Friday, April 8, 2011

Blue Bloods, by Melissa De La Cruz

Blue Bloods, by Melissa de la Cruz. New York: Hyperion, 2006. 302 pp. ISBN 0786838922

Schuyler Van Alen has just found out that she's a vampire, along with many of the annoying popular kids at her school.  Along with the special abilities that this bestows come new dangers.


Nonconformist Schuyler Van Alen, the last of the line in a distinguished family, is being raised by her distant grandmother, Cordelia, due to the fact that her mother has been in a coma for years. Schuyler and her best friend Oliver are definitely not part of the in crowd at their small private Manhattan school. Yet this year, at the age of fifteen, she learns that she is inextricably linked to arrogant Mimi Force and the rest of the popular set. Schuyler finds out that she is, like them, a Blue Blood, a vampire. In the world that De La Cruz has created, being a vampire includes several innovative aspects, including possessing great strength and having flashbacks to past lives. The early years of being a vampire, called the twilight years, are when Blue Bloods are at their most vulnerable to attack. And now things are especially dangerous, as a vicious sub-group of vampires called the Silver Bloods begins hunting the young Blue Bloods one by one…  This is the first title in the Blue Bloods series.

This first installment of the Blue Bloods series is much more enjoyable than I'd expected, mainly for its suspense, the reflective moments of characters like Schuyler and Bliss, and in particular the mystery surrounding Schuyler’s mother.  Schuyler is a strong female protagonist, who is believable though, and is not immune to normal teenage issues such as her crush on Jack Force and her sometimes selfish behavior in her friendship with Oliver.  I enjoyed De La Cruz's unique vision of vampires, as she notes that they are fallen angels who are trying to prove that they are worthy enough to be admitted back into Heaven.  This idea of vampiric integrity contrasts with the negative public perception of vampires.  This sends a strong message to readers about not blindly believing rumors/commonly-held beliefs about the behaviors or motivations of people or groups in society. My only critique of the novel is that a couple of Schuyler’s responses to new information seem automatic and not really thought out on her part, which is not in keeping with her overall character. However, I would definitely recommend this novel to teens as an entertaining and interesting read.  What some may find controversial about this novel is its references to violence and sexual intercourse, but these are by no means the focus of the story.

This book could help teens who, like Schuyler, do not have close/loving family members around to provide support or who have low self-esteem.  It will hopefully make such teens realize that they have much more strength and ability inside them than they know.

I love New York and the cast of characters sounded really intriguing. 

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