Julie Suzanne's Reviews > Eighth Grade Bites

Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer
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's review
Feb 23, 10

it was ok
bookshelves: classroom-books-grade-7-8
Read in February, 2010

It's unfortunate that this enticing book cover and concept (an 8th grade vampire) were wasted in this way. I didn't think I'd make it through, and only did so out of sheer determination, but the ending turned out to be suspenseful and exciting, causing me to bump my 1 star to a two. The first 120 pages, however, were like having to read an 8th grade student's first draft of a "book".

Not only did the writing fail to engage, but it actually grossed me out. Imagine an 8th grade vampire who eats french fries dipped in thick blood from his special Heinz 51 bottle. Imagine an 8th grade boy inserting capsuls full of blood into his peanut butter sandwich and eating this in the lunchroom, or sipping "tea" at night which is really just nuked blood in a mug. Yuck.

We have an adolescent boy who has the power to read minds and hover, and he rarely does either of these things! Maybe boys are different from girls, but I would've been making use of those skills 24-7 when I was in Jr. High--forget sleeping. He's just the world's most BORING 14-year-old character I've ever encountered, which is just ridiculous because he's a freaking VAMPIRE! I'd hate to see what Brewer would do with a normal teen in a realistic fiction novel...

The plot inconsistencies and holes are too juvenile to even address. Really, it's like when a 7th grader hands you 50 hand-written pages and says "Will you read my book?" I'm not going to pick it apart.

I'm glad that my students are drawn in by the cover, but I'll wager 10 beans that none of them will make it through to the end. It's sloppy, boring (until the very end), crass, and unrealistic, leaving teens with little to relate to. If Brewer had spent some time revising, this could have been a good book.

In sum, the book bites even more than 8th grade. Disappointing.
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message 1: by R. C. (new)

R. C. Sucking and biting... HA!

Ryan This reviewer apparently doesn't have a very careful eye for detail (or much taste, but that's always subjective). Ms. Brewer makes it quite clear early on that her protagonist is only just figuring out his supernatural powers, thus easily explaining why young Mr. Tod doesn't try them out more often.

As to the disgusting nature of his diet, what would one expect from a vampire, much less one who is in 8th grade? Middle school kids tend to be pretty disgusting when they eat, regardless of the food. Reading a vampire novel whilst being bothered by descriptions of blood seems like an act in futility.

I agree that there were some significant questions left unanswered, but that's what series have the luxury of doing. As for plot holes, I'd love to hear to what this reviewer is referring.

As a 30-year-old boy who remembers very clearly what 8th grade was like, I enjoyed this book thoroughly, (couldn't put it down, more like), and think that it's an excellent option for young adult readers interested in this kind of fiction. This puts Twilight, VA, and most other entries in this category to shame.

message 3: by Rose (last edited Jun 05, 2010 03:03PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Rose I actually liked it, though I treated it as a light read. I don't know if you could compare it to VA or Twilight (honestly I liked this book better than Twilight because I found it humorous and didn't take itself all that seriously in spurts, but I would argue that Twilight and this book are for completely different audiences), but arguably, I'd say it needed more fleshing out, even for its respective audience.

I didn't find anything remotely gross about this book either - especially not the blood caplets or the mug of blood - if anything I've seen that in plenty of other vampire literature aimed at teens and adults alike. If anything, the gross parts to me might have been the measure that a few kids in this book wet their pants during certain encounters, but looking at the situation for what it was, I can't say I freaked out about it.

Tod's not boring to me - he's actually witty and charming, though I'd agree that the author could have taken more liberties with his character. I think that might actually happen in the progressive part of this series, but I'll just have to see as I continue it.

That said, *shrugs* we all have our opinions. Though honestly if I were in the 6th or 7th grade and reading this for the first time, I probably would've enjoyed it. And I actually like it now despite it being below my respective age range (I'm 25 as of this post).

Julie Suzanne I found it pretty ridiculous how this ultra powerful vampire went around killing or threatening everyone who may know Todd, in an effort to find him, when he never changed his name, was enrolled in public school, and lived not too far away from his old address (with a relative) for an entire school year. Really? For reals? That's just silly. And you find out you have powers and you don't push it? You don't get excited? I also remember a lot of eye-rolling when seeing random characters or street names thrown in like "Edgar Poe" and "Stoker Ave" or something....Ugh.

