Still Sucks to Be Me by Kimberly Pauley

With Still Sucks to Be Me, author Kimberly Pauley continues what she started with Sucks to Be Me … a funny, charming, coming-of-age story. And, oh yeah, there are vampires.

What’s so refreshing about Pauley’s books is the lack of angst and melodrama associated with so many other vampire books these days. Don’t get me wrong — I am a huge fan of those books (Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, Blue Bloods, etc.). But it’s nice, for a change, to see teenage vampires facing mostly normal teenage problems. Mina is a normal teen girl, thrust into some unusual circumstances. But when it comes down to the nitty gritty, most of her problems are things we can all relate to: boys, high school and dealing with your parents. In Mina, Kimberly has created an extremely relate-able and likable character.

Kimberly’s also not afraid to shy away from the vampire books that have come before her. In fact, she tackles them head-on. One of my favorite lines from Still Sucks to Be Me is a direct jab at Twilight that comes when Mina orders animal blood (instead of human) at a vampire bar:

A young-looking guy in the back of the room grumbles something about “damn Cullenist” loud enough for me to hear (well, me and everybody else, since we’ve all got superhearing). What’s he talking about? What did I — oh, wait, yeah, those vampire books with the sparkly vampires. Great, now I’ve been branded like I’m some kind of vegetarian vampire freak.

Still Sucks to Be Me is riddled with humor like this, from the description of Mina’s new home as purple in such a heinous shade it’s “Like Barney ate a bunch of blueberries and then barfed them up” … to Mina’s growing fears that her boyfriend George has abandoned her for waxed bikini babes in Brazil. I’m also constantly amazed at Kimberly’s knack for writing in a believable teenage voice, and her adept usage of “text speak” in some of the exchanges between characters.

Still Sucks to Be Me is one of those charming books that will have you flipping the pages to see what happens next, choosing which hot guy character you like best (Team George or Team Cameron?), and laughing out loud in the middle the night when you happen across a hilarious passage or one-liner.


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