Author: Ellen Schreiber
Publisher: HarperTrophy (HarperCollins)
Genre: YA Fantasy
Raven has never fit in to her corporate, preppy community, with her black outfits and black makeup and her desire for vampires to be real. When a mysterious family moves into the long-abandoned creepy mansion, and Trevor, Raven's arch-enemy, spreads rumors about their activities making them out to be vampires, Raven is entranced by the idea that she may be living in the same town as real, live (well, undead, anyway) vampires. Her encounters with Alexander draw her in more and more as she tries to find evidence that he is a vampire. Meanwhile, Raven's run-ins with Trevor escalate and culminate in a confrontation between Trevor, Raven, and Alexander.
There are two really great aspects to this book: the writing style is fabulous, and the ideas in the story are thought-provoking and exciting.
Written in first-person point of view, the book almost sounds as if Raven is just standing there telling the story of what happened to her. At the same time, though, the writing is obviously crafted to flow so naturally and be so real. The snappy dialogue pulls you along and keeps the pace moving with wit and humor. Raven's nicknames for everything and everyone are really funny - we never even find out the real name of her town - she only calls it Dullsville!
But even though the book is written in a fun, rollicking way, the issue it deals with is serious, and I think is brought out all the more clearly because of the fun tone. The idea of accepting others even when they are different from you is addressed subtly on many levels, so it pervades the book without becoming obvious at any point. I liked that although there are stereotypes in the book, namely Trevor and his friends, Raven herself was also a victim of society's tendency not to accept people who are not exactly the same as everyone else, even with her major differences!
And then, of course, there's the vampire side to all this - is Alexander really a vampire? Will Raven get bitten and turn into a vampire? Every time Raven thinks she has the answer, something happens and she changes her mind again. She is kept guessing until the very end of the book - and even then - well, I won't ruin it here!
This is a fantastic book, for vampire-lovers, for those who like reading about social issues - really for everybody! It's a short book, but I read it really quickly, pulled along by the fast pace, and then went back and reread sections once I was done. I love Vampire Kisses!