Monday, April 5, 2010

The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod

Eleventh Grade Burns
The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod
Author: Heather Brewer
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile

Summary: Things have taken a darker turn for the half-human teenager with an appetite for blood. Joss, a vampire slayer and Vlad’s former friend, has moved back to Bathory. A mysterious and powerful new vampire, Dorian, appears with a shocking secret and an overwhelming desire to drink Vlad’s blood. And Vlad’s arch enemy, D’Ablo, has a sinister plan to eliminate Vlad once and for all. With death threatening from every angle, Vlad will have to use every ounce of his skill and training to survive, but nothing can prepare him for what awaits him in the end.

I won Eleventh Grade Burns from Steph at in one of her contests where I was allowed to choose YA books.

I've been wanting to read Heather Brewer's books for awhile now, but with such a huge To Be Read shelf, and blog tours coming up I had put it off a bit. When I won Eleventh Grade Burns I decided to read it for my YA Week. What did I think of Vlad and his world? I loved it, both as a mom and a reader.

The author did a great job dropping in past events so I had no problem understanding what was happening in the book. Vlad is a teenage vampire who's entering his junior year of high school. Instead of worrying about AP classes and ACT or SAT tests, he's trying to keep his family together, protect his friends and keep himself alive. I loved how the author kept Vlad down to earth, and slipped in things that would concern any 16 year old. He may be able to read minds but he's the only one without a car, at least among his friends. He has super speed, but that isn't going to help him pass his trigonometry test. Vlad's having trouble figuring out his feelings for two different girls. His best friend wants to kill him, but he still wants to hang with him. I have two teenage sons, 15 and 16 years old, and I know how teenagers think and feel. The author hit the nail on the head when it comes to the trials and tribulations of being a teenager.

Eleventh Grade Burns isn't a romance, though there are issues with girls and guys. It would be a great read for boys or girls from ages 13 teen and up, possibly younger depending on maturity and reading level. It has action, suspense, twists and turns but it also has drama and humor that keeps it from being too dark of a read. The author does a great job of being hip with out going over the top.

Mom Notes: The author scored big with me as a mom. The adults weren't idiots, but they weren't perfect either. They cared for their kids, and admitted when they made mistakes. There weren't any sex scenes but there was teen romance. One situation brought up the issue of making out just to make out, instead of caring about the person and getting to know them. There was violence because it's a book about vampires, but it wasn't horrendous or over the top. The idea that there are always consequences to our actions was there as well.

Eleventh Grade Burns is the fourth book in Vlad's series. The fifth book is coming out in September 2010 as well. I love all the covers, especially this last one that shows Vlad's face.

Chronicles of Vladimir Tod
1. Eighth Grade Bites (2007)
2. Ninth Grade Slays (2008)
3. Tenth Grade Bleeds (2009)
4. Eleventh Grade Burns (2010)
5. Twelfth Grade Kills (2010)

You can find out more about Vlad and his series at Heather Brewer's website here:

Heather is on Twitter here.

Vlad also has his own website:

Young Adult Review Guidelines

When I review YA books I review them first as a reader just as I do with any other book. I'll give you my opinion on characters, writing style and the plot plus I'll let you know the type of book it is, whether paranormal romance, adventure, etc. After I review the book for those things, then I will let you know how I felt about it as a parent. I may love a YA book myself, but that doesn't mean I think it should be read by all teenagers. I will always tell you what age group I feel comfortable recommending the book to.

To give you a little background on how I know the minds of teens and preteens, I have three children who are now 10, 15 and 16. My 15 year old is reading at his correct reading level, my 16 year old is reading at college level. All three enjoy different types of fiction and non-fiction. I don't consider myself an overprotective parent, but at the same time my husband and I do put limits on our teenagers when it comes to movies, television and books. Every parent knows their own kids best, so I can only make recommendations based on what I feel is appropriate.

If you ever have a question about the content of a book I've reviewed and want me to be more specific just leave me a comment or email me and I'll be happy to share more.