Adult/High School-"Think of a jigsaw puzzle," Ariella Montero writes in her journal. "Even when it isn't assembled, the pieces scattered in the box contain the picture." Ariella is 13 and very sheltered. She is homeschooled by her father, a scientist, and lives in a large Victorian house. Ariella wants to know all about her mother, who disappeared when the girl was born, and about the world and where she fits into it. Through Mrs. McGarrit, the housekeeper, she meets other teens and starts questioning her own lifestyle. Going to the library with Mrs. McGarrit's daughter, Ariella finds the Internet, and the answers to her questions lead her into danger. It seems that the Monteros are vampires. At least Mr. Montero is, and now it is more important than ever to Ariella to find her mother. How she solves the mystery of her family's unhappiness, as well as how to cope with her own feelings and problems, form the plot. This is a solid story of a girl coming of age, wanting her family to be together, and wishing to belong to something. The author doesn't use supernatural elements as a crutch, but instead they enhance an already strong narrative.-Dana Cobern-Kullman, Luther Burbank Middle School, Burbank, CA Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
"Susan Hubbard writes with icy precision and a kind of close-focus attention to detail that is too little in evidence these days. In her work, she always gets it right.... Marvelous." -- Frederick Barthelme
Identity issues involving a child of mixed heritage get a supernatural spin in this affecting coming-of-age tale. Ariella Montero's mother vanished the day she was born, leaving her to the care of her overprotective scientist father, who homeschools her and limits her contact with the outside world. Only when she reaches adolescence does Ari discover that her special diet and insular home life set her apart from her peers. Her father's confession that he was vampirized shortly before marriage, and that Ari can choose whether to be undead like him or mortal like mom, set her off on a road trip that eventually brings her to her mother and into an understanding of tough truths about her family. Hubbard (Walking on Ice) delineates Ari's world of innocent and uncertain adolescence with uncommon poignance and forgoes sensationalism for sensitivity in her depiction of vampirism as one of many emotionally charged challenges Ari faces as a child of estranged parents. She doesn't do much original with the vampire theme, but the novel's open ending suggests inevitable sequels where this may develop further. Author tour. (May) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Vampires can, too, be kind and sensitive. Ask half-vampire, half-human 13-year-old Ariella Montero. From an award-winning author of literary short fiction in the mood for a romp. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.