This story collection (272 pages) was published in September of 2020 by Imprint. The book takes you to the world of vampires. Melissa read Vampires Never Get Old and loved it; it wouldn't be on our site if she didn't recommend it.
There’s a nest of new vampires in town, and they’re going to seduce you with big feels, high drama, life-and-death decisions, and sexy hijinks. Grab your garlic and holy water!
Edited with a sharp bite by Zoraida Cordova and Natalie C. Parker, this collection of 11 thrilling stories includes new works from bestselling YA authors, including Julie Murphy (Dumplin’) and Victoria ‘V.E.’ Schwab (City of Ghosts).
The authors pick up what Bram Stoker was laying down, threading love (both platonic and romantic), social commentary, and moral dilemmas through stories. They explore the emotional conundrum of becoming undead and build their tales around LGBTQ+ storylines and unconventional heroes and heroines. It’s a Gothic collection with a modern sensibility — fresh, smart, entertaining, and moving.
In between the stories, the editors chime in with commentary on the vampire lore explored in the narratives, like a diabolical Greek chorus, adding context and humor. They also invite us into the stories by ending each interjection with a question: ‘If you had the choice, would you want to live forever?’
The savage and humorous ‘A Guidebook for the Newly Sired Desi Vampire’ by Samir Ahmed is a how-to manual for newly-turned Indian (desi) vampires, spelling out practical advice, dire warnings, and a bit of sarcasm to fledgling bloodsuckers. ‘Congrats! Mubarak! Bahaaeeho! You’re a vampire now. Welcome to the afterlife! We wish we could bring you barfi and gulab jamun and other sweets and ring your neck with jasmine and rose garlands, but there’s no time for that. Besides, your neck probably smarts or itches a little.’
In a deliciously angsty exploration of teen love and lust, ‘Seven Nights for Dying’ by Tessa Gratton, a newly-turned teenage vampire faces what it means for her to live forever when the people she loves will not. While ‘Senior Year Sucks’ from Julie Murphy is a more lighthearted approach to romance and the sparks that fly when opposites attract. Who’s the hunter and who’s the hunted when all you want is a really good kiss?
One of the darker, most affecting stories is from Kayla Whaley, an author whose works address disability, sexuality, and the body. Her contribution ‘In Kind’ stars a disabled heroine whose supernatural experience forces us to examine our ideas about which lives matter, how we define salvation, and the high cost of betrayal.
It’s to the authors’ and editors’ credit that none of the stories lurch into a ‘very special episode’ territory. Instead, they’re exuberant, playful, moving, and always entertaining.
I wondered what it would be like to walk this street alone and still be unafraid. No keys pressed through my fingers like brass knuckles, no heightened pulse, and if somebody called me a dyke, I could flip them off no worries — or better, rip out their goddamn throat. — Tessa Gratton, ‘Seven Nights for Dying’
Strong Sense of Place is a website and podcast dedicated to literary travel and books we love. Reading good books increases empathy. Empathy is good for all of us and the amazing world we inhabit.
Strong Sense of Place is a listener-supported podcast. If you like the work we do, you can help make it happen by joining our Patreon! That'll unlock bonus content for you, too — including Mel's secret book reviews and Dave's behind-the-scenes notes for the latest Two Truths and a Lie.
This is a weekly email. If you'd like a quick alert whenever we update our blog, subscribe here.
We'll share enough detail to help you decide if a book is for you, but we'll never ruin plot twists or give away the ending.
This 30-page Reading Atlas takes you around the world with dozens of excellent books and gorgeous travel photos. Get your free copy when you subscribe to our newsletter.
Content on this site is © 2021 by Smudge Publishing, unless otherwise noted. Peace be with you, person who reads the small type.