The Vanquishers by Kalynn Bayron

Published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books

Summary:  Malika, nicknamed Boog, lives in a San Antonio neighborhood near her best friends Jules and Cedric.  They all agree that their parents are way too overprotective, acting as though vampires were not all wiped out during the Reaping that took place before they were born.  A new neighbor named Aaron seems to fit into their group perfectly, but his mysterious disappearance turns their lives upside down.  When Boog learns that Aaron’s been bitten by a vampire, she and her friends take matters into their own hands, trying to discover the monster that is most likely living among them.  The new school guidance counselor is the obvious choice, but some surprise revelations at the end change everything about the kids’ lives and seem to set the stage for a sequel.  288 pages; grades 4-7.

Pros:  I have a few books with heavier topics waiting to be read, but I opted for the vampire tale this week and am so glad I did!  I had trouble putting this book down, with its diverse cast of characters, excellent blend of middle school humor, and delicious creepiness that kept me turning the pages.  As a side note, I finally was grateful that my daughter urged me to join her watching several seasons of Buffy, which gave me some background knowledge of vampire lore.

Cons:  This made me break my vow, made many years ago, to never read another vampire story after finishing Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot

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