Tuesday, May 25, 2010

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

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.

‘Jessica’s Guide’ was a light and entertaining read with some funny moments. Jessica Packwood is pretty much your average teenager, despite the less than average circumstances that have been kept hidden from her for seventeen years, not to mention her vegan parents—she did have a slight math-nerd side, but I don’t think it was developed enough to label her as anything but smart. She acts like the average teenager, too—generally well rounded, occasionally immature and insecure. It’s nice on occasion to see a character that acts like a normal girl rather than a warrior or a recluse!

Lucius, on the other hand, definitely has his stereotypical vampire prince moments—the Eastern European accent, the arrogance, the shock that his betrothed is mucking out a stable. He’s a pretty funny character, not just because of his behavior, but also because of what he says: his first few letters to his uncle Vasile thoroughly cracked me up. However, his behavior changed dramatically in the second half of the book for reasons that I thought were too superficial to warrant such a dramatic change. Overall, I liked him a lot, probably because he quite often made me laugh.

[Side note: I really don't understand this American obsession with European guys. In my experience, apart from their accents, they aren't all that much more attractive, chivalrous or posh. Having never met one, I can't speak for Romanians, but the rest of Europe? Not too different, IMHO.]

The secondary characters weren’t particularly developed—we have the ditzy best friend, the attractive yet dull jock, the popular girl who wants to get the guy. That said, I genuinely liked Dorin when he eventually popped up, but he doesn’t exactly get much time on the page!

Although ‘Jessica’s Guide’ wasn’t exactly an in depth, thought provoking, it didn’t have to be—it got by on an enjoyable romance and a slew of funny moments that added to the entertainment value.



  1. great review! might have to pick this up for a good, light read...

  2. I totally agree, Jessica's guide was definitely not a literary masterpiece, but it was very entertaining nonetheless- and that's what matters right? =)

    Have you read the little novella/epilogue-ish short story about their marriage that Beth Fantaskey has on her website? The link is here if you haven't- http://bethfantaskey.com/wedding/wedding-chapt1.html

  3. I've read it- it was a lot of fun! :)

  4. Fun review! I really enjoyed this book. I agree with you, it was nice that Jessica was just normal. It's so rare to get a main character who isn't a kick butt heroine or a recluse. Lucius was really funny. I loved getting to know him through his letters and seeing how he changed.

  5. I simply LOVE this book. I like Jessica, all the other characters (from the kind and strong minded Jessica's parents to the loyal friend Mindy, to the vampire uncleto the Squatty boy...) and I simply love Lucius Vladescu, it was my favourite character.
    It was a very light, romantic, evocative, dark, sweet story... I read it expecting nothing... but it was a very very pleasant surprise.
    I totally recommend it.


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