** spoiler alert **
In Amanda Hocking's first novel Alice Bonham is the 'less sexy sidekick' to her outgoing party-hard friend Jane, the one who can find alcohol as easily a normal person could find water. Alice lives with a mom she barely sees and a little brother charged with the task of cook for her, because she is too accident prone to do it herself. She was the normal run-of-the-mill teen girl until everything changed, after a late night encounter of the vampire kind, when Jack saved her from an unwelcome encounter with a group of male would-be attackers.
How about we start with the bad?
To be honest, from the outset I was a bit put off by the heavy Twilight vibes this story was giving off; A young woman saved from an unpleasant group of men by a young guy of the fanged variety? A human girl immune to the affects of said vampire, whilst they obviously still work on every other person in the vicinity? And that's not to mention the similarities between the characters, which have been well documented in other reviews such as this one. It rings just a few too many bells. To be honest it initially felt as though I was reading a Twilight fan fiction.
Another thing that got me right from the start was some of Hocking's use of language, in certain places words just seemed awkward. For example:
'“This is truly infuriating,” Jane said, flicking her cigarette to the dampened sidewalk and smashing it with her stilettoed boot.'
There are two things that annoy me in this sentence. Firstly the language used by Jane, who then goes on to whine about alcohol and throw herself at Jack. The way in which she speaks here seems far removed from the character Hocking is trying to portray. Secondly the use of the word 'smashing', it seems a little over the top in terms of the previous words in the sentence, and seems to contrast rather sharply with the carefree notion of 'flicking'. It also makes me cringe, having been standing in stilettos all night the last thing I would even think about doing is stamping an already fragile foot.
The other thing that stuck out like a sore thumb was the name dropping of all the bands and pop culture references. It drove me insane. Everyone has their own personal preference in regards to what parts of modern life they include in their writing, but I really don't care if the trousers he is wearing are Dickies or if he is obsessed with Guitar Hero.
I did enjoy the way in which Amanda went about introducing her characters, and I also liked the idea of Milo's plot line, even if it could have done with additional development in some places. Some of the relationships could have also used some additional work, the way in which Alice sees Jack is decidedly naive and that between Alice and Jane is rather choppy, are they actually friends at all?
For some time what annoyed me the most about Alice was her inability to identify Jack for what he was from the beginning, come on: Only out at night, never actually eating, weird around blood... It was driving me nuts that she couldn't figure it out. It took some time but then I really thought about it, would I be so quick to believe he were a vampire if I were in her position? Probably not (although that's not to say it wouldn't occur to me, I've read way to many books like this).
My Blood Approves actually ended up being a relatively entertaining read. Twilight similarities aside there was enough of a difference that I think I may actually read the next in the series.
I award this book three stars out of five, I liked it, but it didn't blow me away in any sense of the word. As with Twilight this book is a pleasant piece of fluff, people bash it but it has it's place. Twilight convinced thousands (a conservative estimate) of teen girls to read and influenced the young adult book market for the better. This is obviously shaping up to be a popular read too.