Fake Blood
Fake Blood
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Annotation: In order to get the attention of Nia, the girl he likes, eleven-year-old A.J. pretends to be a vampire, unaware that she intends to be a slayer.
Catalog Number: #168462
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Graphic Novel Graphic Novel
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 332 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-481-49556-9
ISBN 13: 978-1-481-49556-1
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2017051748
Dimensions: 24 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
In Portland, AJ is entering the sixth grade, along with his competitive friends Hunter and Ivy and his secret crush, vampire-­obsessed Nia. AJ feels his life is boring and doesn't think Nia will find anything interesting about him. So when they are paired together for a research project, AJ pretends to be a vampire, only to learn Nia is a vampire slayer. With a well-balanced mix of angst and amusement in her debut graphic novel, Gardner fills her story with a diverse cast of vivid characters, who are even more believable when they lie to appear more interesting. In her comical full-color artwork, Gardner keeps the pace at a tidy clip, interspersing frequent full-page spreads and unconventional perspectives among more typical panel layouts. The expressive characters are drawn in a cartoonish, Muppet-faced style, while the settings are detailed and atmospheric. With recognizable references to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Twilight saga, the book wryly mixes paranormal with mystery. It's sizable at 300-plus pages, but reassure young readers that this moves fast and has lots of laughs.
Horn Book
Attempting to impress his vampire-obsessed crush Nia, sixth grader AJ adopts a new vampire-inspired persona. AJ's act works all too well, and after a close call with one of vampire-hunter Nia's wooden stakes, he admits to his attention-seeking. The pair soon realizes that their peculiar teacher is the real vampire. Gardner's digitally rendered, full-color cartooning is cogent and consistent, and a variety of panel configurations keeps this enjoyable romp flowing.
Kirkus Reviews
Think vampires have had their day? Gardner's debut graphic novel proves the vein is not completely tapped.Eleven-year-old AJ feels utterly unremarkable. He spent the summer before sixth grade reading and at the library, while his ultracompetitive besties, Ivy and Hunter, spent theirs scaling volcanoes and bungee jumping. AJ harbors an adorable middle school crush on Nia, a fellow bookworm obsessed with vampires. Trying to catch Nia's eye, AJ decides to impersonate a bloodsucker, sprinkling himself with glitter, painting dark circles under his eyes, and slathering his gums with fake blood. However, things do not go as planned when Nia does suspect him as the undead. When AJ's deception is revealed, he and Nia discover an actual vampire in their midst believed his ruse—and that more than one person in his life has secrets of their own. While many might say the vampire genre bled out years ago, Gardner has imbued it with new life, poking fun at well-known tropes—especially Twilight—in a manner sure to inspire hearty belly laughs. Her full-color illustrations are eye-catching, and her plotting is tightly wrought; think Raina Telgemeier with a Noelle Stevenson slant. At a hefty but highly enjoyable 336 pages, Gardner's middle school romp is a magnum opus; here's hoping all her work is as wonderful. Main character AJ is white, as is Ivy, but Hunter and Nia have brown skin, and Nia wears her hair in cornrows.A dazzling debut from a new author to watch. (Graphic fantasy. 8-12)
Publishers Weekly
Gardner offers a slightly new take on the perennial vampire love story: boy meets girl, boy feigns vampirism to get girl-s attention, and girl pursues boy-in order to slay him. AJ-s fanged approach has its drawbacks, but when he and Nia work together on a report about Transylvania, they soon realize that there is a real vampire in their Northwest U.S. community, and only they are prepared to confront it. Gardner-s tale, which includes a share of lighthearted pokes at the Twilight series, is a fun romp through sixth grade that-s made all the more amusing by AJ-s cool sister and hyper-competitive friends, Hunter and Ivy. Quirky visual details, such as refrigerator magnets and characters- unusually shaped noses, and fantasy elements, such as the hearts and rainbows that flow from the drinking fountain when AJ sees Nia use it, balance Gardner-s simple drawing style and minimal backgrounds. The result focuses the eye on the action and keeps the story moving swiftly. Ages 10-up. Agent: Brent Taylor, TriadaUS. (Sept.)

Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
Think vampires have had their day? Gardner's debut graphic novel proves the vein is not completely tapped.Eleven-year-old AJ feels utterly unremarkable. He spent the summer before sixth grade reading and at the library, while his ultracompetitive besties, Ivy and Hunter, spent theirs scaling volcanoes and bungee jumping. AJ harbors an adorable middle school crush on Nia, a fellow bookworm obsessed with vampires. Trying to catch Nia's eye, AJ decides to impersonate a bloodsucker, sprinkling himself with glitter, painting dark circles under his eyes, and slathering his gums with fake blood. However, things do not go as planned when Nia does suspect him as the undead. When AJ's deception is revealed, he and Nia discover an actual vampire in their midst believed his ruse—and that more than one person in his life has secrets of their own. While many might say the vampire genre bled out years ago, Gardner has imbued it with new life, poking fun at well-known tropes—especially Twilight—in a manner sure to inspire hearty belly laughs. Her full-color illustrations are eye-catching, and her plotting is tightly wrought; think Raina Telgemeier with a Noelle Stevenson slant. At a hefty but highly enjoyable 336 pages, Gardner's middle school romp is a magnum opus; here's hoping all her work is as wonderful. Main character AJ is white, as is Ivy, but Hunter and Nia have brown skin, and Nia wears her hair in cornrows.A dazzling debut from a new author to watch. (Graphic fantasy. 8-12)
Word Count: 7,335
Reading Level: 2.5
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 2.5 / points: 1.0 / quiz: 197560 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:3.2 / points:5.0 / quiz:Q75661
Lexile: GN150L

“LOL funny.” –Girls Life

A Huffington Post Best Children’s Book of 2018

A middle schooler comes head-to-head with his vampire slayer crush in this laugh-out-loud funny graphic novel that’s a perfect coming-of-age story for anyone who’s ever felt too young, too small, or too average.

It’s the beginning of the new school year and AJ feels like everyone is changing but him. He hasn’t grown or had any exciting summer adventures like his best friends have. He even has the same crush he’s harbored for years. So AJ decides to take matters into his own hands. But how could a girl like Nia Winters ever like plain vanilla AJ when she only has eyes for vampires?

When AJ and Nia are paired up for a group project on Transylvania, it may be AJ’s chance to win over Nia’s affection by dressing up like the vamp of her dreams. And soon enough he’s got more of Nia’s attention than he bargained for when he learns she’s a slayer.

Now AJ has to worry about self-preservation while also trying to save everyone he cares about from a real-life threat lurking in the shadows of Spoons Middle School.


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