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Eighth Grade Bites: The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, Book 1

Review

Eighth Grade Bites: The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, Book 1

You are normal, Vladimir. A perfectly normal, healthy
teenage vampire. Some people are vegetarians, you drink blood ---
it’s not weird or bizarre or abnormal in the least.
You’re just different from the rest of this town.

Maybe “different” isn’t really a strong enough
word for Vlad’s situation. It’s not all that easy being
in eighth grade, but it’s even worse when you’re
dealing with the grief of losing both your parents, living with an
over-protective aunt and trying to be more human --- even though
you’re definitely not. Vlad spends a great deal of time
pretending. He eats regular food, slathers sunscreen onto his pale
skin and hopes he can get Meredith to notice him (but not in a
vampirish way). His very best friend, Henry, knows all about his
“special” situation. Henry not only accepts that Vlad
is a vampire, he even protects him from some of the bullies at
school and tries to get him set up with Meredith. 

One day he walks into his English class to discover that his
favorite teacher, Mr. Craig, is not there. The substitute they have
is a weird guy named Mr. Otis; actually his name is Otis Otis. What
does that mean? Vlad reluctantly accepts all of this until word
gets out that Mr. Craig is actually missing and that Mr. Otis might
be around for some time. There’s just something strange about
the whole situation. Vlad can tell right away that Mr. Otis has it
out for him. There are the looks, questions, and a vibe that
isn’t right. When one of the assignments centers on everyone
exploring mythological beings, ego monsters, aliens, werewolves,
and yes, vampires, Vlad gets more than a little panicked.
It’s all the worse when he ends up with vampires as his
special study. The whole thing seems like some kind of a setup. How
will he ever be able to stand in front of the entire class and talk
about being a vampire when he really is a vampire? And, of course,
there are the bullies who love to pick on him at school, especially
Tom and Bill. Talk about a bad situation.

Vlad does not understand the histories that made up the lives
and deaths of his parents. But when he finds his father’s
journal in the attic, he begins to realize that there is a far more
serious situation going on. The journal reveals that his father had
been threatened by outside forces. Because she was human, his
marriage to Vlad’s mother was illegal, so Tomas was
desperately trying to protect his family while doing his best to
assume a more human lifestyle. As many questions as the diary
answers, there are even more that Vlad does not understand. Where
is this place called Elysia? What is the tool his father refers to
as the Lucis, and who is the council that threatens to take him
away? What do the strange markings on the cover of the journal mean
--- and where has he seen them before? 

On the good side, Vlad’s Aunt Nelly (his mom’s best
friend) totally accepts that he is half vampire and that his dad
was a vampire. She provides him with blood from the hospital where
she works and finds clever ways to serve it to him --- frozen, in
slushies, microwaved, in capsules inside regular food. His best
friend, Henry, knows all about everything, as they’ve been
close since they were little. Vlad is baffled when Aunt Nelly
invites Mr. Otis of all people to their house for dinner.
Doesn’t she understand that he is the enemy and out to
destroy him? This just cannot be happening.

Heather Brewer, aka “Auntie Heather,” manages to
take her readers (whom she calls “Minions”) on an
incredibly wild ride as Vlad fights for his life. Check out her
wonderfully wacky website, forum and blog at www.heatherbrewer.com. With the abundance of teen
vampire books around, The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod is
definitely one of the most fun and exciting to hit the shelves in a
while. Readers will want to get right into the next book as Vlad
enters high school, only to discover his troubles are lurking
closer than ever. 

   -

Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts on October 18, 2011

Eighth Grade Bites: The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, Book 1
by Heather Brewer

  • Publication Date: March 13, 2008
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 182 pages
  • Publisher: Speak
  • ISBN-10: 0142411876
  • ISBN-13: 9780142411872