fantaskey makes this premise work by playing up its absurdities without laughing at them, endowing jessica with a coolly ironic sensibility and lucius with old-world snobberies that jessica's girlfriends find irresistible. and if he knew that obscure fact, what else did the dark stranger, receding in the mist, know about my past?” eighteen-year-old jessica packwood is having a hard enough time feeling regal with her new vampire husband, lucius. for answers, she turns to growing up undead: a teen vampire's guide to dating, health, and emotions, a title that reveals vampirism as the novel's metaphor for coming-of-age. jessica's laidback parents serve as foils for imperious lucius ("can i ever again be happy in our soaring gothic castle after walking the halls of woodrow wilson high school, a literal ode to linoleum?
jessica is a mathlete and member of 4-h, raised by vegan, anthropologist parents who brought her to america. but to this small-town pennsylvania teen, getting through the school day is hard enough without a tall, dark, handsome vampire stalking her and calling her by her long forgotten romanian name. as jessica wrestles with issues of identity, she must also grapple with her body's physical changes and her newfound sexuality.“i knew that most people would consider us too young to talk about lifelong commitments or marriage, but i couldn’t imagine taking her to bed without that promise. jessica's inability to cope and her lack of self-confidence are disappointing and seem to make the story drag.
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. jessica packwood fulfills her destiny of returning to romania, claiming her title as a dragomir princess and marrying her vampire love, lucius vladescu. a little bit sideways, i tried to meet lucius’s eyes, but he was staring straight ahead, obviously preoccupied. without warning, jessica is plunged into a world of rumors, lies, and a fate she isn't sure she wants to fulfill. but when he’s charged with murder, jessica’s suddenly on her own.
i'll keep it on my shelf right next to the idiot's guide to becoming a mythical creature. the name i’d been given at birth, in eastern europe, before i’d been adopted and brought to america, rechristened jessica packwood. but my uncle dorin—the only elder i considered an ally—wasn’t there, and i ended up meeting the gaze of claudiu vladescu, who smirked. lucius vladescu arrives to collect his long-lost, betrothed romanian vampire princess, anastasia dragomir, he finds in her place american teen jessica packwood. jessica is a witty, spunky protagonist with authentic insecurities and inner conflicts.