Book Review: Vampire Crush by A.M. Robinson

Sure, there are plenty of of them out there these days. But A.M. Robinson’s Vampire Crush is a fun, quirky twist on the teen vampire novel — and for fans of the genre, this will be a fast, enjoyable read.

The book follows loner-by-choice Sophie as she works to become editor-in-chief of her school paper. But her efforts are put in jeopardy by an assignment to profile a group of new students: a very secretive, mysterious group of new students who all seem to know each other and are all a bit … off. This coincides with the return of her next-door neighbor and former childhood rival James Hallowell. But James doesn’t want anyone to know he’s back, and he also seems to know more about these mysterious newcomers than he’s letting on.

What really makes Vampire Crush so successful is a great sense of self-awareness. Robinson clearly knows she’s writing a genre piece for a genre that’s ripe with plenty of offerings. The key is that this book never takes itself too seriously. And while it doesn’t parody the teen vampire genre, Robinson isn’t afraid to poke a little fun with some well-placed references to Twilight and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Robinson’s also done a lovely job with character development. As the reader, you know who Sophie is completely. There’s never any question about her actions or motives. And even if you disagree with some of her choices (she’s not perfect), you totally understand why she’s making them. They are the right decisions for her character.

Likewise, Sophie is surrounded by some charming and unique characters: her step-sister, the popular pretty girl who is actually not a bitch and genuinely wants to help all “fashion victims” find their style. James: whose childhood pranks turn into flirty teasing, with a heavy dose of angst over his parents’ death and other to-be-revealed secrets. Violet: crazy, quirky, but genuine. And Vlad. Oh, Vlad. He’s got all the earmarks of becoming a stereotype, but Robinson’s written him so well that he continues to surprise, entertain and terrify.

Oh, and you wanted some romance with your high school vampire story? Robinson delivers. It’s sweet without being overly saccharine, and complicated without that melodramatic, end-0f-the-world feeling.

And major points to Robinson for writing a teen vampire novel with a TWIST. Yes, a twist! She does a nice job of keeping you on your toes and surprising you, even in a world of vampire over-saturation. The action definitely builds to a dramatic climax, and the ending leaves the reader both satisfied and longing for more. Questions remain, though nothing too glaring … just enough to make you hope for a sequel.

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