Book Review: Fake Blood by Whitney Gardner

Fake Blood: Gardner, Whitney, Gardner, Whitney: 9781481495561:  Books

Title: Fake Blood

Author: Whitney Gardner

Genre: Juvenile Graphic Novel

Number of Pages: 332

Rating: C

Recommended?: No

I didn’t have particularly high expectations for this book, but I thought the premise sounded cute and that it might be a nice quick read. Fake Blood is a inoffensive but forgettable graphic novel for middle graders, about a little boy who has a crush on his classmate but doesn’t feel she knows he exists.

The kid, A.J., decides to model himself after an angsty vampire bad-boy to win his dream girl Nia’s affections, but it turns out what he interprets to be a vampire fandom is way off- Nia is actually a vampire hunter who keeps tabs on bloodsuckers in order to kill them. Trying to avoid being killed by Nia over a unfortunate miscommunication, A.J. also teams up with his two goofy friends to track a real vampire who’s infiltrated the school.

The antagonist is the most entertaining part of the story, his identity is obvious right off the bat but he adds a bit of humor to a story with mostly flat characters. There is very little tension and even the characters don’t seem to take their conflicts seriously. As a reader I didn’t even get a sense that the characters were frightened in life-threatening situations, it was very slapstick-y and the none of the emotions rang true.

I think even in a silly and light-hearted story written for children, the author should lend some sense of authenticity to the characters and that wasn’t present here. The only parts of this book I really enjoyed was the ones where the author parodied Twilight. This might appeal to middle graders who are reluctant readers but it lacked crossover appeal.