cover image My Sister, the Vampire

My Sister, the Vampire

Nancy Garden. Random House Books for Young Readers, $3.99 (186pp) ISBN 978-0-679-82659-0

This novel--whose subject is handled more seriously than its title suggests--concerns Tim, 12, who worries that his sister Sarah may actually become a vampire. A profusion of bats in their summer cabin brings in two peculiar exterminators. Shortly thereafter, Sarah appears under the same hypnotic spell as their friend Emily, who has become so pale, gaunt and listless. Emily's brother John, convinced of strange goings-on in the Maine resort town, joins Sarah and Tim in ferreting out the truth. Garden's main protagonists are quick-witted and courageous, yet deceptive: they fib to their temporarily absent parents about being under the guardianship of an aunt who, in fact, has postponed her visit. The dialogue often sounds strained and the essentially bizarre story is slow in starting. It grows needlessly convoluted (a drug-runner theory, for example, is thrown in as a possible reason for the strange goings-on), but there's enough tension overall to appease SF/horror fans. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)