Fake Blood by Whitney Gardner

I’ve been dying to read Fake Blood by Whitney Gardner pretty much since it was announced in Publisher’s Weekly a couple years ago — and now that I’ve finally devoured this fantastic, hilarious, and heartfelt graphic novel, I know that it was worth the wait.

It’s the beginning of the new school year and AJ feels like everyone is changing but him. He hasn’t grown or had any exciting summer adventures like his best friends have. He even has the same crush he’s harbored for years. So AJ decides to take matters into his own hands. But how could a girl like Nia Winters ever like plain vanilla AJ when she only has eyes for vampires?

When AJ and Nia are paired up for a group project on Transylvania, it may be AJ’s chance to win over Nia’s affection by dressing up like the vamp of her dreams. And soon enough he’s got more of Nia’s attention than he bargained for when he learns she’s a slayer.

Now AJ has to worry about self-preservation while also trying to save everyone he cares about from a real-life threat lurking in the shadows of Spoons Middle School.

It’s no secret that I love books about vampires — and Whitney’s fantastic twist on all the vampire tropes is certainly not to be missed. I don’t think she misses a single trendy pop culture vampire reference — from Buffy to Bella, they’re all here and all used to hilarious perfection.

Whitney also captures all the frustrating challenges that come with middle school and being a “tween” — you’re not quite a teenager, but you’re not really a kid anymore, and how do you balance that weird in-between stage of life and all your changing emotions and feelings. AJ’s got a crush, and he’s got it bad, and seeing him torture himself over how to deal with it is both relatable, and also hilarious.

Fake Blood is just a super entertaining story about first crushes, growing up, friendship, and maybe stopping an actual vampire from really making life a headache. Look for this delightful new graphic novel in stores now!

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