Feb 6 2007
Dear Ms. Conrad:
High School Bites is a short, easy read about Lucy Hellenberg and her destiny to eradicate Dracula. It’s perfectly suited for the tween crowd but lacks sufficient depth and complexity to be a good recommended read for adults.
Lucy Hellenberg is a sixteen year old teenager with a hot sometime boyfriend in Vic Irving. She, unlike other teen heroines, is not full of high school angst. She lives a pretty happy and normal life and has two very good friends, Mina and Mark. Sure, her father hasn’t left the house since her mother died, but he loves her and she can live with his idiosyncracies such as the need for 12 locks on the door.
The problem is that when Lucy turned 16 she came into her power as a vampire killer. She’s not any vampire killer, though, she is a direct descendant from Lucy in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. What is worse is that Dracula, Henry Irving, has followed the previous generations of Lucys to Seattle. This sets up an epic battle between teen Lucy and teen Dracula and his vampire minions; not to mention that her prom date might be one of those said minions.
The characters are bright, fun and engaging. Lucy is an engaging character and it was nice to read a teen book with a heroine who was relateively issue free. The story moved quickly and kept me interested unti the end. The trouble I had with the book is that the plot moved almost too quickly. Everyone who Lucy shares her story with believes her immediately, her friends and the adults around her. Further, there is an insertion of a character toward the end of the book which was not only convenient for Lucy as the vampire slayer but also as a girl. There could have been more depth and layering to the characters, particularly regarding Lucy’s legacy. Being the one to eradicate Seattle of vampires at the age of 16 is enough to make even the most normal teen react a bit adversely.
In the end, most everything is tied up fairly neatly with even a hint of romance for Lucy’s formerly hermitic father. B-