Monday, December 7, 2009

Book Review: A Taste for Red by L. Harris

4.5/5 stars. In his debut novel, A Taste for Red, Lewis Harris introduces us to Stephanie Grimm, a sophisticated sixth grade girl with a problem. She thinks she's a vampire. It's the only conclusion that can possibly explain her preference for black clothing and taste for red foods, not to mention her desire to sleep underneath her bed. Stephanie even changes her name to Svetlana!

Having been home schooled her whole life, Svetlana is horrified to find herself enrolled in public school. By lunchtime Svetlana decides that the popular and perky Sandy Cross and her friends are her adversaries. However, the girls are mere annoyances compared to her new science teacher Ms. Larch.

Although Svetlana sometimes seems wise beyond her years, she is troubled by Ms. Larch, who is able to probe her thoughts and speak inside her mind. Svetlana is beginning to suspect that Ms. Larch is out to kill her. However, no one believes Svetlana, not even her two new friends Dwight and Fumio. Things change rapidly when Sandy and her pals go missing.

Nothing makes sense until The Bone Lady takes Svetlana under her wing. As she begins to discover the secrets of the Circle of Red, Svetlana comes up with a plan. In order to set things right and defeat Ms. Larch, Svetlana must rely on her instincts and learn to trust her new friends.

The Bottom Line: Witty and filled with action, Svetlana and her sidekicks keep the suspense going. This quick paced read is highly recommended for the middle school set. For those reluctant to read vampire stories, don't worry; A Taste for Red is more adventure than horror.

Details: A Taste for Red by Lewis Harris, Published by Clarion Books in 2009. ISBN: 978-0-547-14462-7

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