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Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst
Edited by Karen Wojtyla
Cover Artist: Photo: Evan Schwartz
Review by Paul Haggerty
Margaret K. McElderry Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781442423732
Date: 13 September 2011 List Price $17.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / YouTube Video / Show Official Info /

Pearl is a perfectly normal girl, at least by her family's standards. She's a beautiful sixteen-year-old, with a creamy white complexion, sleet dark hair, and a taste for the boy that runs the ice cream counter ... literally. She finds ice cream flavored blood quite the treat. Sure she's a bit evil; without any trace of morality or conscience. But that's what makes her perfectly normal, if you happen to be a daughter of the premiere vampire family of Connecticut.

Like all teenagers, Pearl is struggling with a horrible secret. She's started developing a conscience after being stabbed through the chest by a unicorn ... which, quite ironically, none of her vampire relatives believe in. This is a very serious problem. If her family finds out about these twinges of ethics and morality, they'll do far worse than just ground her. Vampires do not tolerate any sign of weakness. After all, they've already inflicted a horrible punishment on her because of the other side effect of her encounter -- the ability to walk in the daylight without burning to a crisp. For that, they've sent her to high school

More by Sarah Beth Durst:
* Into the Wild
* Out of the Wild
* Ice
* Enchanted Ivy
* Drink, Slay, Love

There are momentous events afoot for Pearl's family involving their place in New England vampire society, and they see no reason why she shouldn't use her aberrant ability as a daywalker to scout out some fresh blood donors so they can make a good impression with the upper crust. All she has to do is go to school, pretend to befriend the humans and get invited into their homes. The problem for Pearl is that despite all her best intentions, she's actually getting to like some of the high school kids, an occurrence that would have been totally impossible before the incident with the unicorn. Adding to the frustration is the fact that nobody will believe her story of what happened to her. They'd much rather believe that she was attacked by some kind of inept vampire slayer that stabbed her and then dropped her off on her doorstep.

So in addition to combat and etiquette classes at night, a full high school course load and extra-curricular activities during the day, she also needs to come up with a plan to slaughter hundreds of teenagers without attracting attention to her family, keep her family from deciding she's dangerous and slaughtering her, and find the mythological beast, that nobody believes in, that has turned her life upside down. Not to mention having to deal with her attraction to the incredibly cute boy at school that's making her think all the wrong things. And, considering he's human, that is all just so absolutely wrong.

Sarah Beth Durst has created a wonderfully different character in Pearl. When the book begins, she's a blood thirsty monster that thinks of humans as nothing more than mobile bags of food to be siphoned off as desired. This is hardly the makings of a sympathetic protagonist. But even before her transformation begins, it's hard not to like the plucky, snide, and devious young girl. She's supremely confident in her abilities and her place in the world, and quite comfortable in her skin. And while she might play with her food a bit, her food certainly seems to enjoy the attention, so she doesn't quite fit the traditional definition of evil either. And like all teenagers, inevitably moving from what they were as children to what they will be as adults, Pearl has to make her slow and rocky adjustments, propelled into her new world by a unicorn's horn. But new friends, new situations, conflicts between what is expected of you and what you know to be right, these are all part of growing up, even if you're human. Pearl just has a couple extra heaping portions on her plate, like finding a way to prevent the very bloodbath she's in charge of arranging.

Pick up Drink, Slay, Love and give it a try. There's action, romance, insanity, and a quite lovable sassy monster. I think you'll enjoy it.

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