Thursday, December 6, 2012

Fang Girl by Helen Keeble

Title: Fang Girl
Author: Helen Keeble
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: September 11, 2012
Pages: 352 pages (paperback)
How I Got the Book: Bought it.
Purchase/Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Promotional Materials and More:  author website

Fang GirlThings That Are Destroying Jane Greene’s Undead Social Life Before It Can Even Begin:

1) A twelve-year-old brother who’s convinced she’s a zombie.
2) Parents who are begging her to turn them into vampires.
3) The pet goldfish she accidentally turns instead.
4) Weird superpowers that let her rip the heads off of every other vampire she meets.(Sounds cool, but it doesn’t win you many friends.)
5) A pyschotic vampire creator who’s using her to carry out a plan for world domination.

And finally:
6) A seriously ripped vampire hunter who either wants to stake her or make out with her. Not sure which.

Being an undead, eternally pasty fifteen-year-old isn’t quite the sexy, brooding, angst-fest Jane always imagined....

Helen Keeble’s riotous debut novel combines the humor of Vladimir Tod with Ally Carter’s spot-on teen voice. With a one-of-a-kind vampire mythology and an irresistibly relatable undead heroine, this uproarious page-turner will leave readers bloodthirsty for more.


Review:

 "And then he did move, because my hardcover copy of Breaking Dawn whacked him full in the face, with all my vampiric strength propelling it. (19%)"

Vampire books will never, ever, ever, ever get old to me. There will be the stinkers and the cliches, but until the day I die, I will keep buying vampire books and inhaling them. Not having heard much about Fang Girl, it had no expectations to live up to other than the basics of a vampire novel. Fang Girl went above and beyond and turned out to be one of the funniest novels I've read in months. Fans of Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday who wouldn't mind a little bit of the supernatural thrown in will love this book.

Let's face it: there are as many things that can make vampires ridiculous as there are things that can make them scary. Like the legend about how they have to stop and count rice or paper clips or whatever else you can throw at them--Keeble takes advantage of that multiple times, much to Jane's irritation. Scrabble tiles: a vampire's greatest weakness. Alphabetical or numerical? The choice is impossible! The easiest way to describe it is that Fang Girl is the very best kind of ridiculous. The kind you can't help but like because it's just that out-there.

"[...] I'd never finish my epic, multi-fandom, crossover crackfic saga. (16%)"

With quotes like that, it's hard not to be fond of Jane, the vampire-loving fifteen-year-old who suddenly wakes up as a vampire a few months after a car accident put her in a coma. As shown by my first quote, she's also not afraid to use her massive Breaking Dawn hardcover as a weapon. (Seriously, that thing is dangerous. Fear anyone holding one and not for the reason you might first think of.) She doesn't develop into much of a stronger character, but she's so entertaining as she is that it's easy to overlook that detail. Often, she's laugh-out-loud funny too!

The plot is also more engaging than one might first thick of it. We've got the typical invinci-vamp trope where Jane can survive just about anything, but for once, there's a deeper explanation than it being prophecized or happening just because. Jane's story takes through all sorts of twists and turns, including a VERY unexpected twist close to the end. Wow. This is the only book I've ever read that did anything like it. One episode on South Park came close to it, but... Yeah. Much applause for that one.

On occasion, this gentle comedic take on vampires is a little too heavy-handed, with quotes like this: "Should I slap him? Threaten to electrocute him with a toaster? Offer him a cup of tea? I was the heroine--wasn't he supposed to have a change of heart and spontaneously come over to my side, having fallen hopelessly in love with my unique specialness? (43%)" The romance between Van (full name Van Helsing--no, really) and Jane doesn't get enough development for me to get why they're into each other at all. Also, some slut-shaming when Jane says typical portrayals of Lilith are "utter skanks". Not cool.

Overall, Keeble's grasp of comedy and how to apply it to the usually-serious vampires had me by the neck. She has a second supernatural comedy due in September 2013, tentatively titled No Angel and focusing on angel romance tropes. Seriously? If there's any creature that needs parodying more than vampires, it's angels! Sign me up, baby!

4 stars!


What am I reading next?: Wicked Kiss by Michelle Rowen