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21 February 2008 @ 07:57 am
THIRSTY by M.T. Anderson (4 stars)  
So I've finally read all of M.T. Anderson's young adult novels. I still love his fresh, entertaining, and complex writing style. His first young adult novel, THIRSTY, is no different. Playing on themes of teenage angst turned vampirism, the oppression of different races, and the right of a creature to live even if it has to kill -- Anderson delivers. While this book is not Printz Award-finalist FEED or National Book Award winning OCTAVIAN NOTHING, it's a solid debut and better than most of the drivel out there.

"How can you tell people you're all alone when you're all alone?"

Chris wants his life back -- the one where he's digging on Rebecca Schwartz and hanging with his best friends Tom and Jerk (aka Michael Polinsky). The trouble is, he is turning into a vampire.

Chris' Massachusetts town is gearing up for the annual Sad Festival of Vampires. Each year the rituals and celebrations are performed to keep the Vampire Lord, Tch'muchgar, The Melancholy One, locked in his underwater prison beneath the Wompanoag Reservoir. As long as the town does its part, then the dark god cannot escape and take over again.

Chris' family is a little crazy. His parents -- affectionately referred to as Ward and June (get the cleaver joke there? Eh?) -- are headed for divorce. His brother is a year older, drives a car (danger, danger), and is a royal pain in the finger.

And Chris? He's been obsessed with his reflection lately. And people's necks. Then there's the sound that he thinks he hears of blood pumping through people's veins. Pointy teeth are filling his mouth and making it hard to talk. He's getting letters from vampire girls like Lolli Chasuble, inviting him to "come out of the coffin" tonight with her. And all of a sudden, mirrors are really freaky.

So when he and his friends hop over to Bradley to watch the public lynching of a vampiress, things get a little crazy for Chris. For one, the vampiress looks right at him like she knows something. Then he gets a visit from a man in a suit who calls himself Chet the Celestial Being and says he works for the Forces of Light. The vampires are planning an attack, he says. At the height of the festival, they are going to release Tch'muchgar and take over the town and maybe the world.

But here's the catch: if Chris helps take The Arm of Moriator into The Vampire Lord's kingdom then Chet will keep Chris from becoming a vampire.

Seems easy enough, right? Until Chris tries it.

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