Title: Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side
Author: Beth Fantaskey

When I first got this novel, my immediate thought was, "This looks cute."

And it was.

If Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey were a movie, it would be the type of movie you would watch on one of those amazing, lazy, rainy Sundays with a big cup of hot chocolate. Sounds good, right? Here's the skinny...

Background on the book:

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 fiancĂ©. 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.
- Amazon.com

In Short:

If you're looking for something short, sweet, light...and about vampires, this is the book for you. It's the typical girl-meets-boy, girl-loathes-boy-because-he's-a-vampire, girl-falls-for-boy, boy-likes-someone-else, drama-drama-drama-all-ends-well novel.

Like I said, it's a good novel for lazy days and if you're in the mood for something that, although can be somewhat cliche, is still fun.

Things I Love:

- First and foremost, I love love love love love that Jessica isn't an anorexically skinny girl, but rather has curves. I like that she has flaws and is insecure about it, because let's face it, who isn't insecure about something? It's nice to see a book where the main character is a little different and has learned to embrace it as something good!

- Love that Lucius is a food snob and has a stash in his living quarters. I think it adds a nice bit of comic relief to the novel. Orange Julius forever!

- I kind of love the way Lucius speaks. Remember how I said I loved Jace in the Mortal Instruments series because he acted like a sarcastic bastard all the time? Yeah, well, same goes for Lucius.

- Gotta say that Jessica (Antanasia?) has some pretty great dreams, then again I would too if a sexy Euro vamp came to live in my house!

- Love when Lucius defends Jessica from the class bully.

- Love when he buys her the dress and that she's a size "10." I think it's very sweet how he makes her feel beautiful.

- Love Lucius and Jessica's moment after the carnival. Yes. It was great, you know it was.

- I like that Lucius' character is somewhat tortured. I find it endearing that he is constantly fighting against the evil he thinks he has in him and desperately wishes for a better (less complicated) life.

Quotes I love:

Grabbing up a marker from the tray beneath the whiteboard, he flipped off the cap with authority and scrawled the word Vladescu in a flowing script.
"My name is Lucius Vladescu," he announced, pointing to the word. "Vla-DES-cu. Emphasis on the middle syllable, please."
Locking his hands behind his back, he began pacing as though he was the teacher. One by one, he made eye contact with each student in the room, obviously summing us up. I sensed from the look on his face that we were found wanting somehow.
"The Vladescu name is rather revered in Easter Europe," he lectured. "A noble name." He paused in his pacing and locked onto my eyes. "A royal name."
Oh Lucius, you're such an asshole right from the gate. It's wonderful. I love it.
"He'd lost me at "vampire."
Nuts. Lucius Vladescu is completely nuts. And I'm alone with him, in an empty barn.
So I did what any sane person would do. I jammed the pitchfork in the general direction of his foot and ran like hell for the house, ignoring his yowl of pain.
Very a-la-Bella.

"Jess. For God's sake," he said. "Allow me to do at least one common courtesy for you. In spite of what 'women's lib' teaches you, chivalry does not imply that women are powerless. On the contrary, chivalry is an admission of women's superiority. An acknowledgment of your power over us. This is the only form of servitude a Vladescu ever practices, and I perform it gladly for you. You, in return, are obligated to accept graciously."
How I love chivalrous men. FACT: Sexy. Always.
"But sharing one's blood with another: exposing one's most vulnerable place, where the pulse beats just below the skin, and trusting your partner to satisfy without subduing...It makes sex seem almost insignificant by comparison. And unequal act - male to female. But blood...blood can be shared as true equals."
See the above FACT.

"Better a Brillo head than a bitch."
To which I respond by quoting my dear friend Ali G, "Booyakasha!"
"And as we kissed, really kissed, something inside me was smashed, like a splitting atom, erupting with all the force of a shattering nucleus. And yet I was strangely at peace, too. It was like I'd found my place in the universe, in the chaos, and Lucius and I could go along locked together throughout time without end, like pi, existing infinitely, irrationally, spinning through time."
At last!

Things I Found Out of Place:

- How completely creepy Lucius is at the beginning of the novel? Oh. My.
He was still there, but in the road now, booted feet planted on either side of the double yellow line, arms still crossed, watching the bus drive away. Watching me. "Antanasia..."
Can we say creeeeeepppppooooooo?

- Speaking of Antanasia, what an odd name! Not Anastasia, but Antanasia. In my head, whenever I saw the name, I immediately changed it to Anastasia because honestly Antanasia is just a mouth full. FUN FACT, however, Antanasia in Romanian apparently means "immortal," which really...if you have to name your character after a name that blatantly means "immortal" you're trying too hard.

- Let's talk about the total awkwardness of the Elders at the Western Sizzlin' for a moment. I mean, I know they are vampires and all, but c'mon they are royalty! Royalty. Does. Not. Slurp. Meat.

- The whole novel is going well - all love, death, destruction and gloom - when suddenly this new (unwanted and ridiculous) element is thrown in. Why, oh why, do the kids at school have to find out that Lucius is a vampire? Why, oh why, was the barn episode written in? I think the novel would have work 10,000 times better without that. It's just so bizarre! I mean I get that something needed to happen to get Lucius out safe and sound, but c'mon! Find a different way!

- Can we also talk about how ridiculous it is that the police would come to arrest Lucius for "biting" Faith? Really? I mean, if you're going to set a story in the real world (even if the story is fantasy) you still have to abide by real world rules, i.e. the police do not arrest people for being vampires! Just...no.

All in All:

I thought this was a cute book. Somewhat cliche and random from time to time, but still a fun read.

If you're looking for something light to read at night or between novels, Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side is a pretty safe bet!

Rating for Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side: B

  1. Unknown Said,

    i would <3 this as a movie

    Posted on March 24, 2010 at 9:59 PM

  2. Linlaah Said,

    I would also <3 this as a movie. I swear, this is one of my absolute favorite books now!

    Posted on December 5, 2010 at 8:32 PM

  3. Anonymous Said,

    i totally agree with all the "pro" points but I disagree with the all the "out of place things" ... I didn't feel any mistake in the story, I simply loved it.
    Thank you anyway for reviewing it!!!

    Posted on March 13, 2011 at 10:35 PM

  4. Anonymous Said,

    This would make an excellent movie. I hope another book is in the very near future! I read both books in a day. I could not put them down. I also enjoyed the wedding. I can't wait to see if their might be more in store for Lucius and Jessica. Amazing reads!

    Posted on January 3, 2012 at 5:17 PM

  5. Anonymous Said,

    this is such a great book i love it and really hope she writes another one soon:)

    Posted on March 26, 2012 at 3:14 PM

  6. Anonymous Said,

    I love this book. It's so romantic and awesome. I hope there is going to be a continuing book, to see what is going to happen with Jessica and Lucius.

    Posted on April 14, 2012 at 3:29 PM


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