Way too juvenile for me to even stomach besides the plot being implausible by any stretch of the imagination.

The grossness purely reflects my own squeemishness, and it was unwelcomed and the last straw for what was already a painfully bad book.

Yep, we definitely have different tastes! Thanks, Rose, for mentioning that instead of telling me that I have NO taste or a poor eye for detail. :) In this reading experience, I wish I WAS blind to detail!

Rose You do have some decent arguments, Julie :) And yeah, I think it's important to establish that we all have our different perspectives when we approach any books.

Julie wrote: "And you find out you have powers and you don't push it? You don't get excited?"

That is an interesting point, but I could very well see how someone with powers wouldn't necessarily push it or feel excited about it because of fear of the unknown, reservations, or thinking about it as a taboo for guilt. I think "Eighth Grade Bites" could have benefited more by expanding upon that issue because it is an interesting plot point. Granted, I think the author might have kept it simple for the sake of telling the larger story (or expanding upon it in later books), but it would've added a greater sense of depth that I think those in the target audience of the book might have appreciated.

message 6: by Moe (new)

Moe you just dont get romance.

Skye The 1st book wasn't the best, you should read the 3rd book. The series is awesome...

Sami Well, first let me say that im a girl and i loved this story. Second of all, please dont bag on an 8th graaders ability to write. I going into 8th grade, and i like to consider myself a very good writer, and i have been told so by many people, and im not talking about my parents. And most importantly, it's a vampire book for globs sake! (nelly reference) Thier is going to be blood in it! And i understand how it could gross you out, but hey, it what he eats and Heather wasn't going to sugar coat it.

message 9: by Julie (last edited May 23, 2011 07:10PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Julie Suzanne Sami, your own review of this book is a testament to the fact that a book that one person hates can change someone else's life for the better. Cool. I was delighted to read your review because there's nothing better than hearing that a book made a reader out someone. Yay. The book has some merit, then, and thanks for bringing that to my attention.
I HAVE learned that 8th graders can write well....just in my experience a first draft of any book, particularly an 8th grader's (with their limited life and reading experience), is no fun to read. I prefer a polished, edited, proof-read, all the plot holes filled kind of story, and that's why I'm not an editor. When I read a published novel, I expect better, that's all. Glad that the book affected you so positively. :)

Magic Well, the kid's a vamp. He has to get his blood somehow, even if it is disgusting.

Ashley Tobie Shut the flock up Julie it's her opinion and if she likes the book she likes the book don't go all commando on her.....BTW I LUV this book ..maybe you don't like it that much because u can't relate to it like all these people can........ X- )

Ashley Tobie You r so F ing mean to this book!!!!!! How old r u anyways because if you read this at my age or grade (6th,11)you will think its amazing ok and all the gory stuf is to make it not like twilight and why he doesn't use his powers a lot is because he actually wants to be normal!!!! Sometimes I wonder if these people actually read the book properly

Magic Ashley wrote: "You r so F ing mean to this book!!!!!! How old r u anyways because if you read this at my age or grade (6th,11)you will think its amazing ok and all the gory stuf is to make it not like twilight an..."

You obviously have not read the review properly. And no, she is not being mean to the book. It is purely her opinion. And you obviously do not know the origins of the names that the author used. Look it up before posting foolish comments.

message 14: by Rose (new) - rated it 3 stars

Rose Ashley wrote: "You r so F ing mean to this book!!!!!! How old r u anyways because if you read this at my age or grade (6th,11)you will think its amazing ok and all the gory stuf is to make it not like twilight an..."

It's her opinion, Ashley, and she has the right to speak her piece on the book the way she sees fit. It's not right that you should dismiss her opinion as "not reading the book properly" - there's no right or wrong way to read a book, only a matter of perspective.

And this is Julie's review. She has every much a right to dislike the book as those who like it. Please respect that right and don't call Julie names or ostracize her for having a differing opinion.

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