Title: Bite Me
Author: Parker Blue
Synopsis (Courtesy of Powell’s Books):
“An edgy book for teens that spans the gap between YA and adult fiction. Life after high school is tough enough without having to go 15 rounds with your inner demon. Val Shapiro is just your ordinary, part-demon, teenaged vampire hunter with a Texas drawl. And a pet hellhound named Fang. Soon enough she finds herself deep in the underbelly of the city, discovering the secrets of the Demon Underground and fighting to save those she loves. Whether they love her back or not.”
Thoughts: The word “snarky” has become a bit overused in recent years, but sometimes, it is such an apt adjective that it begs to be used. This is the case with Bite Me. Val is a sharp-tongued half-demon teen who uses her callous attitude to hide her pain and anguish at being different. The tongue-in-cheek references are fast and furious, but while Val and Fang are hunting down vampires and trying to save her family, this is ultimately a story about love, family, acceptance, and tolerance. Bite Me has as much heart as it does pointy stakes.
As with any story about a teenage girl fighting vampires, there are invariably comparisons with Buffy. Ms. Blue confronts this comparison head-on by blatant references to this cult favorite television series. Yet Val is unique, and the references only serve to highlight the differences.
The whodunit part of the novel is slightly predictable but in no way detracts from one’s enjoyment of the story. The vampires are creepy but take a backseat to Val’s ongoing personal drama. Fang is definitely the highlight of the story. His ongoing commentary is absolutely hilarious and worth reading the story just to get to know his character.
In looking for a break from a run of heavy, serious literary fiction, Bite Me was a welcome diversion and palate cleanser. It is not so much a paranormal novel so much as it is a teenage, coming-of-age story with a paranormal setting. Val is so vulnerable in spite of her tough-girl attitude, that she quickly endears herself to the reader. Fang provides the down-to-earth and fantastic counterpoint to the teen drama, making sure that the story does not get too melodramatic. The result works tremendously well, creating an engaging, funny, but touching story that just happens to have vampires. What can be wrong with that?
Thank you to NetGalley for my review copy!