When the Mayflower set sail in 1620, it carried on board the men and women who would shape America: Miles Standish; John Alden; Constance Hopkins. But some among the Pilgrims were not pure of heart; they were not escaping religious persecution. Indeed, they were not even human. They were vampires.The vampires assimilated quickly into the New World. Rising to levels of enormous power, wealth, and influence, they were the celebrated blue bloods of American society.
The Blue Bloods vowed that their immortal status would remain a closely guarded secret. And they kept that secret for centuries. But now, in New York City, the secret is seeping out. Schuyler Van Alen is a sophomore at a prestigious private school. She prefers baggy, vintage clothes instead of the Prada and pearls worn by her classmates, and she lives with her reclusive grandmother in a dilapated mansion. Schuyler is a loner…and happy that way. Suddenly, when she turns fifteen, there is a visible mosaic of blue veins on her arm. She starts to crave raw food and she is having flashbacks to ancient times. Then a popular girl from her school is found dead… drained of all her blood. Schuyler doesn’t know what to think, but she wants to find out the secrets the Blue Bloods are keeping. But is she herself in danger?
When I reviewed Frozen a few weeks ago, I mentioned a theory that stated that that book was pretty much a product of her husband, and that her name was on the cover to boost sales. Not knowing whether that was true, I decided to give this series a look and the author a second chance in the name of open-mindedness. Now that I have read both, do I still believe in this theory? Yeah. I do for a couple of reasons. Where as Frozen was half-baked, Blue-Bloods feels very fleshed out. The author clearly knew what she wanted to do and seemed to have spent at least some time figuring out how to get there.
More telling though, are the stylistic differences. Frozen had what most readers would feel like is a perfectly acceptable level of description: we get detail when it’s needed but we’re not bombarded by it. Here though? If you cut back on the needlessly overdone descriptions, you’d probably lose 20% of the final word count. Everything here is over described: clothing, hair, food, buildings, rooms. You name it and you probably know more about it than you’d ever care to. All authors have a certain style to their writing and even if it varies a bit from book to book (especially if they are jumping between young adult and adult) these two books are just too opposed to each other. The description in Frozen comes off as Spartan by comparison. That, and the differences in the world building lead me to believe these were not written by the same people. Whatever the collaboration was, she was almost assuredly not the one behind the keyboard.
So that out of the way, how do I feel about this book?
On the one hand, it is technically a better book than Frozen. As I said, she has some unique ideas and the world, though I can’t say I want to be a part of it is pretty well fleshed out. It’s just a same that it’s fleshed out with people that I would go out of my way to avoid. Even the alleged protagonist Schuyler (and I say that because this book is clumsily split amongst at least four different points of view) has moments of being an absolute bitch to her friend Oliver who really didn’t deserve it. Yes, she overall is one of the least shallow characters of this novel, but there isn’t enough of that to counter the way this book revels in valuing material wealth and a super narrow description of beauty that even Schuyler, whose clothing style may not match the norm for the school, manages to meet.
So much of this book talks about four-thousand-a-pair jeans and Chanel this and Prada that. If you’re poor? Sucks to be you. If you’re anything other than a blond, tall waif, you’re not pretty and you’re not going to be a model in this universe. Furthermore, the author has an obsession with variations of the phrase “eat whatever she wants but never gains an ounce” that I saw it at least a dozen times. I legitimately began to wonder if the author herself wasn’t weight obsessed herself. It was really disturbing, and this focus on such a generally unobtainable ideal of beauty really bothered me. I know that this unrealistic, but I’m well past my high school years and more than secure enough in my sense of self that I can see this for what it is. The problem is, I’m not the audience for this book. This book is aimed at Young Adults, a period when a lot of girls struggle with things like weight and appearance. I can really see this book putting a whammy on a girl already in trouble and I really wish she’d toned it back.
It’s kind of a shame that the author is so focused on things that are unobtainable to most. There were some good ideas in here that could have really shone had she let them. But no, she was more obsessed about finding just the right black cocktail dress to go with her string of pearls and it shows.
Verdict: Skip it. Good ideas are buried beneath an over-abundance of superficiality. Some editing might have done wonders for this book.