Sucks To Be Me
Published 2008 293 pages
Summary (from the book jacket)
Why it sucks to be ME…
My parents are freaks. Sure every teenager says that. But I know for a fact mine are bloodsucking freaks.
As if high school wasn’t bad enough now I have to go to vampire classes with a bunch of weirdos who actually want to drink blood.
Then there’s my complete inability to talk in complete sentences around cute boys. (i.e. Nathan. He probably thinks I’ve got a speech impediment or something.)
And I can’t tell my best friend Serena about any of this.
But the absolute worst thing is that some editor at Mirrorstone found this stupid journal I wrote and now the whole world will find out what happened when my parents forced me to decide whether I want to be a vampire! Please don’t read this book it’s just embarrassing.
Sucks To Be Me, full title - Sucks To Be Me: The All-True Confessions of Mina Hamilton, Teen Vampire (Maybe) – is Kimberly Pauley’s first novel and, as readers can probably guess from the title, it is written for the Young Adult/Teen market.
Ever since Stephenie Meyer raised the profile of vampires with teenaged readers the YA market has seen an increase in stories about vampires - from the re-release of old favourites (such as L. J. Smith’s The Vampire Diaries or Meredith Ann Pierce’s Darkangel trilogy) to a plethora of new vampiric offerings from both new and established YA authors. So what makes Sucks To Be Me stand out in this crowded field? Several things actually…
Kimberly Pauley is no stranger to the written word. More importantly she is no stranger to the words written for YA readers. As a reviewer of YA books (aka the Young Adults Books Goddess from yabookscentral.com) she has read a huge amount of books written for teenaged readers. She was obviously taking notes while she was reading because in Sucks To Be Me she seems to have written a remarkably good novel first time out.
Sucks To Be Me is narrated in first person by sixteen year old Mina. Most of the characters in this story are engaging (slob Uncle Mortie is a particular favourite of mine) but Mina is hugely likeable. She simultaneously manages to have confidence, reticence, intelligence, cluelessness, maturity and a great sense of humour without coming across in a way that makes her seem either perfect (and annoying) or a know-it-all smartass (and even more annoying.) Her narration is laugh out loud funny in places as she wrestles with having to make the biggest decision of her life (whether to become a vampire like her parents or stay human and possibly lose her family forever.) As well as her vampire decision she still has to contend with other teenage issues such as how will she get Nathan, the boy of her dreams, to ask her to the prom if she is incapable of speech whenever he’s in the room.
Sucks To Be Me is a fast paced read, the story covers the four weeks of Mina’s life before prom night and her seventeenth birthday and although the book is 293 pages long it does have fairly large print and wide line spacing (along with some handwritten lists and notes) that help to make the pages turn even faster.
There is no vampire angst in this story - in fact the vampires themselves are slightly dull. This isn't a bad thing (and it's not often you'll hear me say that!) so don't let it put you off the book. The vampires have to keep their vampirism secret, they regularly have to “die” and assume new identities to cover the fact that they don’t age but apart from their immortality they are not too different to regular humans. In addition to no angst the story doesn’t have any big fantasy action or fights either. There are no vampire slayers, no “chosen one”, and no fated warriors with super powers required to save the world (this isn’t Buffy after all.)
Summing up: Sucks To Be Me is a humorous look at life through the eyes of Mina Hamilton, Teen Vampire (Maybe) and this hugely enjoyable book is highly recommended reading for younger female readers.
LoveVampires Review Rating: