Book Review: Fat Vampire by Adam Rex

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book that made me laugh out loud as much as Fat Vampire by Adam Rex. I mean literally, sitting in bed, home alone and cracking up. Loud, hysterical laughter. Laughter so hard, I had to put down the book to compose myself, then call my mom to read her a passage, and insist that she read this book the minute I was done with it. (She now has it in her possession. And then my dad has dibs.)

Fat Vampire tells the story of Doug, who finds himself accidentally a vampire, and therefore facing an eternity of life as a chubby 15-year-old. Doomed to never slim down. Doomed to never get his driver’s license (legally, at least). Doomed to sucking the blood from unsuspecting cows because he can’t even get the goth girls at school to go for his vampire story. Oh, and while he’s coming to grips with his not-so-sparkly life as a vampire and coping with his crush on the new foreign exchange student, Doug’s also being chased by the team of the TV show “Vampire Hunters.” No big, right?

Rex writes with a dry, sarcastic tone that lends itself perfectly to this story and its characters. It’s no-nonsense and that’s what makes this outrageous story work so well. He just tells it like it is, so that there’s no questioning the supernatural elements. As the reader, you just go with it. And yet, Rex uses this simplistic prose to create such colorful scenes that you can see each moment play out so clearly. He weaves together such vivid imagery that the story and characters come to life as you’re reading.

Rex also injects Fat Vampire with the perfect amount of pop culture references, whether real or fictional (including a thinly veiled take on the cult classic vampire movie, “The Lost Boys”). Two of the pop culture highlights include Doug and his best friend Jay cavorting through San Diego Comic Con (all while Doug tries to dodge the sunlight in a poncho) and a colorful scene set during a midnight screening of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (a tradition older readers, especially, will appreciate).

Fat Vampire is marketed as a Young Adult book — and while it definitely is a book about teens and would appeal to teen readers — I would hardly limit it to this branding. This book has broad cross-over appeals amongst readers of both genders and all ages (though maybe not readers too young, since there are some F-bombs and other mature subjects addressed).

Rex has created a classic farce on the vampire genre and the coming of age story, while crafting a story that is uniquely his own. You will laugh at Doug. You will feel sorry for Doug. You’ll probably want to punch Doug at some point, and tell him to get himself together. But no matter how you feel, you’ll definitely feel something. Fat Vampire is one of those books that’s so funny you forget it’s making you excited to keep turning the page.

Fat Vampire byAdam Rex is published by Balzer+Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins. It is in stores now!

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