A Vampire State of Mind
Unless you’ve been out of the country (and say in Antarctica), you’ve experienced the vampire craze. Twilight, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries . . . love it or hate it, the obsession with the blood-loving creatures is ingrained into pop culture lore. That’s why it’s not so difficult to imagine the premise for Flynn Meaney’s Bloodthirsty: A lonely young man decides to play on the pop culture phenomenon by pretending to be a vampire. Goal: to get girls.
Sixteen-year-old Finbar Frame has pale skin. He’s allergic to the sun. He has brooding blue eyes. So why not take advantage of it? When his family moves from Indiana to New York, Fin is approached by a girl on a train who whispers to him that she “knows what he is.” Shocked by being spoken to by a random girl (and a cute one), and realizing that he resembles the vampire of the latest bestselling novel, Fin decides to become a vampire. Too bad he’s afraid of blood. It makes him faint.
Displaying vampire charms, Fin decides, is all about attitude. As he enters his new high school, Fin attempts to adopt an aloof, confident attitude. No longer at the private all-boys school in Indiana where he was constantly being compared to his bigger, faster, better looking twin brother; Fin enters his new large co-ed public high school with an air of mystery. Soon Fin finds himself acting differently. He’s speaking up for himself, defending other students, and attracting the attention of girls.
Bloodthirsty playfully builds on the stereotypes of Twilight. One particular scene has Fin attending a science fiction convention with a friend, only to attract the attention of the “Jacobs” from “the Twilight table,” who relentlessly chase him out of the building because he resembles a vampire. Additionally, Fin drives a Volvo. He also tries to “glamour” people. Finbar’s brother becomes so impressed by Fin’s success as a vampire, that he begins to resemble a werewolf to get a girl.
To Fin’s own amazement, his reputation as a vampire spreads throughout the school. Soon he is fending off garlic-wielding freshman at lunchtime, being considered a “psycho” by the school bully, and arousing fear in others whenever blood is flowing. Even fainting in front of class when a classmate is hurt can’t stop Fin’s vampire fame. As Fin’s reputation grows, so too do his social experiences. Awkward and endearing, Fin is shocked when he is kissed by a girl for the first time: “She’s giving me CPR!” he automatically thinks. But Fin’s confidence develops steadily as he grows into his vampire character.
In the end, of course, Fin has to decide whether to keep up the allure of being vampire or decide to be himself. This isn’t a story that will go down in the record books like Twilight, nor does it have profoundly new plot twists to shock us. Bloodthirsty, however, is a fun and enjoyable read about a boy who discovers his own voice. It’s easy to root for Fin and entertaining to follow his tale.
Blythe Robbins, a Californian living in New York City, is a geeky editor by day. At night, she can be found reading fiction or writing her blog: theonegoodthingblog.blogspot.com.