- Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side
Jessica's dreams of a fulfilling senior year as a mathlete and potential girlfriend to a local farm boy are dashed with the arrival of a brooding European who has quite a secret. Lucius is a vampire, and he announces that Jessica is as well, that she belongs back in Romania where she is a princess, and that she is his betrothed, so pledged in order to unite the two warring families from which they come. Even after her adoptive parents confirm Lucius' story, Jessica's rational brain resists the evidence (Lucius' fangs, incredible healing abilities, and other characteristics all [End Page 196] point to veracity) for as long as possible, until she finally acknowledges her own destiny—but has she lost Lucius to the charms of modern-day teen life in the interim? Jessica evolves nicely with each new shocking revelation, becoming, over the course of the novel, an intriguing and strong protagonist. Lucius, on the other hand, will be magnetic to readers from the first mention, and his letters back to his imposing Romanian guardians demonstrate in a nuanced, unforced way his slow transition from snarky but obedient lackey to troubled but defiant resister once he sees alternatives to the course he'd once viewed as inevitable. Horror fans may find this a little light on the blood until the creepy vampire uncles hit town late in the book, but romance buffs will find the ultimate pairing of Lucius and Jessica absolutely irresistible, and it's downright swoon worthy once their elaborate courting ritual begins in earnest.