Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side
by Beth Fantaskey
PUB: Feb 1st 2009
REVIEW COPY: personal hardcover
The undead can really screw up your senior year ...
Marrying a vampire definitely doesn’t fit into Jessica Packwood’s senior year “get-a-life” plan. But then a bizarre (and incredibly hot) new exchange student named Lucius Vladescu shows up, claiming that Jessica is a Romanian vampire princess by birth—and he’s her long-lost fiancé. Armed with newfound confidence and a copy of Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire’s Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions, Jessica makes a dramatic transition from average American teenager to glam European vampire princess. But when a devious cheerleader sets her sights on Lucius, Jess finds herself fighting to win back her wayward prince, stop a global vampire war—and save Lucius’s soul from eternal destruction.
I picked this book up on clearance for $5 and while I didn’t love it, Jessica had its moments. The idea of the story was interesting and fun but sometimes I just didn’t like Jessica and that made it hard for me to get really into the story.
Jessica discovers she is a vampire princess after Lucius, her fiancé (a contractual agreement between two warring vampire factions) shows up ready to get married. Jessica has a hard time getting over the shock of it all and believing what it going on. What annoyed me was that Jessica’s parents actually knew all this and went along with everything, yet Jessica still stubbornly refused to believe what was happening right before her eyes. With her parents backing Lucius’s story I thought Jessica held out longer than really necessary.
Lucius himself doesn’t come across as especially likable either but he’s saved by his letter’s home. Interspersed throughout the book are letters Lucius writes home to his uncle, updating him on the situation. These letters give more insight into what Lucius is thinking and feeling and make it a little easier to like him.
That said I still feel like Jessica went from disliking Lucius to embracing the idea of marrying him faster than I thought was believable. It felt a little forced to me. The whole ending felt a little rushed. I would have liked more time to see the two of them build a better relationship once they were both in Romania.
Overall I didn’t love Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side but I liked it. It was a fun read that could be read as a stand-alone book, a nice change from so many cliff-hanger books. There is a sequel, Jessica Rules the Dark Side that I’d be interested in reading. There is also a short story (Jessica 1.5) called The Wedding of Antanasia Jessica Packwood and Lucius Valeriu Vladescu that I did read online that helps wrap up the story of Jessica and Lucius with their wedding.
You can find out more about Jessica and Lucius at Beth Fantaskey's WEBSITE HERE.