Monday, December 15, 2008

Eighth Grade Bites: the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod--Heather Brewer (Kid Book Review)

When I spotted this cover I immediately thought of my 6th grader--I'm pretty sure this is the look he's going for when he wears his black skeleton hoodie, which is almost always. So I picked up Eighth Grade Bites for him, and he devoured it over the course of a couple days. Then I had a great conversation with him about the book, which I typed into Blogger as we spoke, and which Blogger loved so much that it ate it.

So. What I remember of my conversation with Ben is as follows:

Vlad is an orphan who lives with a friend of the family. His big secret is that he's half vampire, but luckily his caregiver is a nurse and is able to bring home bags of blood that have reached their "best if used before" date for Vlad to eat, so he doesn't have to suck people's blood. Everything's cool until he gets a substitute teacher who seems suspicious and starts asking questions, and that's all you get to know or we'll spoil the book for you.

Ben says Vlad seems like a pretty cool dude that you might want to hang out with, apart from the fact that he's a vampire, but then again you probably wouldn't know that about him so it wouldn't matter. The stuff that happens in the beginning of the book kept him interested and then there's a big pay-off in the form of a major action scene of the sort that preteen boys crave.

When I asked if he'd want to read the next book in the series his response was, "There's another one?!!!" That was yesterday; he's currently reading book two, Ninth Grade Slays by flashlight in bed.

We also checked out Heather Brewer's website and found out that there's a contest with the prize of the hoodie on the cover of the book! (He could also win an ARC of Tenth Grade Bleeds, the third book in the series, Tenth Grade Bleeds, but oh, how he wants that hoodie.) Entries require an original vampire story of 1000 words or less.

The soundtrack: I just went up to ask Ben to pick a song for this book, he was still reading, but getting very sleepy (it's 11:20 right now) . "Look for rock songs about vampires," he said. Yeah, there are about fifty of them, none of them any good. Instead I'm picking David Bowie's Cat People (Putting Out Fire), despite the fact that it's from the soundtrack to Cat People and therefore not about vampires at all. But because I saw Bowie in The Hunger, which is about vampires, shortly before buying this album, I can't hear it without seeing him as a vampire.


  1. I so want to get this book. Had it on a list and that list disappeared. Thank you for posting this. I think our library has a copy. :)

  2. Wow - any books that engrosses a middle schooler is great in my opinion.

  3. Update: He spent the morning finishing the second book, I'm going to see if he'll help me with a post about it. He's now very anxious for the third one to come out and when I reminded him about the contest, started pacing around the floor, thinking.

  4. I saw the cover to this one and debated picking it up, but now I definitely will. I can't wait to hear what Ben thinks about the sequel. :)

  5. The best song sort of about vampires that would be perfect and I believe is from the soundtrack of The Hunger is Bela Lugosi's Dead by Bauhaus. It's just so goth and so 9th grade for me. I'll have to check out these books, but I'm not sure if Henry would be up for them yet, he's not quite a preteen, soon, but not yet.

  6. It seems like there's a ton of YA books about vampires now. I wonder if they've just been there all this time but Stephenie Meyer suddenly made them hugely popular, or if publishers have just been picking them up to get a piece of the Twilight readership? Hmmm. As not such a huge vampire fan, I rather preferred the wizard explosion ;)

  7. Diane, School Library Journal recommends it for grades 5-8 so it might be worth taking a look at for Henry. Ben says there's references to blood and there's fighting, but not as violent as the Harry Potter books.

    I thought about the Bauhaus song...for some reason I don't like picked something else. But you're right--it's the perfect fit.

    Ania, all of the above, I think. I'm not a fan of vampires either (though I did read Twilight), which is why I didn't take the time to read this book. Though after hearing Ben rave about it, I might have to!

    Jessi, I've been trying to post a video of Ben talking about the second book but I can't get it to work. I even took a second (shorter) video but it still wouldn't load. Not sure if it's me, my computer, or blogger that's the problem. We might just have to resort to writing something.

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