Book review: Still Sucks to Be Me

>> Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Kimberly Pauley's sequel to Sucks to Be Me continues what is perhaps the most unusual vampire series out there right now for young readers. Mina Hamilton is a seventeen-year-old vampire whose parents are also vampires. She made the decision to "turn" at the end of the previous book, and now she and her family are being moved by the Vampire Relocation Agency. Mina's not excited about this move, because it means leaving her best friend Serena behind in California, and moving to Nowheresville, Louisiana. Worse, her boyfriend George (also a vampire) has gone to find his parents in Brazil.

In Louisiana, Mina gets mixed up with an overbearing boy of the human variety who won't take no for an answer, the boy's uber-jealous ex-girlfriend, and a mysterious vampire boy who may or may not be allied with an evil clan of vamps known as the Carters. (He also may or may not be hundreds of years old.) But lest you think this is just Twilight redux--more vamps and high school drama--Pauley really stakes her own territory with her particular brand of humor. The best bits come in her development of the elaborate, bureaucratic world of vampiredom, which has a helpful brochure for just about every conceivable situation vampires might face.

Mina's voice is at once vulnerable yet sassy, and she's a heroine you pull for. The plot with the renegade clan of vampires takes a while to get going, overshadowed by Mina's relationships with her long lost BFF and her new, possibly-evil love interest, but things pick up speed at the end, and Mina's life returns to some sense of normalcy. (Normal, that is, for a girl who drinks pig blood, changes shape, has super-strength, super-senses, and can mesmerize people.) The end promises more adventures for Mina and her friends, making it a sure bet that Mina's life will keep sucking. But in a good way.

Still Sucks to Be Me by Kimberly Pauley goes on sale in May 2010.


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