Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Bethany Fantaskey
Release Date – February 1, 2009
Publisher Website – Harcourt
Pages - 351 pages
My Rating- 7/10
Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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.After reading the synopsis of this book I was expecting something a little lighter, maybe a little fluffy and cute. I got something much more complex than I was expecting and ended up enjoying Jessica’s journey.
Bethany Fantaskey’s writing stands out in the novel. The pacing is a little slow at first but the ending more than makes up for the slower start. Her character development is great, and not usual for this type of story. Even the minor characters are developed and it makes the story feel more detailed.
Jessica is really the heart of the story. She reacted the way anyone would to someone showing up and claiming to be your fiancé, never mind vampire. She wanted nothing to do with him, and thought he was crazy. I loved that she didn’t just fall into Lucius arms. Once she accpted Lucius' story she took the time to look at her options before making any decisions, and even tried to do what was best for her (even if she might of secretly wanted something else). She was caring, determined, smart, and quite logical.
Lucius caused me concern. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to enjoy the romance aspect of this novel as a result. If Bethany had not provided insight into Lucius with letters he wrote to his Uncle I would have not enjoyed this novel as much as I did. The letters showed a humorous, more likeable side to him that needed to be there. I often asked myself what Jessica would see in him because while it was obvious what he would see in Jessica, I had a harder time liking him. These letters helped show a side that Jessica would like, and as a result I started to warm up to him. I enjoyed his humorous insights to the students at Jessica’s school most of all. I usually ended up giggling at parts of his letters. They were some of my favourite parts of the novel.
The vampires in this novel are cruel. They do not hesitate to torture, and punish what they consider wrongdoings. Lucius has been raised in this environment and it reflects in his behaviour. He and Jessica are very different, and yet bring out good qualities in each other. Jessica's confidence is brought to the surface by Lucius, and she sees herself in a new way thanks to him. She is gentle and caring with Lucius, something he is not used to. He starts to look at his upbringing and how it made what he is. The American lifestyle, and Jessica's kindness affect him in ways he did not expect.
As we get to the end of the novel it takes a darker turn, and Jessica must stand up and become the princess she was born to be, her clan of vampires, and Lucius himself depend on it. While the novel ends on a satisfying ending, I am happy to continue Jessica’s tale and see her continue to grow.