Release Date: September 13, 2011
Buying Links: Amazon The Book Depository
Book Blurb (from Amazon):
Pearl is your typical sixteen-year-old vampire—until the night a unicorn stabs her through the heart with his horn. Oops. Now she’s experiencing a number of alarming symptoms: noticing her own reflection, feeling sympathy for a human victim, and being able to withstand the sun. Pearl’s immunity to sunlight thrills her family, who enroll her in high school so she can lure home tasty friends. Pearl quickly discovers that high school is very similar to vampire culture with its rigid rules, clear social hierarchy, and a might-makes-right attitude. But having a conscience makes it hard to cope with an evil plot the Vampire King has in store for the local humans. Will Pearl overcome her bloodsucking instincts in favor of her newly acquired conscience?
This acerbic antidote to other vampire romances is rife with gorgeous vampires, handsome were-unicorns, high school drama, and lots of action!
I couldn't resist a book that had both unicorns and vampires. I can't believe I never before thought of a unicorn's horn as a stake. Oh, probably because stakes are traditionally wooden. Well, that detail aside, a unicorn horn seems to be an obvious stake - unicorns are all about goodness and light and purity whereas vampires are not. They also seem, in retrospect, an obvious choice for being vampire hunters. If you agree, you'll probably like this book.
Though this is a paranormal YA book, it lacks much of the angst often found in YA or paranormals. Nor do these vampires sparkle, not physically and not emotionally. Emotions are viewed as a weakness and family is not a loving, supportive unit but one full of minefields, high standards (not that those can't be found in human families) and intense physical and mental discipline. Vampires in this world are mostly born, not made. Made vampires are considered lesser and treated as such. Humans? Food. That's it. Nothing more and sometimes less. Pearl is out hunting for food early in the book, and see some teens gathered around a table.
Seniors, she guessed, pulling the traditional spring-semester all-nighters. Otherwise known as, dessert.Pearl is smart, sassy, snarky, arrogant, very cyncical for being only sixteen and in a fix. After being staked by a unicorn, her family believes she's lying because unicorns don't exist, but suddenly she can tolerate daylight. Her family is quick to take advantage of this new ability, despite believing that she's lying about the unicorn, and set Pearl to hunting up sufficient food, ie humans to feed an entire gala's worth of vampires. The vampire king is coming to town and the honor of Pearl's family is at stake (ha ha). She does this by joining the local high school. Pearl in a human high school is a sight to see. Her internal monologue is sharp, witty and pointed. Durst skewers much of the traditional goings on and teen behavior in an American high school.Pearl's new duties don't excuse her from the ones she already has and she quickly becomes tired, staying awake all night and all day. Her family cuts her no slack and won't tolerate complaints. There are a few scenes involving punishment that had me squirming but for the most part, it's not a violent book.
We see the gradual changes in Pearl that occur as the result of her staking, her subsequent healing and return to unlife, and her exposure to human teenagers in high school. She even makes friends, a concept that puzzles her at first. Humans are food, maybe occasionally pets, but equals? friends? Unthinkable. Impossible. And yet, Pearl has a new BFF, Bethany, who is so relentlessly cheerful, bubbly, friendly, kind and helpful that you just KNOW she's more than she seems. Evan is a sort of boyfriend and not what he seems either, at times he seems too kind, compassionate, polite and well mannered to be real. Despite Pearl's changes, she doesn't lose her arrogance, her confidence, her sass or her snark. She's still Pearl, but a Pearl whose worldview has changed.
The secondary characters are well developed and Durst takes the teen stereotypes and stakes them through the heart. The grownups are slightly more stereotypical but still manage to be neither nincompoops nor abusers. The story is a bit slow at the beginning as Durst sets up the storyline but it picks up. This book is smart, funny, clear eyed, and original. It takes the vampire tale, blends with unicorn mythology and creates a delightful, hilarious, occasionally creepy story.
I did a lot of laughing while reading this book. Below are a few of my favorite quotes:
"Chubby said, 'Yeah, we totally want to worship you.' Pearl smiled at them. 'That would be lovely.' "
" 'A brush with extinction does not excuse unladylike behaviour. You weren't raised by in a barn.' " (Pearl's mother talking to Pearl.)
" 'You smell of humans,' Mother said.....'Stand,' Mother said as Pearl reached the chair. 'I do not want the smell to seep into the upholstery. "
" 'Well, this is all very nice. but I have to run. Go on, shoo. Go poop...rainbows...or whatever it is you do.' " (Pearl's first encounter with the unicorn, pre-staking.)
I received an eARC from Simon & Schuster.