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.