Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

Came out: February 1, 2009

Pages: 351

Publisher: Harcourt

Format: Paperback

Source: Barnes & Noble

Age Group: Young Adult

 The undead can really screw up your senior year ... Marrying a vampire definitely doesn’t fit into Jessica Packwood’s senior year “get-a-life” plan. But then a bizarre (and incredibly hot) new exchange student named Lucius Vladescu shows up, claiming that Jessica is a Romanian vampire princess by birth—and he’s her long-lost fiancé. Armed with newfound confidence and a copy of Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire’s Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions, Jessica makes a dramatic transition from average American teenager to glam European vampire princess. But when a devious cheerleader sets her sights on Lucius, Jess finds herself fighting to win back her wayward prince, stop a global vampire war—and save Lucius’s soul from eternal destruction.
I wasn't a fan of this book. I felt that Lucius had a fake "maturity" and was not all suave and elegant. I wasn't feeling him. He seemed too fake and calculated. It was all kind of random.
Also, Jessica kind of irritated me. Sometimes she got too hung over one particular detail of something. I'm not bashing this book, I'm just saying that it isn't as dark or intense or romantic as the description makes it out to be.
I did like the whole "Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire's Guide to Dating" thing, but it wasn't very emphasized throughout the book. I did like the writing, just the characters made this book suck (no pun intended) for me. I didn't really see the "dramatic transition from average American teenager to glam European vampire princess". She gets a few expensive, pretty dresses, but I didn't really see her mature and grow.
I did like the tension between the cheerleader (I'm blanking on her name right now) and Jessica over Lucius. You hardly ever see a love triangle with two girls and one guy anymore in a YA world where there are always two guys and one girl. But seriously? It dragged. The plot wasn't action-packed or even enlightening about vampires. It wasn't even very clever.
Because I don't want to insult anybody, I'm going to stop here....except to say:
This book had a lot of potential, but unfortunately, it didn't live up to my expectations. Although, because this book had potential, I feel like Beth has room to grow as an author and maybe one of her later books will be better. But I wouldn't suggest reading Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side.
Recommended for anybody who loves: vampires; Switched; etc,.
Possible book club questions:
Why do you think people are always interested in the "new kid"?What books other than this one can you think of that have guides or excerpts from a book in it scattered throughout it?What do you think your reaction would be if you were Jessica's parents?Think back to the steakhouse scene. Do you think this is normal for the waitress who serves them, or do you think she somehow got roped into doing it?