Book Report: Our highly scientific analysis of a book, from the characters to the writing style to the swoon. See More...

What’s Your Take On Cassavetes?

Jenny took a stroll down memory lane with M. B. Bloom's Drain You.

What’s Your Take On Cassavetes?
Reading this book was like being transported into the world of The Lost Boys, and let me tell you, that is a pretty nice place to be.

BOOK REPORT for Drain You by M. B. Bloom

Cover Story: Like It
BFF Charm:  Oh Lord, No 
Swoonworthy Scale: 6
Talky Talk: Your Retro Career
Bonus Factors: The '90s, Traditional Vampires*
Relationship Status: College Reunion Hookup

Cover Story: Like It

I actually really think this cover is pretty, and oddly enough, I didn't see it and think "vampire book", like a normal person. I thought, "Nirvana song and a jello mold!"

The Deal:

Quinlan Lacey's life is fairly boring -- her rich parents are way too interested in themselves to pay much notice, and her coworker at the video store is way too interested in her. That's all before she meets James, the older brother of her not-friend from school, Naomi, and falls for him in less time than it takes to listen to Nevermind, and finds out that there is a seedy side to her town. There are bad guys roaming around, killing innocent girls. Her best friend has turned into the love-slave/juice box for one of the them, and there's more to James than meets the eye.

BFF Charm: Oh Lord, No

Quin is the quintessential (see what I did there?) prototype for the manic pixie muse, my least favorite type of girl there is. Except here's the thing: the fact that this book is set in the '90s, before the MPM became a thing, makes her a little more palatable, and feels a bit more original than those who came after her. I remember when I was girls like her, with my her snarkier-than-thou inner monologue and penchant for wearing days-old eyeliner smudge and nighties for clothing. So, like many things in the '90s, I have a soft spot for her. BUT, I would keep my BFF charm as far away from her as possible, because girl, put some pants on! And wash your face! That shit will make you wrinkle! Also, I know you're a teenager, but stop jerking Morgan around. Yes, he needs to get a life, but that doesn't excuse you for totally using him as a constant ego booster.

Swoonworthy Scale: 6

Okay. Here's the thing. Twilight exists, making comparisons inevitable. And I'm no exception, because as I was reading this, I started to get all judgey, asking questions like, "WHY, exactly, are James and Quinn in love after only a few days?". However, I was a fan of the vampire WAAAAY back, and before the egregious phenomenon that is the aforementioned book, I never did that. I mean, it's a vampire story. Vampires are supposed to be mysterious and dangerous and sometimes alluring. Did I ask why Buffy fell for Angel right off, even though he was stalking her? Or why Michael fell for Star? No, I did not. So, thanks in no small part to the skillfulness of Bloom's writing, I chose, instead, to go back in my mind to a time when vampires roamed nighttime California, drinking from hapless victims, only sparkling if you count catching on fire in the sunlight. So that helped. A lot.

That said, I choose Whit.

Talky Talk: Your Retro Career

Reading this book was like being transported into the world of The Lost Boys, and let me tell you, that is a pretty nice place to be.  Having spent my whole life on the East Coast, that particular movie framed all of my opinions about the West.  I was just sure the enitre West Coast was all dry and desert and sunsets and bats and sexy runaway teenage vampires.  Bloom's prose is beautifully stark, and storytelling sucked me in and sped me along until its bizarre conclusion, even while I complained about the too-clever dialogue and poor choices made by the characters.

Bonus Factor: The '90s

Oh, the decade I graduated high school, started thinking for myself, discovered combat boots and vintage band t-shirts, sang along with "Who Will Save Your Soul" when it was only being played on the college station, mourned Kurt Cobain and River Phoenix, waited in line for The Phantom Menace, and fell in love -- many times -- but finally with the man who became my husband.  No wonder I can't quit you, '90s.

Bonus Factor: Traditional Vampires*

Vampires are dangerous! They drink blood from humans, not animals! They burn up in the sunlight! They aren't good people as a rule, and even the best of them are still ambiguous!  Hooray!

*Traditional in the '80s-'90s sense of the word.

Casting Call:

Well, I think my choices are pretty obvious...

 

Winona Ryder as Quinn

 

Brad Pitt as James

Relationship Status: College Reunion Hookup

I didn't want to go to my 10-year reunion. I didn't. But I was already in town for a work thing, so I figured, what the hell? And the next thing I knew, the whiskey was flowing and this book and I were holed up in a booth in the corner talking politics and literature and our feelings about the world in general. And it really took me back to a time when all of those things were new and raw, and I'll admit it: I reveled in it a bit. But I am older and wiser now, so while sure, we shared some sloppy kisses and a little groping outside, I returned to my hotel room alone.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from Harper Collins. I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). Drain You is available now.

Jenny Bird's photo About the Author: Jenny grew up on a steady diet of Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov and Star Wars novels. She has now expanded her tastes to include television, movies, and YA fiction.
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