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The Reformed Vampire Support Group Hardcover – April 20, 2009

4.1 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up—Nina Harrison has been 15 years old since 1973. That's because she is a vampire. She and the members of the Reformed Vampire Support Group break the mold when compared to the accepted vampire lore that has been around since the time of Count Dracula. They are not beautiful, strong, powerful, rich, or in control. Instead they are sickly, struggling just to stay alive, living on the blood of the guinea pigs they keep, and making the best of their affliction. They have vowed not to drink human blood or be responsible for the creation of another vampire. Nina hates her boring, uneventful life, which changes drastically when Casimir is staked and the group, realizing that the killer knows who and where they are, all move in with Nina and her mother, a nonvampire. With only a silver bullet as a clue to track the vampire slayer, Nina, Dave, and Father Ramon, who sponsors the group, set out on a dangerous journey. Along the way they rescue a werewolf from an illegal fight ring, deal with a villainous father/son team, and discover that their immortal lives might have more to offer than they ever thought. Support Group is truly like no other vampire story. It is witty, cunning, and humorous, with numerous plot twists and turns. Jinks has conjured up an eccentric but believable cast of characters in a story full of action and adventure.—Donna Rosenblum, Floral Park Memorial High School, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

It’s hard to get too involved in a cast of barely likable whiners and pathetic hand-wringers, but somehow that isn’t much of a problem in Jinks’ droll vampire send-up. These bloodsuckers are anything but sexy and mysterious, as here vampirism is a cross between a defining addiction and communicable disease; those infected spend most of their time being seriously ill and attending AA-style meetings with fellow sufferers. Nina, permanently arrested at 15 years old, can’t stand her fellow group members, but when one of them is found staked they all must work together to uncover the slayer before he can kill again. While readers might feel pushed rather than led through the plot, Jinks offers some wry vampire-centric twists on mystery conventions (having to repeatedly piece together what happened while literally dead to the world from sunup to sundown); and when the humor hits its mark, this can be laugh-out-loud funny. Most of the comedy, though, lies in the wide-angle skewering of support groups and fringe characters more suited to hemming and hawing than biting and sucking. Grades 8-12. --Ian Chipman
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 750L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (April 20, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152066098
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152066093
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,958,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

CATHERINE JINKS was born in Brisbane, Australia in 1963. She grew up in Papua New Guinea and later spent four years studying medieval history at the University of Sydney. After working for several years in a bank, she married a Canadian journalist and lived for a short time in Nova Scotia, Canada. She is now a full-time writer, residing in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales with her husband Peter and their daughter Hannah.Catherine is a three-time winner of the Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year award, and has also won a Victorian Premier's Literature Award, the Ena Noel Award for Children's Literature, and an Aurealis Award for Science Fiction. In 2001 she was presented with a Centenary Medal for her contribution to Australian Children's Literature.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I really hate to give this book three stars, because in many ways, it was excellent. Jinks has created vampire characters with severe limitations and obstacles to overcome, and she sticks to the rules she writes. I find this admirable, because a lot of authors like to wriggle their characters out of difficulties and into happiness with a little tweaking of their world's internal logic. Not so with Catherine Jinks. Her vampires fall unconscious instantly at sunrise and stay unconcious until sundown--no matter what they're doing, and no matter how much recap is required to explain all the action they've missed. Her vampires are weak and constantly nauseated (don't read this book with a sore stomach), so that walking up three flights of stairs can wipe them out completely. This drastically limits any action that might have taken place, so the pace is pretty slow.

The vampires are so weak, miserable, and limited that RVSG would be completely depressing if not for the general snarkiness of the main character. Nina has been surrounded by insufferable people for the past thirty years, and she's nearly reached her breaking point. I liked her, but she wasn't quite snarky enough to make this book consistently funny, and the world was so fully realized that the book didn't feel much like a satire either. I ended up feeling so sorry for the vampires that I couldn't really enjoy myself at their expense.

(I realize that this is pretty subjective, actually. Others might find the decrepitude of the vampires absolutely hilarious. I can speak only for myself in this regard.)

