Posted on June 22, 2010 by Flames
Available at Amazon.com
First off, I’m going to tell you, do not read this book without reading the first book in this series – Sucks to Be Me: The All-True Confessions of Mina Hamilton, Teen Vampire (maybe). Since I didn’t read the first book, I had to make some assumptions about what was previously written – hopefully most of my assumptions are correct. Although I tried not to divulge too many key points in the book in my review, there are some spoilers here, so reader beware.
This is a story about a teenage girl named Mina who, having just turned into a vampire, learns that her family has to move away from California. So, the Vampire Council (VC) plans the “death” of her entire family in a tragic accident, reinvents their family history (her Dad is now her brother and her Mom is now her sister-in-law), tells them that they cannot keep any mementos from their prior life (including yearbooks and baby pictures), and forbids them from contacting anyone in their past. This includes Mina’s best friend Serena, who isn’t supposed to know that Mina and her parents are vampires. To add insult to injury, her vampire boyfriend George has decided to try to re-connect with his vampire parents who are now working in Brazil, so he won’t be moving with Mina and her family. The move creates a lot of drama for Mina; she has no clue about where they’re moving to until her Uncle slips up. Mina and her family end up in a very small town about an hour away from New Orleans. To say that Mina’s senior year in high school is far from what she expects is an understatement!
Admittedly, I got so fed up with Mina’s whining that I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to finish the book. All I could think of was Luke Skywalker when he was whining about not being able to go “…into Tosche Station to pick up some power converters,” but Mina is MUCH worse. The whole first half of the book plays into the title “Sucks to Be Me” — and not just because she is a vampire. Mina whines and complains about everything. I kept thinking, “You didn’t know this was going to happen, even after all the training you had to take to decide whether or not you wanted to become a vampire?” Granted, I didn’t read the first book, so I’m not sure what they covered in her training.
In the second book of the Still Sucks To Be Me series, it appears that to become a “legally turned” vampire, humans get to decide whether or not they really want to become a vampire after going through some training. (No, really!) The Vampire Council appears to be a bunch of bureaucrats that set rules to define how vampires can live and function in normal society. The way the Vampire Council is presented, they appear to be a stereotype of the federal government, with tons of red tape and stuffy, stick-to-the-book types of vampires. Well, most of the time, anyway.
And yes, in Still Sucks To Be Me, vampires are a part of human society. Other than having pale skin and fabulous eyes, vampires look just like we do. They do have some super-human qualities and can even take Vampire-Council sponsored classes to improve on some of those qualities, but they hide them well. So well in fact, that your best friend may be a vampire, and you wouldn’t even know it. They can be outside whenever they want (Mina usually makes sure she has some sunscreen along), they don’t sleep so they have plenty of time to get stuff done, and it appears that they can eat normal human food, although they prefer to make food (like cake) supplemented with blood. I guess that is their one real weakness, they need to eat/drink blood to keep up their energy. Oh, and by the way, it appears that most vampires do not prefer drinking blood directly from humans or animals – they prefer to go to blood bars and keep their refrigerators adequately stocked (behind the hidden panel of course!)
Believe it or not, I was able to get past Mina being whiny and the parts about the vampire activities that made me laugh (not in a good way). By the time I got to the middle of the story, it became very engaging. In fact, I actually began to like Mina, and I got to the point where I didn’t want to put the book down because I wanted to find out what was going to happen next. There was a good mystery at the heart of the plot and a healthy dose of romantic overtones. The romance involved quite a bit of drama with her vampire boyfriend, a human who wanted to date her, and another vampire who was quite charming and mysterious — with curve balls thrown in for good measure.
As far as the ending of the book though, the major plot line was tied off almost as an afterthought, with not a whole lot of substance to help the reader understand how things ended up the way they did, and why. What kept me interested and focused all the way through the main plot was Mina, her high school friends and acquaintances and how they interacted with each other. Here, the writing was entertaining and quite humorous at times, and I felt that that was the strongest part of the book. After finishing the book, I was pretty confused because I couldn’t figure out why the mystery plot ended the way that it did. I’m wondering if there will be a third book to this series to reveal more? Even if that is the case, the plot that was developed in this book really deserved to have a more substantial ending.
Although this book really wasn’t for me, I can see how some pre-teen and young teen girls might enjoy this story. For starters, they might relate better with Mina’s angst and not be as frustrated as I was with the portrayal of all “new” vampire behavior. I guess in the end, I really wish the story would have kept its focus on Mina and her relationship with the other teenagers in the story. In my humble opinion, that is where this story was the strongest.
Review by Jennifer Fry