Friday, 16 March 2012

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

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey (Jessica #1)
Released: February 2009
Publisher: Harcourt
Rating 2.5-3/5

Goodreads description:

The undead can really screw up your senior year ... 

Marrying a vampire definitely doesn’t fit into Jessica Packwood’s senior year “get-a-life” plan. But then a bizarre (and incredibly hot) new exchange student named Lucius Vladescu shows up, claiming that Jessica is a Romanian vampire princess by birth—and he’s her long-lost fiancĂ©. Armed with newfound confidence and a copy of Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire’s Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions, Jessica makes a dramatic transition from average American teenager to glam European vampire princess. But when a devious cheerleader sets her sights on Lucius, Jess finds herself fighting to win back her wayward prince, stop a global vampire war—and save Lucius’s soul from eternal destruction.

My thoughts:

This book leaps right in there with barely any build-up which I found vaguely confusing but adapted quickly. It wasn't what I expected at all, which is a shame, because I thought I would LOVE it and I didn't especially.

I found Jessica so annoying. She claimed to be all scientific and rational and yet she was in a constant state of denial for half the book. She refused to believe what was right in front of her, what people she trusted were telling her and I found that SO frustrating. She did eventually redeem herself, but for me it was too late. I also hated the fact she was called Antanasia as I kept thinking 'Anastasia' instead, but that's not really a valid criticism.

Lucius...I'm not entirely sure how I feel about him. He seemed to have a massive case of split personality syndrome because sometimes he was all high and mighty and at other times very sweet. I did like his transformation to typical American teen, I loved the idea that he succumbed to the freedom of America and shunned his old fashioned duty. I also loved the letters he wrote to his uncle which were hilarious. At times though his speech slipped and he went from charming foreigner to a native speaker through the use of a certain word or phrase and I didn't really like that. I could see what the author was trying to do with the way he spoke but it didn't always work. 

Romance wise, I'm torn. I liked that Jessica had enough self-respect not to throw herself on him, but I resented that she wasn't really prepared to give him a try, afterall, the whole thing was hardly his fault. And then, when it seemed she lost him, she decided she wanted him after all! Fickle girl. 

I did like the parents. If you read my discussion post a few weeks ago you'll know I'm not a huge fan of parents playing vital roles in books but these parents were pretty cool. I liked the role they had in story and how they interacted with both Jessica and Lucius.

The ending had promise, but I feel like the author got bored  with writing and that left it feeling anti-climatic. I'm torn between whether this should be a 2 or a 3 star read. I'm really disappointed that I didn't enjoy this and I know it has some rave reviews, but it really wasn't for me.


  1. I think this book is one of those books that you just borrow not keep. Though am eager to see how the romance goes on in this one. Great honest review Cait!:)

    1. ^^ What she said about borrowing the book. But I do think I liked Lucius more than you did. It has been a while since I read the book, though, so I don't remember the issues you pointed out about his speech pattern.

      (PS - I also kept thinking of Anastasia.)

    2. Agree with both of you, it's a borrower. Urgh his speech pattern irritated me so badly. I wish she'd just called her Anastasia -___-

  2. I haven't read this one yet, but I did buy it a year ago. I probably will read it eventually, but after this review I will read everything else first.

  3. Hmm, this one seems to have some ups and some downs. Luckily when I purchased it, it was very cheap for my Nook (like $2.99 I think?) so if I don't like it, I'm not out a great deal of money. Jessica sounds like the type of character I would either really love or really hate! Great review as always, Cait - you get right to the heart of things. :)

  4. oh nooooo. I have a copy of this book, but it was an Amazon free deal, so kinda happy I didn't spend a lot of money. Haven't read it yet, though, but am definitely wondering about it. great review!

    Ashelynn @ Gypsy Book Reviews.

  5. This book wasn't all that amazing in my opinion either but I did like those letters Lucius wrote. :)

  6. Dammit! I was really excited by the prospect of you liking this one. I'm glad to see, though, that it wasn't a TOTAL fail for you. I'm a bit wary for the sequel since I've seen so many mixed reviews.


  7. ... Antanasia? O_O Noooo! I would totally be thinking Anastasia right with you. Actually, I DID think that until you mentioned you kept accidentally mixing them up and I was forced to go back and read it properly. These authors, always trying to mess us up...

    Okay I am just REALLY confused about this one. I think most reviews I've read have been pretty positive but then I come across yours and you always bring up some valid points. I am so not into the characters (minus the parents? LOL) from what you describe.


    Guess I'll just have to read for myself and decide then :) Awesome review!


  8. Aww, it's a shame this was such a letdown! I did love it, but you do make very valid points and I can understand why you didn't like it. Must you be so damn good at writing iffy/negative reviews? Sigh. I fail at it haha. I do agree with you on Lucius' letters... loved reading those and getting an insight into his thoughts. Plus, they were funny :D

    The sequel, however... well, I read a couple of chapters and then stopped. Could not get into it at all, which really sucks, since I enjoyed the first so much =\

  9. I got this one for my nook a few moths ago, but haven't gotten around to it yet. It sounds to me like it's one that can hover in my TBR pile until I have enough free time. Thanks for the wonderful honest review.

  10. AHHHH! I am currently reading this (errrr.... rereading it, I read it a few years back) and let me tell you, I've been reading it for a week +. For some reason I can't get into it as much the second time around as I did the first- am I sick of vampires? I dunno.

    Regardless, I basically have the exact same complaints as you. Seriously, as of right now the letters are the only redeeming quality of the book.

  11. I rated this the same as you (well, 2.5). Jessica was so annoying, I agree. I didn't like or connect to her at all! Lucius started off okay for me, but by the end, he too was just annoying :P. Though I did like the letters too. Great review! :)


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