Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bite Me! YA Interview and Review

Bite Me!
Author: Melissa Francis
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen
Available at Indie Bound, Powells, Barnes & Noble.

SUMMARY: AJ Ashe isn’t your typical seventeen-year-old vampire—as if there is such a thing. Her ex-boyfriend—whom she’s still totally in love with—is now her stepbrother. A former classmate—who, um, she may or may not have turned into a vampire—is stalking her. And now, apparently, the fate of humankind lies in her little undead hands. Whatever happened to the good old days when all a vampire girl had to worry about was the occasional zit and hiding her taste for blood?

I bought Bite Me! on sale and was intrigued by the cover and the description, though I hadn't read anything about the author or the book previously. I really enjoyed the plot, the characters and the writing style. The main character A.J. is 17 and we learn in the first sentence that her mom is getting married. She likes the man who will be her stepfather, she loves her mom and she wants her mom to be happy. So what is the problem? She's been dating her brother-to-be for months and now they have to break it off. It's the right thing to do, but it's breaking A.J.s heart. Plus, their new blended family doesn't know everything about one another which makes it even more stressful. A.J., her mom and her sisters are vampires, and they can't tell anyone. Can you imagine?

I loved the main characters in Bite Me!, and the plot twists which kept me guessing. Who should A.J. trust? The reader isn't really sure until the end of the book reveals all. I thought the author captured the teen angst that makes high school a roller coaster of emotions. A.J. deals with issues such as jealousy, loyalty, friendship, love and fear. She learns that her actions have consequences, something that all of us deal with sooner or later.

Bite Me! has humor, action and romance. It's a fast, fun read for ages 14 or 15 and older. There are sexual situations, but no sex. I thought it was handled well by the author.

Mom notes: I loved the main character's mom, and their relationship. When A.J. was upset she ran straight to her mom, who as a vampire, wouldn't judge her and knew how to help her. A.J.s mom MADE the time to help, even at work. The issues A.J. has with a teacher and the consequences of NOT telling anyone about it were something that has happened to many kids, and unfortunately doesn't always have a good ending. It's an important lesson for kids to learn.

Melissa graciously answered my nosey questions, so I could share them with you during YA Week. Don't forget that every comment this week enters you for a chance to win Bite Me! and four other YA books.

I loved your book, especially A.J 's mother and their relationship. Why did you decide to make them so close, and not give them a "typical" teen/parents relationship?

Honestly, I hated the relationship I had with my mom growing up. No trust, always combative, etc. I don't have that relationship with my teens and decided that I can't be alone. So I put a lot of 'us' into the book.

Did you find writing YA different from writing adult fiction? Did you find yourself thinking about what you wanted teens to take away from your book?

YA isn't that different to me except the angst and melodrama is elevated a bit more. (because honestly, teens are nothing if not dramatic! LOL) I want kids to read, get lost in the story, imagine themselves as the main character, and come away satisfied. I want girls to understand that they are strong and wanted them to read a story about a heroine who, even though is very flawed and made lots of mistakes, was also strong enough to know she could rescue herself.

How the heck did you come up with the idea of a boy and girl who were dating finding out they were going to be brother and sister with almost no warning after dating so long?

Well, I always thought that could happen in real life and one day I just started really playing with the idea. And the more I thought of it, the more intrigued by it I became. How devastating would that be if you were a teen and in love for the first time? And wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am I had a story!

Thanks Mel:) Love Sucks! , Mel's next book, will be released on July 27, 2010. Be on the lookout for it this summer!

-You can visit Mel at her website here: http://www.haveyoubeenbitten.com/

-Download cell phone wallpapers in Bite Me! themes here: http://www.haveyoubeenbitten.com/downloads.html