Doug Lee is a 15-year-old boy dealing with 15-year-old boy problems: fitting in at school, surviving crushes on girls, fighting with his friends. As if being a 15-year-old boy wasn’t hard enough, Doug is also a vampire which comes with its own set of challenges: living forever as a chubby and awkward teenager, figuring out where to get blood without hurting anyone, wooing the Indian exchange student who might be on to his secret, and avoiding a reality TV vampire hunter whose ratings depend on catching Doug. This is not your Twilight vampire story.
What a great premise! Unfortunately, the b00k was downhill from there with confusing plot details, cliched characters, forced humor, and an ambiguous, unrewarding ending (and beginning, come to think of it). While I could appreciate Rex’s efforts to subvert the vampire genre and some successful moments of goofiness characteristic of Rex’s work, this book took me far too long to read because it was ultimately not that enjoyable.
I was such a fan of Rex’s after The True Meaning of Smekday (one of the funniest books I’ve ever read, and sci-fi to boot!) that I feel doubly disappointed that I didn’t like Fat Vampire more. I had been looking forward to reading this book since I heard about it at the ALA Midwinter meeting in January when the publisher ran out of galleys. Perhaps the anticipation was just too much? I also think a big part of Rex’s appeal in his other work comes from his incorporating illustrations to compliment the text, something conspicuously absent from Fat Vampire. The cover art does rock, however.
As a non-“Twihard”, I wanted a vampire book that makes fun of vampire books, but Rex’s offering ended up being less of a parody than I had hoped. So now I am hitching my vampire-mocking wagon on another book I saw on Readergirlz, Bloodthirsty by Flynn Meaney (New York: Little Brown Books for Young Readers/Poppy, 2010), a book about a boy who pretends to be a vampire to get girls. Here’s hoping it goes over better than Fat Vampire.