There is this book, okay, graphic novel, called Fake Blood. Whitney Gardner is the author and illustrator of this creation. I had seen it over the years on a display here, a list there or on the shelf. But when I was bored one day and was wondering what the library had that I might be interested in, I found it listed (I was perusing their website). I chose five books (with a sixth as a backup in case something was not available) and came home with four. One of those four was thankfully (? More on the question mark later) Fake Blood.
This clever and goofy spoof on vampires, Twilight, growing up and school was… a read. It was funny. Not funny. Several shaking my head moments. A story about a teen wanting to impress a girl is not new. A guy pretending to be a vampire to impress a girl, also not new. And of course, the girl is a bit clueless about said boy. Mostly because she is obsessed with vampires, schoolwork, and looking for a mentor. The friendship storyline is relatable, but sometimes a bit over the top. Yet, you forgive that as it just is what it is and that fits the story. There is a straight shot from page one to The End. There are a few jumps and slides getting there, but you know in the end that: the teacher is a vampire, the kid is going to get himself into trouble and the sugar addicted kid is going to play an important and oh so funny part.
Some of the jokes, comments and situations are a bit mature in some areas. But nothing that we have not seen before. We know this story, this book, these people because we are them (felling boring, exaggerating tales, getting ourselves in awkward situations). The one thing that is slightly different is the older sister. She has a very … amusing … response to her little brother at one point. Ages 10 to 15 would be the best audience. This is mostly because of the size of the book. It is a “novel sized picture book.” And the characters are around 12 years old so the Middle School Mayhem is not always for the older reader. But then again, everyone can enjoy (just under 10 might have some struggles).
The illustrations are simple, but not simplistic. Yet, not overly detailed either. The details and colors fit the text and are there to help move things along. They are another layer to the cake of the final product. They can be awkward at time (a couple characters have “Muppet noses”) but forgivable because, it works.
Now to the thankfully question mark. I am not sure I liked this book. I mean, sure I enjoyed it, would recommend it, but at the same time, did I like-like it? It is quirky and cozy. A book that you sink your teeth into or not. It mentions Powell’s bookstore! I was right there, but not sure where that was. Maybe time for a re-read?