Un-Forgettable Friday: Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer
October 22, 2010 in Book Club Possibility, Brewer Heather, High School Teachers, Journal Writing, Journal Writing, Middle School Teachers, Young Adult Novels Tags: Heather Brewer, vampire books, young adult contemporary fantasy novels, young adult paranormal novels
*Young adult contemporary fantasy (paranormal)
*Eighth grade boy vampire as main character
*Rating: Eighth Grade Bites is an exciting read with a great teen character that all of us can relate to–even though he’s a vampire.
Short, short summary: This is the first book in Heather Brewer’s The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series. I am new to the series thanks to THE BIG READ in Clayton, MO and getting to hear Heather Brewer speak and read. Apparently, I am not as up on YA lit as I thought–as this series is very popular and Heather has already gotten Vlad Tod all the way to twelfth grade and ended the series. (BTW, she said she is currently working on a spin off series, so that’s exciting!) Anyway, in Eighth Grade Bites, the reader is introduced to Vlad Tod, an 8th grade vampire who can go to school during the day and does eat a fair amount of blood–although all blood comes from a hospital that his “aunt” gets for him. He has a best human friend, Henry; and basically, Vlad is just trying to fit in in junior high–he is pale and skinny and not overly popular–plus his fangs want to slide out at inopportune times. He likes a girl but is unsure of himself, and he is bullied by two huge jerks. Meanwhile, other vampires are in his town looking for him. They aren’t too happy that his father ( a vampire) married his mother (a human) and that they had an offspring. BTW, I enjoyed this first book so much, I have already checked the 2nd one out from the library, Ninth Grade Slays.
So what do I do with this book?
1. A majority of this book is about Vlad Tod trying to fit in and about getting bullied. All your YA readers will be able to relate to these concepts. Everyone, popular or not, is trying to fit in. As a journal assignment, ask students to compare/contrast themselves to Vlad’s predicament and self-esteem issues. How do they handle these issues?
2. Ask students/teen readers to predict what they think will happen in Ninth Grade Slays based on the first book in the series and the clues Heather Brewer includes in the story. Also, some paperback versions have an excerpt for Ninth Grade Slays, and students can use that for clues.
3. Do a character study on Henry or Vlad or even Mr. Otis. You can also ask students to compare/contrast Henry and Vlad as well as write down the qualities of a loyal friend. These are all good assignments if your students are reading Brewer’s series as an independent reading selection.