Gemini Bites

Patrick Ryan, Retold by
Patrick Ryan, Scholastic Press, $17.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-545-22128-3
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Add Ryan to the list of authors still finding fresh ways to keep vampire books immortal. Narrated by 16-year-old twins Kyle and Judy Renneker—who have recently announced they are gay (Kyle) and born-again (Judy)—Ryan's story smartly navigates romantic entanglements and sibling rivalry. Already overstuffed with seven children, the Renneker household is getting another addition: Kyle and Judy's classmate Garret Johnson, who will be staying with the family for a month before moving to San Diego with his parents. Oh, and pale, eyeliner-wearing, and oddly formal Garret claims he's a vampire, which Kyle starts to believe might be true (even as he acknowledges this isn't the sole reason Garret intrigues him). Garret's presence ratchets up Kyle and Judy's combative relationship, while a subplot involving a student who believes Garret is "evil" adds an undercurrent more unsettling than any potential vampirism. Writing with humor and empathy in equal measure, Ryan (In Mike We Trust) presents a touching gay romance as well as a pair of well-rounded and entertaining narrators who come to respect each other. Ages 13–up. (Mar.)
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