Gay? Straight? Twisexual?
Prepare to be seduced.
But what I found inside these pages was less about whether or not mysterious loner Garrett was really a vampire — and more about the relationship between a brother and sister during their tumultuous teenage years. And this is a very good thing.
Because as much as I love a good vampire story (and I really do), I was charmed by the surprise focus on this pair of siblings. Not only was it a fresh approach in general, but it resonated with me personally, having gone through some tumultuous times with my own brother over the last few years.
Gemini Bites alternates chapters between fraternal twins Judy and Kyle — who have had a rocky relationship over the last few years, much of which has been spent in petty competition with each other. And individually, neither is in exactly a solid place: Kyle’s only recently come out to his family and is wondering if he’ll ever know what it’s like to date a guy, while Judy is pretending she’s been born again to snag the cute, uber-religious guy she’s been crushing on.
Then Garrett — that mysterious loner from their class — moves in with them for the last month of school, and both twins take notice. Is he gay? Straight? Which of the twins is he into more, and which one of them will “win” him in their competition? Adding to his intrigue, Garrett claims he’s a vampire. Uh … what?
But the “vampire” issue is so minor in comparison with the rest of the story. It’s really about something every reader can relate to: the uncertainty of being a teenager. Our teen years are filled with moments of self-discovery, making mistakes, (learning from those mistakes), exploring our world and learning who we are as an individual. Gemini Bites follows both Judy and Kyle as they go through these experiences — and shows that the siblings might be better off if they could stick together, instead of competing against each other.
Garrett is merely the catalyst to help each of the twins embark towards maturity and adulthood — and whether or not he’s a vampire is a fairly moot point when you consider the grand scheme of things.
In a sea of YA books that feature teens with absentee or substandard parents, it’s nice to see a book that not only features a rich, colorful family — but a book that focuses on the family as an important part of a teen’s formative years. Because that’s what Gemini Bites is really all about: family and growing up.
In stores on March 1st, Gemini Bites is a charming tale about discovering what kind of person you want to be, and not being afraid of embracing your own identity.