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Stuff for the Teen Age

"Drink, Slay, Love": A Review

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Pearl is like a lot of 16-year-old girls. She likes to steal cars and drive too fast with her handsome, dangerous boyfriend Jadrien. She wears a lot of black. She is extremely flammable in direct sunlight.

Okay. Maybe Pearl isn’t exactly an average teenage girl. But she is an average vampire. Completely ordinary and almost completely evil, Pearl is the perfect predator at the top of the food chain in her Connecticut town. And she is fine with that.

With the vampire king of New England coming soon for the annual fealty ceremony that marks the start of a vampire’s adulthood, it’s a good time to be a young vampire. Since her Family has been given the honor of hosting the king’s feast, things are especially good for Pearl.

At least until the unicorn comes along and stabs her in the heart with his stupid sparkly horn.

But instead of dying a quick death, Pearl survives the attack. Not just that, she can now withstand sunlight. No one in her Family believes her account of the unicorn (they are mythical creatures after all — even vampires know that), but even they can’t ignore her new resistance to daylight.

With the king’s feast looming and no volunteers in sight, Pearl’s Family decides to take advantage of her newfound ability by enrolling her in high school. Securing the king’s feast should be easy with an entire high school of students to choose from, right?

Wrong, as it turns out.

Blending in among the human students is harder for a vampire than Pearl expected. Some students, like Bethany, seem overly eager to befriend her. Others want to prove their dominance (unlikely). Then there’s Evan. The deliciously cute boy who Pearl can’t decide if she wants to bite or... not.

Torn between what her Family needs and what she actually wants, Pearl finds that after the unicorn incident, nothing is black and white anymore. Maybe, just maybe, it’s time for things to change, and maybe, just maybe, Pearl is the one to bring about those changes.

Filled with twists and turns, Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst is a fun new spin on vampires (and, of course, unicorns too). Durst stays true to traditional vampire mythology (Pearl does not sparkle) while also adding her own unique spin to these familiar mythical monsters.

Viewing high school through Pearl’s eyes brings a level of humor to the story as she evaluates teachers as potential threats and brings her predator mentality to cafeteria politics. (Think Katniss Everdeen walking the halls of Sweet Valley High.) What results, in addition to a satisfying urban fantasy, is a dryly fun commentary on the ins and outs of high school.

Durst aptly demonstrates her range as readers follow Pearl’s journey from scary vampire to something else entirely. There are, in fact, enough drastic changes throughout the course of the story that the opening for a sequel is very wide indeed. Drink, Slay, Love is a clever, entertaining book complete with a winning heroine readers will want to cheer for — albeit from a safe distance.

Possible pairings: White Cat by Holly Black, Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins, Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough, Rampant by Diana Peterfreund, The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan, Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters by Natalie Standiford, and Companions of the Night by Vivian Vande Velde.

Read an interview with the author of Drink, Slay, Love >>

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