Thursday, June 30, 2011

Senior Year Bites by J.A. Campbell - review

Senior Year Bites

J.A. Campbell
YA, UF, e-book

I love this cover. I also love the previous cover, before SYB was picked up for publishing-but this cover is pretty good, the overall blue tone; the girl is pretty, she looks a little pensive, she could be standing outside a high school, or at the college where she sometimes goes to find...prey.

I have to say, that I loved this novel. I usually don't rate young adult books - (I don't know why, I just haven't been) but I give this one six out of a possible six. I enjoyed everything about this book

Imagine being a young senior high school student. Hanging out with friends, two best friends, thinking about prom maybe, studying, doing homework, doing the normal teen thing. Then imagine being at a sleepover one night and taking up a dare - go to the graveyard at night. This is what Megan does...only Meg gets attacked at the graveyard-she doesn't remember much of the attack. She survives, and yet the thing is kind of vague....except she begins to notice a few things. Sunlight starts to bother her, a lot. She's very, very sleepy during the day. She's having a hard time with the whole food thing - her family and friends are suddenly appetizing....

Meg comes to an understanding of what she's become and tries to deal with it on her own. Afterall there isn't anyone around that would give her any easy answers. She learns how to hunt for food and is slowly learning about some of her newfound abilities - the strength, the whole mind power thing, the extra speed. Of course Meg tries to keep it all a secret, but her mom and friends are beginning to be suspicious of her new behavior and sleep habits. Around this time, strangers appear in town - one of them forms a friendship with one of her best friends. Then, suddenly, some of the food her blood "donators" - donators that Meg had made sure she's left alive and safe- begin to turn up as dead bodies, then things start getting way more complicated and dangerous.

I thoroughly enjoyed Senior Year Bites. Ms Campbell's teen characters SOUND like teens. Her adult characters sound like adults, her "other" characters are different. Senior Year Bites is told in first person and I loved Meg's voice. There were times when Meg was surprised at her self and there were times when she was a little disgusted with her self, yet there were no overly angsty moments. Meg is a strong willed young woman, making the best of her situation. One thing I enjoyed was the lack of a love triangle situation - this is a story of a girl made into a vampire; it's refreshing to read a story with out the addition of the seemingly formulaic presence of two boys who are attracted to and fighting for one young woman. In fact, the beginning romance was with a couple of side characters and still did not include extras.

Another thing that I found refreshing - no info dumps. We learn along with Meg and her friends what is happening, what vampire problems and abilities Meg obtains. In fact, Meg is learning as she goes along. The narration (Meg's voice) and the dialog was good - very believable. I enjoyed the plot and the twists, enjoyed the story very much. So much that I would love to read a sequel. Happily, I have it on good authority (lol - I heard from J.A. Campbell, in fact) that Ms Campbell is working "hard on a the sequel, and hopes to submit it when finished." Oh, I hope so. I hope it's submitted and picked up. I want to see where Meg goes next, what happens - does her mom find out what's going on with Meg? How about her brother (who has been serving in Afghanistan)? Does Meg ever accidently attack anyone at high school? Y'know, because of the whole "wow, these people smell delicious" thing. Does Meg find out more about being a vampire? meet any other vamps? Oh yeah. There's going to be more and I'm certainly willing to buy more from this author. J.A. Campbell is an author to watch (or read, definitely read)

Click on the cover for a link to Decadent publishing. You can buy the e-book directly from them and also read an excerpt from the link. Or you can buy from most online bookstores such as...
Amazon. UK
Smashwords (where you can also find links to excerpt of her Into The West Series geared toward young readers)
Omni Lit

Now, I don't usually provide links to stores unless it's for an excerpt. But I recommend this novel to fantasy lover, vampire lit lovers, and readers of YA fantasy. So go check it out, read an excerpt and show some author love. I'm sure a lot of you will enjoy this novel. I certainly did. :)

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