Oct 17, 2011

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

Title: Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side (Jessica #1)
Author: Beth Fantaskey
Publisher: Harcourt
Pages: 351
Challenge: None
Source: Own
Retailer: BN / Amazon

My Rating:

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 fiancé. 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. -summary from goodreads.com

Beth Fantaskey, you totally rocked my world! I was not expecting Jessica’s Guide to be such a brilliant read…. To be honest, I don’t know what I was expecting. The book title really threw me off…. I didn’t know whether to expect an actual fictional guide to “dating on the dark side”, or a storyline. SO glad Ms. Fantaskey decided to go with the story :)
Meet, Jessica; it’s her senior year in HS and she is ready to move on to bigger and better things. Enter Lucius, a handsome exchange student who claims that Jessica is really a vampire princess, the last of her line, and that he's a vampire prince and her betrothed. And if they don’t marry soon, a war is going to break out between the two clans and it is not going to be pretty for either side.
The narration is divided between Jessica and first-person letters written by Lucius to his uncle. These letters were most helpful (not to mention hilarious). I often times found myself laughing out loud at the amusing recollections of encounters with the feisty Jess. Something I really enjoyed about this story was the fact that although Lucius was appealing to Jessica, she did not pine him desperately (as many YA heroines tend to do now days). Her affection for him is gradual and increasingly hard-won.
Lucius was such a fascinating character. He’s funny, charming, sexy…. But underneath, he’s a boy who’s looking to be loved. He struggles constantly against his own desires and the effects of years of physical and psychological abuse. I’ll admit, for a good chunk of the book, I disliked him. Why, you may ask? Because he gives up. I can't stand a weak male lead, but I have to give him credit because Jessica does not make it easy for him, not in the least. He does evolve and seeing him do that is very fulfilling.
Overall, I cannot begin to explain how much I enjoyed this book. I loved it! I hate it when I “know” what's going to happen and I never felt that with this book. The ending totally blew me away, but it all worked out and I really hope to be able to continue learning about Jessica's world.


  1. I loved this book too! Can't wait for the next one ~ Donna

  2. My friend told me that she really liked this book when I saw her rereading it. I must admit, the title and cover turned me off, but since you loved it so much, I guess I'll have to borrow my friend's copy soon! It's great to hear that Jessica is not a typical YA heroine and that Lucius is not the cliche strong, brooding jerk type. :)

  3. I really loved this book! It was all you said for me also! great review


  4. awh YAY! Im so glad you enjoyed this one hun!! (:

  5. I was super surprised with how much I liked this book too! I agree with you about the romance and the way it progressed. I liked that Jessica didn't jump all over Lucius right away. I also liked how we got to see his side through his letters.

  6. D - really we may be book twins... I loved this one... and I am really excited for the sequel. I have been waiting for it for awhile now!!! And lets let Lucius roll off the tongue... LUUUUUUCCCIUSSSSSS.

  7. I remember I liked this book until about the last quarter of it. At the beginning I thought it was awesome how there was no insta love for these two, but as the story progressed, it got to a point where I did think "enough already!" and I wasn't happy with the ending of it.

    That being said, I would say that the writing was very good, it kept me enthralled for a long while, until it didn't anymore. If that makes sense :D

  8. I didn't expect that ending either! Loved the book! And I agree I got mad too at Lucius when he gave up. I can't wait to read more about them in the next book. Great Review!

  9. Such a wonderful book. I love those part that they are going out for a date.


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