wait. Yes. That's exactly what he's hiding. Let's go with that.

So when this nerdy teen moves to a small town where all the kids are obsessed with vampire fiction, he reinvents himself as their dream dark & brooding, cool as hell, and overly susceptible to stabs through the heart.

While rivaling the alpha male jock, garnering the attention of the most popular girl in his class, and forming a hilarious friendship with the girl next door (the only one who knows his secret), Gordon might find that his new school is the perfect place for him to shine-or, better yet, sparkle.

But if his classmates dig up the truth, it'll be the nail in his coffin...


Brooding, giggles, and unexpected sparkle accompany this unexpected fake-vampire in a small town, high school setting.

Gordon isn't thrilled that he's moving with his father from California to Montana. He's even less thrilled that his mother lied to both of them and left. But all of that can be forgotten thanks to the new town and new high school. It's his chance to finally re-image himself and start again. With his dad's support, Gordon takes on the most original, fun twist he can and decides to be a vampire. But being broody and cool is more challenging than one might think...and no, not because of stakes or blood.

I was hoping for a fun read, and this is exactly that. Gordon's idea to be a vampire is a little out there but holds just the right amount of quirkiness to give the high school drama zest. Humor reigns high, adding laughs right along with eye rolls, since the gullibility of the teens and their ideas is a little ridiculous...and makes it fun. Gordon's desire to fulfill his new identity is slightly over-the-top, and I adored that his father, actually, had his back. But that's only the beginning of the underlying goodness in these pages.

With all the quirky delights, there are some serious messages. Without revealing spoilers, Gordon is dealing with a heavier issue, and this has tossed his world upside-down. When this secret comes to light later in the book, his father's support makes sense and is more than touching. There are also more usual themes surrounding insecurity, trust in friendships, and fitting in. Also, there is a lovely and clear character arc as Gordon takes in several life lessons. So, among the drama, romance, fun, and fangs, there is also heart.

This is a quick read done from Gordon's point of view, and he has an entertaining voice. The author has also slipped in sections which appear as excerpts from movie scripts, since Gordon's hope is to work in the film business, and he often sees the world through that sort of lense. It's a light read with an original twist, which will draw in more than vampire fans.

And here he is...

James Schannep is an American novelist with an overactive imagination and a penchant for genre-hopping. A world traveler, avid reader, cinephile, and gamer, Schannep enjoys globe-trotting almost as much as he enjoys exploring new story worlds. He lives with his wife and children, a dog and a cat, and the voices inside his head.


Natalie Aguirre said...

This does sound like a fun read. And fun that there are excerpts like scripts. Glad you enjoyed this one.

Tonja Drecker said...

It's a fun change-up from more serious reads. All the best!