Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Read Scary: Teeth: Vampire Tales edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling

Yep, I'm actually reviewing a young adult book. This was pushed on me at ALA Midwinter and I meant to hand it out as a prize during the summer, but I glanced at it and then I started to read....

Windling and Datlow start out this star-studded collection with a look at vampires in legend and history - and very gruesome they all are! They talk about how vampires changed from disgusting creatures of horror to the dark, gothic, romantic figures they often are today in film and literature. And now the stories...

"Things to know about being dead by Genevieve Valentine" A teen girl rails against her fate when she's accidentally turned into jiang-shi, a kind of Chinese zombie/vampire. With her grandmother's help, she tries to deal with the problems of her new life. This isn't a cheerful story (hint: none of the stories in this book are cheerful) but there's some hope in the end for Suyin, even though she has to suffer a lot first.

"All Smiles by Steve Berman" Saul escapes from the "behavioral health care facility" his parents have consigned him to once he realizes it's more like a prison. But he discovers there's scarier things out there...

"Gap Year by Christopher Barzak" High school angst and identity crisis meets vampire hunger. Horror and further identity crises ensues.

"Bloody sunrise by Neil Gaiman" Umm...I'm not really into poetry?

"Flying by Delia Sherman" Lenka struggles to with her own fear over the leukemia she hopes is gone forever, her parents' overprotectiveness, and her desperate desire to return to the circus and the tightrope that is her life. Finally, she runs away and joins a small and very strange circus...

"Vampire Weather by Garth Nix" Secret mountain cult meets mainstreamed vampires meets burgeoning sexuality.

"Late Bloomer by Suzy McKee Charnas" Josh is desperate to please his parents and find his "talent." He's tried sciences, math, literature, art, and finally music. He's pretty sure he's really getting somewhere with his band and he doesn't mind working in the family's antique business too much, until some very strange customers show up. Josh thinks he finally has a chance to be different, amazing, talented, and a genius. Unfortunately, he's kind of dumb and messes the whole thing up.

"The list of definite endings by Kaaron Warren" Assisted suicide, vampire style.

"Best Friends Forever by Cecil Castellucci" A dying girl and a vampire meet and become best friends. Not at all what you're expecting.

"Sit the dead by Jeffrey Ford" Sometimes it's a good idea to find out a little more about your fiancee before you join in any family traditions...

"Sunbleached by Nathan Ballingrad" It's not a good idea to listen to vampires, no matter how good they sound. Because they will eat your whole family and take over your house. Really.

"Baby by Kathe Koja" Um...really, really creepy. and weird. Did I mention weird?

"In the future when all's well by Catherynne Valente" Vampirism as a sort of combination disease/drug. High school angst meets racism meets...I'm not sure exactly what.

"Transition by Melissa Marr" Um...didn't really read this one. A little to freaky for me. A little more romantic than some of the other offerings in this collection though. Except for all the parts where they kill people.

"History by Ellen Kushner" What happens when an obsessive historian meets a vampire who doesn't want to remember...

"The Perfect Dinner Party by Cassandra Clare & Holly Black" Psychotic vampires throw a dinner party.

"Slice of life by Lucius Shepard" Didn't really read this one.

"My generation by Emma Bull" or this one.

"Why light? by Tanith Lee" This one actually had an almost happy ending and was quite romantic.

Verdict: Hand this one to older teens and young adults looking for vampire stories with lots of blood and angst and for those who like more serious fantasy. The big names may draw in some readers, but more adults than teens I think.

ISBN: 9780061935152; Published April 2011 by HarperCollins; ARC received at ALA Midwinter 2011

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