There are SO many vampire-themed books for teens right now that the choices can be overwhelming.

Book:  “Pretty Dead” by Francesca Lia Block

There are SO many vampire-themed books for teens right now that the choices can be overwhelming.

I’m a little picky myself when it comes to choosing something to read, so I took the easy way out — I let the teen members of our Teen Creek Book Club pick this month’s book. We are trying to focus on a new theme each month in our club - this month was “Vampires, Undead, etc.”  

“Pretty Dead” by Francesca Lia Block is a short, small and brightly colored book with a slightly misleading cover. Like many other YA novels looking to grab your attention, this book has an oversized, bright graphic with fangs prominently displayed. The fangs are housed in a set of dark red lips with shiny gloss, chewing on a peppermint candy dripping blood.

This cover says to me “I’m a juicy teen book about a sexy modern vampire.”  This turns out to be true for the most part. The cover is trendy and cute but, after reading the story, it feels a little light compared to the heavy and almost dark subject matter of the book.

“Pretty Dead” is the story of a beautiful female vampire stuck in her teenage years. The story is set in modern day California, and yet Block’s language and word choice are reminiscent of the vampire’s earlier life in the late 1800s. The text and the story seem to have an Old World and luxurious feel to them, while the book itself it presented as a hot teen story. This isn’t a bad thing — it just wasn’t what I was expecting.  

I also felt throughout the book as though I were waiting for something to happen. While the language is engaging and moved the story along quickly, I felt like I was continuously reading the prologue to a greater story. By the end, I couldn’t tell if this was done on purpose by the author to leave an opening for a sequel or if it was just the way the story flowed.  

What I enjoyed most about this book is that the story itself is not your typical brooding vampire saga.

The main character does her share of brooding but begins to notice things in her life that haven’t happened to her in many decades. She begins to exhibit more human characteristics than vampire, and we must keep reading to figure out why.

I would recommend this book for the reluctant reader who is looking for a shorter book but who is also not yet burned out on the vampire trend.

Even if you are burned out and can’t stand to look at another vampire themed book — just try this one, because it’s kind of like your regular vampire story in reverse.