RVSG makes a great break from tales of traditional vampires who are rich, powerful, and gorgeous, but I'd have to say that (if done well) the traditional vampires are more fun to read about. Give this book a try, because it's imaginative and original, but don't expect a rollicking good time.
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Format: Hardcover
I was rewarding myself for having such a productive week when I bought this and boy oh boy is this a swell treat.

From the first page I was caught. No, not just by the clever turn of phrase and the hilarious lives these vampires lead, that's a given. I read Evil Genius and loved it too. No, it's the careful way that the characters are revealed and the absurd things they have to do to survive.

The plot is pure gold; Imagine going to a support group for thirty years. Thirty years of seeing and listening to the same small group of people talking about their problems. Now add to that someone who is permanantly in the body of a 15yr old and is the beneficiary of peptalks and advice about her situation; "you are in the denial stage of vampirism, etc."

At it's heart this is a mystery. In the grand tradition of mysteries (at least the ones I like), the heroine has several handicaps, not the least of which is that she lives at home with her mother and cant go outside during the day. She spends her time writing vampire adventure stories.

I don't want to give anything away, truly this is a book to be savored (I devoured it in two days, what can I say, I have no self control).
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Format: Paperback
"Vampires are meant to be so glamorous and powerful, but I'm here to inform you that being a vampire is nothing like that. Not one bit. On the contrary, it's like being stuck indoors with the flu watching daytime television, forever and ever." - Nina Harrison in The Reformed Vampire Support Group

I know what you're thinking. Vampires, they're beautiful, right? They're super fast, super strong. They even smell good. Hah! Think again. Vampires are pasty, pale and rail thin. They're feeble, easily tired, prone to headaches and they throw up a lot. They're weak - well, at least all of the vampires that Nina Harrison knows are. She was fanged at fifteen and for the last thirty odd years she's been a member of the Reformed Vampire Support Group. If there's a more pathetic collection of vampires anywhere on earth, Nina does NOTwant to meet them. Heck, she wishes she didn't have to spend any more time with the dull and depressing vampires she already knows. She does, of course. Every Tuesday night at support group meetings, probably for the rest of her unnatural existence.

Excitement comes into the dreary undeaths of the support group members in a most unlikely and unwanted form. When one of their members doesn't answer his door one Tuesday night, the group is horrified to discover he's been staked - and shot with a solid silver bullet. No one is mourning Casimir Kucynski, not exactly. He was responsible, directly or indirectly, for infecting every last member of the group. Still, no one wished him dead. And a vigilante slayer is a danger to all vampires, especially since he's been in Casimir's apartment and might have seen Casimir's address book.
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Format: Paperback
Summary: In Nina Harrison's world, vampires don't sparkle. They aren't the handsome vamps we met in Twilight. They're dead. Fanged at age fifteen in 1973, Nina has to attend weekly meetings of the Reformed Vampire Support Group. Sure, she enjoys Dave, a teen who was in a rock band before his untimely death, but the same can't be said for the meetings. That's when one of the members turns up dead and Nina, Dave, and co. go on the adventure of a lifetime searching for the killer.

Thoughts: I liked this cute little story. Over the course of the first few chapters, Nina, our first person narrator, tells us the truth behind all the common vampire legends, everything from the garlic to the rumor that all vampires live in luxurious mansions. In Catherine Jinks' world, vampires drink guinea pig blood and do, well, almost nothing for eternity. It was sweet and a punch in the face to Twilight. I, for one, liked that.

Characters: Nina was loveable, unlike several other female narrators in this YA genre. They can be Mary Sues, complete jerks, or just plain flat *cough*Bella*cough*, but Nina made me smile. I also enjoyed Dave's character, a distant love intrest. However, it seems like none of the other vamps were all that fleshed out, merely place holders and stick figures. They all could have been staked and I barely would have cared. As for the humans, they just didn't seem to get enough spotlight time for me honestly to get to know and love them. I would have loved to see a bit more of all the humans in this story.

Appropriateness: There was one big action scene close to the end. Not exactly graphic, more suspenseful than anything. Some mild language, but no f-bombs, and not much of the words they do use. No sexual scenes or dialogue.

Will I read it again?: Maybe.
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