Tuesday, September 16, 2008

“Sucks to Be Me” by Kimberly Pauley

Mina Hamilton's parents want her dead. (Or undead to be precise.) They're vampires, and like it or not, Mina must decide whether to become a vampire herself. But Mina's more interested in hanging out with best friend Serena and trying to catch the eye of the too-hot-for-high-school Nathan Able than in the vampire training classes she's being forced to take. How's a girl supposed to find the perfect prom date and pass third-year French when her mom and dad are breathing down her neck--literally?

Sucks to Be Me is the debut novel from young adult author Kimberly Pauley. Each chapter is prefaced with a delightful little tag describing an essential Myth/Truth of Pauley’s version of vampire reality. Also scattered throughout the book are notepad lists Mina makes for herself such as “Why It Sucks to Have Parents Who Are Vampires”. Overall the book is visually creative and engaging and benefits from these “extras”.

Most of the central themes are familiar, dating, boys, and high school. Mina and her friends are likable characters and of course there are the traditional rivals and cliques. But not much new ground is broken in this area. I found at times that the 17 going on 18 year old Mina seemed somewhat more vanilla than I would have expected of a 21st century teenager.

The twist of course is that Mina’s parents are vampires and she is human. Her parents have been hiding this fact from the Vampire Council and have been caught out. Now she must attend remedial night classes on learning to be a vampire and within weeks must decide to be turned or have her memory of vampires erased and lose her family. Her classes fill her in on many of the intricacies of vampire culture she didn’t know. On the surface this is quite an intriguing opportunity for a coming of age/life lessons story. Choosing to be a vampire should have far-reaching implications right? Well Pauley’s vampires, can still eat, are only mildly effected by the sun, don’t have to sleep, have enhanced appearance once turned and have no discernible cravings. When all was said and done, given these factors is Mina’s choice that difficult? Of course you will have to read the book to find out.

The story moves along quite nicely and is easily read in a sitting. In my opinion it leans a little towards the Young side of the YA label and older readers may not find it as satisfying as other YA offerings such as Meyers’ Twilight series, P.C. Cast’s House of Night, L.J. Smith’s Vampire Diaries, or Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampires.

A sequel Still Sucks to Be Me is planned.

Download a sample chapter here.

P.S. And yes Mina is full aware of the irony of being named after a character from Bram Stoker's Dracula. There are also quite a few interesting references and observations on the literary Dracula.


  1. I've heard good things about this! It sounds cute.

  2. Cute covers it. A solid effort for the YA audience and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.

  3. This book sounds way cute. I may have to give it a look--I'm assuming it will be a quick read!

  4. Thanks for the review -- glad you liked it. It is skewed a bit towards the younger end of the YA spectrum (on purpose...much of that came during editorial changes because the publisher wanted to go a little younger than I had originally written it for (Mina was originally 17 going on 18, not 16 going on 17).). I've had good feedback from readers aged 10 to adult though :-) so long as they are looking for a light, fun read.

  5. Thanks for stopping by Kimberley. Your comments about the age targeting make total sense. Congrats on the books success.


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