SWEETBLOOD

Pete Hautman, Author
Pete Hautman, Author . S&S $16.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-689-85048-6
Ebook - 208 pages - 978-1-4391-0874-1
Prebound-Glued - 242 pages - 978-0-7569-4337-0
Hardcover - 256 pages - 978-0-7862-6020-1
Paperback - 180 pages - 978-1-4424-0755-8
Mass Market Paperbound - 242 pages - 978-0-689-87324-9
Prebound-Other - 978-0-606-32694-0
Prebound-Glued - 242 pages - 978-1-4176-7575-3
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Hautman, an insulin-dependent diabetic, brings an unusual perspective to the anemic horror topic with his portrayal of Lucinda Szabo, the vampire-obsessed diabetic who narrates this tale with wit and sarcasm. "Diabetics were the original, the real vampires," she writes in "The Sad Truth About Bloodsucking Demons"—an English assignment that lands her in hot water with her parents and teacher. Like his Stone Cold and Mr. Was, Hautman creates an edgy protagonist in the sharply intelligent Lucy. From the first chapter, the author lays out her love/hate relationship with blood: "Blood is my friend. Without it my cells shrivel," she begins. By the end of the chapter, she concludes, "Blood is my enemy. It carries death to my cells." Hautman traces the 16-year-old former A student's slide downward as she dyes her blonde hair black, wears attire to match and almost drifts away from her best friend, Mark. Lucy (aka "Sblood") haunts vamp/net chat rooms as she researches her "condition," bringing her under the radar of Wayne "Draco" Smith, a middle-aged cybervamp who feeds off minors by staging goth parties featuring alcohol. The novel turns darker as he seduces Lucy intellectually, appealing to her wit and her pride in her uniqueness. Smith discovers "Sblood's" location and tracks her down via a classmate, who scores her an invitation to a Halloween party that turns into a life-threatening event for Lucy. As Lucy enters an insulin-deprived state of mind, her narrative mirrors her sense of insanity, the blending of the real and unreal. The exotic theme coupled with the heroine's highly recognizable feelings of oddity and isolation make for a tantalizing read. Ages 12-up. (June)

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