cover image Drain You

Drain You

M. Beth Bloom. HarperTeen, $9.99 ISBN 978-0-06-203686-5

Bloom debuts with a languid, stylish novel that reads like a love letter to cult vampire flicks like The Lost Boys, the work of Francesca Lia Block, and Southern California in the 1990s. The summer looms ahead for Quinn Lacey, 17-year-old slacker. She has a boring job at the video store, her co-worker has been crushing on her forever, and she’s losing her best friend Libby to creepy guys who dress like “classic Spader villain[s]” in chinos and loafers. When Quinn meets sexy and enigmatic James Sheets, she learns that there’s more going on in town than she ever realized. Quinn works to rescue Libby and figure out her relationship with James while coping with the discovery that L.A. is crawling with vampires. The novel unfolds slowly—it’s like Quinn is sharing her story over Diet Cokes on the pool deck—as Bloom lets readers soak in details of muggy California nights. The choppy, disaffected narration is occasionally melodramatic but often funny. It’s a welcome change of pace from more conventional vampire books, and the post-grunge setting gives it strong adult crossover potential. Ages 14–up. (Aug.)