Heather's Reviews > Josie Griffin is Not a Vampire

Josie Griffin is Not a Vampire by Heather Swain
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's review
Sep 07, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: september-2012, arc-tour
Read from August 29 to 31, 2012

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Let's face it, many would agree that the vampire genre has been done to death (sorry, couldn't resist!) and I am sort of in agreement with them. But, if it's written well, and doesn't feature the same tired storyline but instead offers something new and inventive, then I am all about THAT kind of vampire book. The premise of Josie Griffin is Not a Vampire, a rebellious but totally human teenage girl who winds up in an anger management support group for paranormal teens ( i.e; vampires, shapeshifters, faeries, and Greek gods), really grabbed my attention. It's inventive and original and sounds awesome, right? I thought so, so I requested it with high hopes. Unfortunately, this book, which had so much potential, fell short for me.

I was looking for something that would read like the tag line above suggested:

A hilarious take on the paranormal trend--Twilight meets The Breakfast Club!

Hey, I'm not ashamed to admit that I loved the Twilight series. I credit that book for inspiring me to start reading again. And The Breakfast Club? Get out! LOVE John Hughes. LOVE. HIM. I'm pretty sure I know most of the lines in that movie and could kick any one's ass in John Hughes film trivia. And for me, any book that adds a healthy dose of humor scores major bonus points. But, other than the fact that there is a vampire in Josie Griffin, and that there is one scene of a circled up group therapy session, and there are a few witty one liners and amusing scenes written in, Josie Griffin has nothing in common with the above statement.

The beginning started strong. Teenage Josie is in court awaiting sentencing for bashing in her ex boyfriend's windshield with a baseball bat when she discovered he was screwing around with her best friend. Ordered to pay damages, court fees, and attend community service as well as an anger management group for teens, Josie knows that she has gotten off easy. She feels bad that she has upset her parents, she's worried how this will affect her chances to get into the University of Chicago where she hopes to study journalism, but she really doesn't feel too bad about what she did to her ex's car. And yeah, he does sound a like a total ass. She's not only lost her boyfriend, but her two best friends as well. As a result Josie has sort of "gone to the dark side." She's ditched her cheerleader look for a more edgy, emo appearance and started up a blog where she vents all her frustration to the world. Her only friends are a collection of angry, broken hearted online acquaintances who comment on her blog posts.

Josie attends her first group therapy session and it immediately becomes clear that this is not your average group of teenage misfits. There is something very strange about Tarren, Avis, Johann, Helios and their counselor. By the end of the session Josie is well and truly freaked out. The entire group thinks they are paranormal creatures and she promptly goes home to blog about about the bizarre encounter.

Up to this point I was really enjoying the book. I liked the character of Josie. I felt sorry for her because I've been burned by boyfriends and friends in the past (although I have never taken it to extremes like she did). Josie's a good girl, but she's hurt and she's pissed. However, as we begin to meet and learn more about the secondary characters in the book, the paranormals, my disappointment begin to grow. The characters were, for lack of a better word, cartoonish. They bordered from outright silly and farcical (Johann the vampire) to bland and blah (Helios the Greek god.) Tarren the faerie and Avis the shapeshifter were probably the most interesting of the bunch, but only because Tarren was a frightening little tyrant and Avis had dreads. In other words, I was not blown away by any of them.

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08/30/2012 page 157

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