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by Pete Hautman

Published by Simon & Schuster, 2003
180 pages
ISBN: 0689850484

Ages 12-15

Sweetblood is the name Lucy Szabo uses when she visits the Transylvania Room, an Internet chat room for self-described vampires. Lucy scoffs at some of the participants, sure that they are merely blood-sucking wannabes, but one named Draco sounds convincingly real. Lucy has a theory about the origin of vampirism; an insulin-dependent diabetic herself, she postulates that many of the classic characteristics of vampires were based on the symptoms of untreated diabetes during the Middle Ages. Lucy feels misunderstood by her parents, is routinely angry, and hides her loneliness behind a wisecracking Goth fašade. She begins to disregard the constant monitoring her condition requires and ignores serious warning signs. Meanwhile, she meets the real Draco; he is the adult host at a gathering of Goth teens. Although the middle-aged man is clearly a social predator and not a "real" vampire, he handily manipulates Lucy by appealing to her obvious intelligence. After reaching a severe state of potentially fatal ketoacidosis, Lucy begins to gain a new perspective on her diabetes, but retains enough of her prickly attitude to stay credible. The concept of vampirism as an ignorant interpretation of diabetes is an ingenious idea, providing a solid base for this highly original tale. CCBC categories: Fiction for Young Adults.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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