It’s October! One of my favourite months. I love fall and red and orange leaves and crisp air. So in honour of Hallowe’en, I thought I’d read some horror. Or, at the very least, terrifying vampire fiction. Instead, I got Fang Girl. SO FRIKKIN’ FUNNY.
15 year old Xanthe Jane wakes up in a coffin, and immediately figures out that she is a vampire. Cool. Or, it should be cool. It should be everything fiction and movies and fan sites have said it would be. Being a vampire should be an angsty, pale, supernatural experience. At the very least, brooding and sexy. But Jane finds out it is nothing like that. Although her acne does clear up. And she accidentally turns her goldfish. It’s a badass pet, but still. Not an auspicious start to her life as the undead terror.
And SERIOUSLY. Why couldn’t she have been turned a couple of months later? To be 15 forever? SO not cool.
Hysterical. HYSTERICAL. Helen Keeble has taken vampire mythology and contemporary fiction (looking at you, Twilight and Vampire Diaries) and turned them upside down. Forget garlic. You want to get away from a vampire, throw a handful of rice in front of them. De-alphabetize their bookshelves. Mess up their spice cupboard. Arrange their socks randomly. Vampires are seriously OCD. I had no idea. They have to tidy up before they feed.
Jane is a fabulous character. She is totally relatable, with a great voice. Smart, smart-ass, clumsy and brave. Her undead life has just begun, and she is already facing ordinary-but-not-really teen challenges. Her annoying-yet-loveable 12 year old brother Zach has decided she’s a zombie instead of a vampire, which is just another fight she doesn’t have time for. Her parents think it best for her to turn them into vampires, so she will always have someone to look after her, because they don’t think she can look after herself. Practical, when you think about it, and so typical of parents.
All the characters are great. And as present and distinct, and integral to the story, as Jane is herself. Her over-protective parents, her steampunk-obsessed brother, the dark and brooding (but not really) 200 year old Ebon, Van Helsing the hot, ripped vampire hunter, seductive Lily, evil genius Sarah, Hakon the elder – each and every character stands out and adds so much depth to a smart, humourous, quirky read.
The plot itself is a great mix of mystery and the supernatural, and the “bad guy” is not obvious. And, with the exception of a few moments where Jane pines for her brooding soulmate, there is no romance to distract from the story.
Holy crap. Anyone can read this book, and everyone should. If it doesn’t make you laugh your ass off, nothing will. You are undead to me.
Fang Girl is published by HarperTeen.