Author: M. Beth Bloom
Genre: YA, PNR
Publication Date: July 24, 2012 (HarperTeen – North America)
Source: Edelweiss review copy
Summary: Every night I’d lie there in bed and look out at the hills behind our house, listening. I knew there’d be consequences.
Actions meant reactions. Sunrises meant sunsets. My fear was too permanent, lasting longer than eyeliner, something I wore every day and didn’t wash off.
Quinlan Lacey’s life is a red carpet of weird fashions, hip bands, random parties, and chilling by the pool with her on-and-off BFF Libby. There’s also her boring job (minimum wage), a crushed-out coworker (way too interested), her summer plans (nada), and her parents (totally clueless). Then one night she meets gorgeous James, and Quinn’s whole world turns crazy, Technicolor, 3-D, fireworks, whatever.
But with good comes bad and unfortunately, Quinn’s new romance brings with it some majorly evil baggage. Now, to make things right, she has to do a lot of things wrong (breaking and entering, kidnapping, lying, you name it).
There’s normal, and then there’s paranormal, and neither are Quinlan’s cup of Diet Coke. Staying sane, cool, in love, and alive isn’t so easy breezy.
☆: 2/5 stars – an almost solid YA debut, but fell into the PNR insta-love trap.
Review: Okay, so this one is a tough one, guys. There’s a LOT I liked about this book, and then a lot of it just didn’t work very well for me. While “Drain You” is has a very dreamy, languorous style to it, the bigger parts of the plot just kind of didn’t ring true. But I can tell you one thing – if you’re a child of the 90s, this is a book you definitely have to check out.
The good parts: this book drips of pre-Buffy ’90s pop culture – video stores (with actual VHS tapes!), some of my favorite musicians (Bjork and Nirvana are mentioned), the fashion (OH THE FASHION), having to actually call people to talk to them, and so forth. Bloom does a fantastic job with plunging us back into that time period and really made me long for it (even though I was 9 or 10 at that point). So the worldbuilding for this book was surprisingly top-notch. Bloom does a great job with sensory imagery and language to really bring us back into the 90s and all of its greatness (and horrors), and I was pleasantly surprised on that point, too, as it’s so very hard to accomplish. But Bloom did it.
What was also great was the character building for our MC and her best friends – but not so much for the love interest. I’m split on this one because there was a rather strong dichotomy between the stronger character building with the MC and her best friends – and then in regards to everyone else. It was rather painful to read, and disappointing when I saw the most important people (and their world) really, really fleshed out but everyone else feeling rather one dimensional. So when it came to character building as a whole, I felt like this book definitely needed at least one or two more drafts to clean things up and make everyone on even footing in terms of character development.
What wasn’t cool: the insta-love. While bringing vampires into a pre-Buffy culture seemed like an amusing idea, the insta-love definitely ruined it for me. From there, the plot fell into the trap that so much of the PNR genre (whether it’s YA or adult, it doesn’t matter) does – instant attraction and longing, usually ending up with one partner stalking another until the actual love action happens. And that’s when I kind of mentally checked out. I stayed with it until about 100 pages in, and then I just couldn’t take it anymore. The PNR trap just kind of sucked that dreamy joy out of it for me. I was done. Though I did sneak a peak forward to the zombie bit (which was fun), but the PNR trap had already done its damage by then.
So, as you can see, I’m really split. On the one hand, the style, the voice, and the worldbuilding were top-notch. On the other, the plot and the character building just didn’t really happen. And it seems like I’m not the only reviewer out there that feels this way – there was so many strengths in this book but the weaknesses really kind of started to outweigh them halfway in. It wasn’t complete crap, but it wasn’t even three star adequate, either.
But that’s just me, and I’m ridiculously picky. For fans of the PNR genre, I’d definitely recommend this. Either way, I suggest you give it a read to see where you stand regarding the plot versus the style. “Drain You” is out from HarperTeen on July 24, 2012 in North America, so be sure to check it out then!