Thursday, June 13, 2013

Review: Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side (Jessica, #1)

Goodreads Summary: The undead can really screw up your senior year ... 
Marrying a vampire definitely doesn’t fit into Jessica Packwood’s senior year “get-a-life” plan. But then a bizarre (and incredibly hot) new exchange student named Lucius Vladescu shows up, claiming that Jessica is a Romanian vampire princess by birth—and he’s her long-lost fiancé. Armed with newfound confidence and a copy of Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire’s Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions, Jessica makes a dramatic transition from average American teenager to glam European vampire princess. But when a devious cheerleader sets her sights on Lucius, Jess finds herself fighting to win back her wayward prince, stop a global vampire war—and save Lucius’s soul from eternal destruction.
Goodreads / The Book Depository

Genre: Young adult, paranormal
Pages: 351
Publisher: Harcourt
Hot I Got It: Purchased physical copy

First Line: "The first time I saw him, a heavy, gray fog clung to the cornfields, tails of mist slithering between the dying stalks."

Favorite Quote: "Yes, America expanded westward! Is it not logical, given that the Europeans settled on the eastern shore? What else were they to do? Advance vainly into the sea?"


This is kind of one of those books that I saw getting popular back with it first came out; many good reviews were popping up in the book community, and yet I continued to overlook it. I didn't even both to read the summary very closely. I was that certain I would dislike it based on the cover and title alone. In my defense, the title is a little misleading. It's different and makes the reader think that the book will be a light, quick vampire story. It was completely by chance that I saw it at a little used bookstore and decided to examine it more closely. To my great surprise, it actually sounded kind of interesting so I sat down and read the first few chapters. I continued to like it, so I bought it and stayed up half the night to finish.

There was something seriously addicting about this novel; I never wanted to put it down, always very eager to see how it would end. So I guess I could say that my favorite thing about Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side would be the pacing. It's not on the short side, nor is it particularly long; rather, it tells exactly what it needs to and ends at a satisfying point. Though I did like how it ended, I'm still very excited to pick up the sequel and see what the author has in store for these people.

Honestly, I loved Jessica's character. She was just a normal teenage girl in the start of the book, and of course she evolves by the end - what with finding out she's a vampire princess and all - but at the same time, she remains much the same in many ways. She reminded me a little of Meghan from the Iron Fey series; she, too, found out she was a princess (a faerie one, but still). Both of them grow up on a farm, as well. Jessica did have moments here and there where she acted kind of stupidly - though she stands up to her love interest a bit, she doesn't do it often enough.

Lucius (I just recently learned how to pronounce his name, by the way) immediately had my attention from the first time he showed up. Of course, the reader is already aware of what he his and his purposes, but he changes throughout the book almost as much as Jessica does. He bounces back and forth between one extreme to the other, and I kind of felt like he should have a big hug. The chemistry with Jessica (a.k.a. Anastasia) definitely wasn't lacking; there are some steamy moments here, and they were well written and much appreciated. And the letters he writes to his uncle are hilarious. Fantaskey's version of a vampire was interesting. I like the way she built her world with the royalty aspect, but at the same time, I'm confused about how the undead can have children (but then, I'm still confused about that aspect of Twilight, so.).

I wasn't extremely fond of the side characters - I've heard that Mindy starts narrating some of the time in Jessica Rules the Dark Side, and I have to admit that I was none too thrilled with that. She was an okay character, but I'm not so sure I want to see the story through her eyes. I did, however, enjoy the relationship Jessica had with her parents, and the conflicts brought about by Faith and Jake. I was pretty surprised by the  novel took towards the end - I don't want to spoil anything, but I'll say I was surprised that who I thought would be the main villain of the book turned out not to be. Overall, I'm just going to go with the classic saying - don't judge a book by its cover (or its title, for that matter), because I'm really glad I picked this up.

4 stars

Books in this series: 

1. Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side
2. Jessica Rules the Dark Side

Other Opinions: 

Supernatural Snark
Characterized Book Reviews
Read Now Sleep Later


  1. Lol I looved this book! The whole stabbing his foot with a pitchfork made me laugh soo much!!! There's a 1.5 on the author's website, you should totally check it out(: I thought it was amazing!! Great review,

    1. Thanks! Yeah, that part was pretty funny too, lol. I started the free short story! It's pretty cute so far.

  2. Glad this book surprised you in a good way-I wasn't that into it myself but vampire books rarely work for me so that's understandable.

    1. I can see why you feel that way - vampire books normally aren't my cup of tea, either.