Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Review: Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

Title: Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side
Author: Beth Fantaskey
Publisher: Harcourt
Release Date: February 1st, 2009
Pages: 351

The undead can really screw up your senior year ...

Marrying a vampire definitely doesn’t fit into Jessica Packwood’s senior year “get-a-life” plan. But then a bizarre (and incredibly hot) new exchange student named Lucius Vladescu shows up, claiming that Jessica is a Romanian vampire princess by birth—and he’s her long-lost fiancé. Armed with newfound confidence and a copy of Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire’s Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions, Jessica makes a dramatic transition from average American teenager to glam European vampire princess. But when a devious cheerleader sets her sights on Lucius, Jess finds herself fighting to win back her wayward prince, stop a global vampire war—and save Lucius’s soul from eternal destruction.
Plot: 4/5
Creativity: 5/5
Characters: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Impact: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

It's hard to find a vampire novel that I find refreshing and surprising. Don't get me wrong, I love vampires in books just as much as anyone, in fact I used to be obsessed with Twilight, but it's hard for me to find a vampire novel that turns out to be a pleasant surprise. Whenever my expectations aren't met, it usually happens that I'm disappointed, instead of pleased. Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side wasn't that kind of book, though- I was kept engaged by the constant curveballs in the plot, and basically, I really, really enjoyed it!

Initially, I thought Jessica's Guide would be a really fluffly, light read with stereotypical characters. Boy was I wrong! Jessica's Guide is a deep story with a complex storyline and engaging characters, it's the kind of read that's sure to be enjoyed by anyone, whether he or she is a fan of paranormal fiction or not.

Other than the story itself, one thing about the novel I really loved was the characters. Each and every character in the novel is believable, and all their roles are well-utilized in the development of the story. All of them could be real, even the vampires! And Jessica and Lucius are fantastic leading characters. They both have their highs and lows, and there were times when I loved them and times when I was so frustrated with them, but that's exactly how I like my protagonists- complicated. Concrete. Alive.

If you're looking for a unique novel that will catch you by surprise, look no further than Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side. It's entertaining, it's witty, it's charming, I promise it will exceed your expectations like it did mine. The ending sort of kept me hanging- there's just so much more I want to happen, so much more I want to know- and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that there'll be a sequel, but other than that, I loved this novel. Engaging and fun, it's something you wouldn't want to pass up.


  1. I loved this book too. It's one of my favorites for some of the same reasons you mentioned in your review. I love watching Jessica and Lucius duke it out, make up and then fight again. The chemistry was so intense and made for an awesome read.

    There isn't going to be a sequel but if you head over to Beth Fantaskey's website, you can read an Epilogue she wrote where the reader's got to choose all of the things that went in it. I won't give anymore away than that.

    Happy reading and thanks for the review!

  2. I loved this book. It was a unique twist on the vampire paranormal romances. I loved Lucius.
    Alison Can Read

  3. I tried commenting last night and my computer wouldn't let me. Apparently it didn't like me having Gmail open for too long and rebelled against everything Google related. *sigh* Anyway...

    "Initially, I thought Jessica's Guide would be a really fluffly, light read with stereotypical characters. Boy was I wrong!"

    I love that you initially felt this way because that is how I felt about this book before reading your review! I won it awhile ago and I haven't touched it, thinking it would be just stupid. But you have opened my eyes! I'm participating in a read-a-thon this week and if I finish the books on my list, I'll add this one to it! Thanks!

  4. Thanks for the great review. I've had this one on my wish list for a while but after reading your review I'm going to just go ahead and buy it. Have a great day!

  5. I've got this on my shelf and it looks great, thanks for the fab review!