44. Vampire Academy – Richelle Mead
The design of the movie version of this book is excellent; especially the color choices for the marketing materials and the soundtrack. It’s very process red and neon green and that’s great for what it is – a so deep it’s shallow friends and vampires story with some sex and violence.
It’s easy to tell that Mead did some significant mythological research and I feel like maybe she researched traits for sassy heroines as well… The connections in teen novels are often built on life or death overdramatics, and in Vampire Academy they didn’t feel earned to me. I still don’t entirely buy Rose’s devotion to Lissa, in part because Lissa felt like a total cipher of vampire royalty to me and also because I don’t buy Rose. Maybe all vampire royalty are total ciphers. Maybe all sassy teenagers who are full of themselves just don’t work for me, even though I did enjoy Holden Caulfield when I read Catcher in the Rye (which might have a lot to do with the writing and angst being palpable instead of told…). In the film I didn’t buy Rose and Lissa’s relationship either, even with emotional facial expressions. In the book, I felt like I was being told a lot of emotionally significant to the narrative things by a narrator who wasn’t actually capable of accessing their vulnerability (even without knowing it, like so many good narrating characters), so it just didn’t ring true- which is one of the problems with the YA boom. Don’t write down to teenagers.