Review: Jane Jones: Worst. Vampire. Ever.

Jane Jones: Worst. Vampire. Ever. by Caissie St. Onge . Ember, an imprint of Random House. 2011. Review from ARC from publisher.

The Plot: Meet Jane Jones. Mild mannered high school student who is secretly a vampire! A mild mannered vampire, that is. If you think being a vampire means you’re one of the cool, rich kids? Think again. Jane’s not rich. She’s pretty average. Moving all the time to keep her secret identity from being discovered means she has no real friends. She got vamped along with her entire family, so she is forever their protected, teenage daughter even though she really is decades old. And worst of all? She’s allergic to blood. No, really.

The Good: St. Onge offers an over the top, humorous look at vampire cliches. It takes an average girl and shows that, after becoming a vampire, she is … still an average girl.

Vampires are rich? Meet Jane Jones and family. Decades ago, before being turned into vampires, her family was living in the Oklahoma panhandle. Combine the Depression with the Dust Bowl and you have a poor, starving family before they were vamped who become a — wait for it — poor, starving family afterwards. Jane and her vamped-at-ten brother always look young, never grow old, so her parents can never hold a job for longer than a handful of years. Otherwise, people will talk about the children who never age. This nomadic life doesn’t lend itself to any type of investments or career building. The Jones lived poor, died poor, and are living dead poor.

Vampires need blood? True. Because Jane and her family don’t want to kill, they have to find other means to get blood. In a way, they are still starving because they refuse to just go out and feed on people. Making it even worse is that Jane is allergic to all blood, except for a very rare, very expensive blood type. Since it’s hard to obtain, Jane can only drink a few sips at a time. Don’t even ask about the allergic reaction she has when she does drink most types of blood.

Vampires are cool? Some are…. but why would the cool vampire kids want to hang out with the poor vampire who can’t even eat properly?

When Jane learns about a possible vampire cure, all this comes into play. Jane would get to grow up! She would get to eat real food! She could develop real relationships! Maybe not be cool, but at least have friends. The downside? It’s expensive. If Jane goes pursues obtaining the cure, she may have to leave her family. Things get even more confusing, and her choices even more difficult, when Jane discovers something surprising about her family’s past.

If some of this sounds serious — trust me, it’s not! Or, rather, it is, but in the best possible way: the honesty and seriousness that is the best part of comedy and humor. If the appeal of the vampire is the exotic, and changing into something better and smarter and sexier, St. Onge reminds us: it’s not that easy. We are who we are.

Links: Caissie St. Onge is a comedy writer for television (I know! so cool!). Here’s an interview with the author by Jane Devin.

Edited to add: as pointed out in comments, I used the wrong last name for author. I apologize for my error.

and edited again for a big “thanks” for being understanding about the mistake and letting me know!