Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side Cover
Clever, original, young-adult vampire romance, which is book 1 of a trilogy

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side (Jessica #1) by Beth Fantaskey
Reading Level:
Young Adult
Release Date: February 1, 2009
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Pages: 368
Source: Purchased
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry

This YA novel has a wonderful hook that drew me in instantly: a geeky high-school senior discovers she's a vampire princess betrothed to a gorgeous vampire prince.

I love paranormal comedy, and to discover this book is a comedy with vampires was like Christmas and the Fourth of July rolled into one for me! Other delights for me are the fact that the author provides not only the point of view of Jessica, but of the understandably arrogant vampire prince, Lucius, as he writes hilariously disgruntled update letters to his vampire uncle back in Romania. The arc of the romance between Jessica and Lucius is also pleasingly slow--rather than the insta-love so common in YA paranormal romance. Along the rocky road from initial comic enmity to romantic feelings for each other, the author provides a wealth of highly entertaining verbal sparring between these two vibrant characters.

Since this is YA romantic comedy vs. an adult romance plot, not surprisingly there is a love triangle. But fortunately (for me at least), the second male romantic interest doesn't hold a candle to Lucius in personality, and he's merely a plain-vanilla human with no magical powers. Thus, I had no second thoughts at all about vastly preferring Lucius to the human, which is my ideal type of triangle.

For those interested in age appropriateness, this book can safely be read by younger teens, but is intelligently enough written to engage the attention of older teens--and adults--as well.

Heroine: 5

Hero: 5

Subcharacters: 4

Fantasy World-Building: 4

Writing: 5

Romantic-Comedy Plot: 5

Overall: 5