cover image Vampire Weekend

Vampire Weekend

Mike Chen. Mira, $17.99 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-7783-8696-4

A love letter to the power of music, this thoughtful, humorous exploration of what constitutes living versus mere survival sees Chen (Light Years from Home) at the top of his game. Chinese-American Louise Chao, a musician in life, has spent decades living like an outcast even among her fellow vampires. She ekes out an existence by working nights as a hospital janitor (which provides easy access to blood) while ignoring the overtures of Eric, the leader of the local vampire community. Then 13-year-old Ian, a distant (mortal) cousin whose father is dead and mother is dying, shows up at her door. Louise sees an opportunity of help Ian cope by introducing him to the greats of the punk era and puts aside her apprehension and secrecy to form an unlikely bond. Their connection revitalizes her love of music, leaving her eager to join a band once more and get back to the joy, power, and rhythm she’d felt in the music scene of 1980s San Francisco. Of course, nothing is easy, and as Louise struggles to keep her undead state a secret, Ian inches ever closer to the truth. Chen fully immerses readers in Louise’s mindset, delivering both laugh-out-loud snark and moments of aching loveliness as she navigates the thorny experience of being other, all underscored by a soundtrack that defined a generation. This is a hit. Agent: Eric Smith, P.S. Literary. (Jan.)