While my PMS crankiness has, in fact, prompted me to bite my tongue on exactly that phrase with a handful of people this week, that’s not what I wanted to chronicle. No, I wanted to talk about my upcoming trip to Oxford tomorrow to meet up with my pal Melissa Francis for her Mississippi debut of her first fabulous novel Bite Me at either Off Square Books or Square Books Jr. There seems to be some confusion as to which store she’ll be at. (Yes Mrs. Jones, I just ended a sentence with a preposition!) In any event the fun kicks off at 6. I am muoy excited!
Bite Me! Melissa Francis. HarperTeen, $8.99 paper (304p) ISBN 978-0-061-43098-5
First-time novelist Francis presents a tasty story that uses humor and a light touch to rise above typical teen vampire fare. Seventeen-year-old “good girl” AJ may be a closet blood-drinker, but that’s the least of her problems. Her mom’s remarriage has just turned her boyfriend into her stepbrother (“Momma’s exact words to me were, ‘Ariel Jane, if you so much as look at that boy with fangs in your eyes again, I’ll bite you myself.’ ”), her AP Lit teacher is already out to get her on the first day of school, and she might have accidentally turned her rebound guy into a vamp who is now threatening her family. On top of that, she’s been accused of cheating on a quiz, and compromising photos have appeared on her Facebook page—someone has to be setting her up. But who? Francis keeps things moving, creating an absorbing and refreshing page-turner with a solid mythology, sympathetic heroine and appealing characters that readers will want to invite back to their own homes (well, almost). Ages 14–up. (Aug.)
Also coming into O-town is the equally fabulous Stacey Jay, whom I had the pleasure of meeting at the Arkansas writer’s retreat I attended several weeks ago. She’s adorable, hilarious, and well worth meeting (oh and she’s got some fabu YA books about zombies too).
Come on out and join us!