Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Cliched Middle School Situations Are So Much More Entertaining When They Involve Vampires

I was recently looking for a vampire book for early readers. My Sister the Vampire No. 1, Switched by Sienna Mercer (a total mystery woman as far as the Internet is concerned) was not what I needed. (Yes, I should have checked the reading age on the back of the book.) But it was a light, entertaining read that would make a great car/vacation book for those 8- to 12-year-old kids whose moms expect them to read in the car and on vacation.

Switched deals with that most cliched of middle school situations, the new girl at school. But super pink cheerleader Olivia Abbott soon discovers that there's a very pale Goth girl at Franklin Grove Middle School who looks exactly like her, has the same birthday as she does, and was adopted as she was. Holy Hayley and Lindsey! They're twinners!

What Olivia doesn't realize, though, is that they aren't quite identical. Ivy plays for another team. When the head of the local teen bitch posse refers to Ivy and her Goth friends as "the walking dead," she only thinks she's speaking metaphorically.

Switched will be fun for readers who already know something about vampire lore and can enjoy the vampiric word play used to describe stereotypical school and teen situations. They'll also enjoy knowing something that one of the main characters doesn't know and the other doesn't reveal until late in the story. This is the first book in a series, so I don't know how well later books will go over once the secret is out.

This one, though, could make good recreational reading for a young one seeking relief from improving books assigned at school.

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