Saturday, May 7, 2011

Audio Book Review: Eighth Grade Bites

Media Type: Audio book
Title: Eighth Grade Bites
Author: Heather Brewer
Narrator: Kevin Pariseau
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Format: MP3-CD
Duration: 4:43:34
Source: Library
Intended Reading Group:
Middle Grade/Young Adult

Content Screening:
Mild violence

HDB Rating:
4 Keys to My Heart

Junior high really sucks for thirteen-year-old Vladimir Tod. Bullies harass him, the principal is dogging him, and the girl he likes prefers his best friend. Oh, and Vlad has a secret: his mother was human, but his father was a vampire. With no idea of the extent of his powers, Vlad struggles daily with his blood cravings and his enlarged fangs. When a substitute teacher begins to question him a little too closely, Vlad worries that his cover is about to be blown. But then he faces a much bigger problem: he's being hunted by a vampire killer.

Narrator Review:
I find it's important to share how well the narrator of an audio book tells the story! After all, my enjoyment of the book I'm listening to lands heavily on their shoulders.

That being said, Kevin Pariseau is a superb narrator! He reads at a steady, but not too slow, pace and makes sure to pause for dramatic effect when it is called for. His voice while reading the overall story is very pleasant to listen to. Most of all I loved that he had a slight difference in his voice for each character in the story. It made following Vlad and his story much easier and more fun. After all, there are quite a few important characters in this story. If I had to choose a favorite voice, I'd definitely pick Mr. Otis. Kevin Pariseau's accent for him was fantastic!

Audio Book Rating: 5/5 - I'd definitely recommend listening to this audio book!


Book Review:
Oh Vladimir. As if eighth grade wasn't already hard enough, what with navigating popularity, bullies and the like, Vladimir has it even tougher. See he's a vampire. After his parents died in a mysterious flash fire, Vlad was taken in by Nelly, his mother's best friend. Now he is trying to do his best just to blend in. Oh, and he's pretty sure he's the only vampire in the world. Pretty sure.

I really enjoyed every minute of Vlad's story! His character is witty and fantastically sarcastic. He is adorably awkward when it comes to girls, and such a guy when it comes to hanging with his friend Henry. In fact, Vlad's personality is just like any eighth grader out there. What really makes him interesting is his vampiric nature. I loved how Heather Brewer seamlessly wove together Vlad's difficult transition into the teenage years, with his even more difficult transition into understanding his vampiric roots. He's so sweet and awkward! I really fell in love with him.

Full of twists and turns, Eighth Grade Bites moves at a nice pace that will keep you reading. I'll admit that sometimes I was slightly thrown off by jumps in time, but keep in mind that this whole book is set in the course of a year. Would you really want to hear about Vlad taking a shower, putting his shoes on, and so on? I think not. Brewer does a great job of skipping over the more mundane parts of Vlad's existence to get things moving towards the exciting parts! I did really appreciate that there are pauses to appreciate the oddness of his life though. For instance there is a scene where he is sitting and eating a chocolate chip cookie that is dipped in "tea" or a mug of hot blood. Definitely different! Definitely interesting.

When Mr. Otis comes on the scene is when things really get moving, and that's where I'll end. I wouldn't want to give away any of the overall story line because that's half the fun of this book! Vlad's brand of humor sets him up nicely to become a protagonist that I'll be sure to follow. I cannot wait to get my hands on the next audio book, especially if it has the same narrator!

Whether you read this or listen to it, I absolutely recommend that you give it a shot! I think you'll find a lot to love in Vladimir and his story.


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