Nina's Reviews > Vampire Crush

Vampire Crush by A.M. Robinson
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Jan 18, 11

bookshelves: 2010
Read in December, 2010

** spoiler alert ** Other than being laugh out loud funny and having some pretty great biting (pun actually unintentional) satire, A.M. created really likeable characters whose motivations, arcs and personalities were all pretty believable and realistic. Which is highly impressive. I always feel bad when my reviews start with "these are the ways in which it's better than other books of it's genre" or "this is what it didn't do wrong" but I think it's so important to note when a book does these things right and you can't get the impact of that unless you acknowledge the myriad ways the genre normally gets it wrong. Mostly, here, I'm referring to the fact that Sophie is really, truly, undeniably awesome and real feeling. She's a pretty normal girl, but not in a blank page heroine kind of way. She may not be me, she may have her own personality (and oh how she does) and hobbies and interests, but none of them feel alienating or mary-sue-ish. In addition to which - and perhaps more importantly - her motivations for her initial curiousity and her later actions all make sense. The amount of times I've screamed at characters not to go into those woods and certainly not to run after some character they've never met/don't like/save the asshole, is literally more than I can count. (Which might be why I'm not a math person:) But every time Sophie did something that ratcheted up the tension (going into the woods, going upstairs, going into the woods again) she had perfectly valid reasons. In addition to which, the stakes kept getting raised, which perfectly brought the tension up for me without it feeling artificial or overwrought in plotting. PLUS she was totally Harriet-the-Spy esque, which made me so happy.

And then we have James. Oh let me count the proverbial ways... He's so sensible and human and not always even that likeable, but oh how like a teenage boy he is. I love the character arcs Sophie and James go on - to becoming more than just self-serving teenagers - and I think James' particularly rings entirely true. I think, to some degree, a lot of us have at least gone through a period of disaffection where we start to questions WHAT EVERYTHING IS WORTH and I'm not sure I wouldn't have made the same choice, had a strangely bedraped crazy vampire with a flower name made dramatic noises at me too. But his journey back out of that is actively interesting and something I could (and did) get invested in.

I often croak and moan about how trauma is handled in romantic plots and how LOVE is generally held to cure EVERYTHING. It drives me up the wall, because really all that happens when you achieve two relatively broken people sleeping with each other, is that eventually they become co-dependent and abusive. Instead of which! you have someone who has been through significant trauma dragging himself back to the proverbial land of the living. (Sidenote: Oh the ways in which you use vampiredom as a lovely metaphor. They make the part of me that took classes on the form! of writing! elegantly! very happy. It has LAYERS.) And yes, Sophie helps - unintentionally - but his journey is his own and that makes him entirely believable, likeable and maybe even good enough for Sophie.

...Also did I mention how much I like A.M.'s cast of sideshow freaks? I mean, ancillary characters? A.M. did a really great job of having them each have quirks, without having them become two dimensional and defined by their quirks. This is excellent and makes me want more stories about them. I suspect I personally have a fondness for Marisabl, not only because she successfully leaves an abusive relationship, but because I was totally a wanna-be goth in highschool. And she is awesome and hangs out in the bathroom with the rebel kids. And then wanders off across America for ADVENTURS! ....Why are we not friends? SHE SHOULD COME HANG OUT IN MY FLAT. SHE CAN SLEEP ON MY COUCH. IT'LL BE AWSUM.

Oh Vlad. I am still not sure I have words for him. Other than A TRUE EXPRESSION OF MY UNDYING LOVE. He is so awkward and broody and awesome. Wtf little black diary. Why is he so emo? Why is he not mine? I would giggle at him all day long. The end.
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