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Throat Hardcover – January 25, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Seventeen-year-old epileptic Emma’s truly bad day ends with crashing her mother’s car and swimming to consciousness in the presence of a vampire intent on making her his next victim. She stops him before he kills her, but he threatens harm to her family if she doesn’t bend to his will. Rather than endanger them, Emma runs away and eventually decides to eliminate the threat—if she can. These are brutal, old-style German vampires, a far cry from the elegant Cullens of Forks. Emma’s first-person narrative shows someone who is all prickly warrior, and tender moments are too few and one-note to evoke much sympathy for her situation. There is imaginative and original vampire lore, a detailed setting, and even romance in the form of a lovely nerd to assist the female hero, but unless readers click with the characters, the slow pacing may tempt them to skip ahead now and then. Those who prefer their vampires closer to the black-and-white version (but without the camp) should check into Nelson’s world—and watch their throats. Grades 7-10. --Cindy Welch


The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, February 2011:
"Nelson offers...variation to the vampire YA heap with his pseudo-transformation epileptic chick, but even more interesting and memorable is the thoughtful exploration of the way logic and faith (in varying forms) can sometimes yield much more remarkable results than either alone."

Publisher's Weekly, February 14, 2011:
"Nelson (Days of Little Texas) proves that the vampire genre is not entirely sucked dry with this fast-paced adventure featuring an enjoyably flawed heroine...With a pseudoscientific take on vampires, a smattering of Germanic lore, and a strikingly unconventional showdown, this is a robust alternative to the forbidden love tropes of wispier vampire novels.", December 25, 2010:

"This is not your regular vamp fare, guys and gals. From the romance that is anything but trite, to the amazing science fiction aspects, you will find yourself FINALLY happy that a good writer wrote a very good vampire book. Enjoy!", February 19, 2011:
"I picked up a bit of German vocabulary as Emma's grandfather, Papi, and all the vampires speak the language; I was given an insider's view of what it's like to live with epilepsy; and I learned some things about vampires that I never knew before...THROAT is quite well-written, and I very much enjoyed reading it. I think you will, too.", March 1, 2011:
"This unusual supernatural thriller shines a different light on vampires."

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (January 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375867007
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375867002
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.9 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,877,879 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

R.A. Nelson is the author of the novels Teach Me, Breathe My Name, Days of Little Texas, and Throat. He was chosen a Horn Book Newcomer and his books have been nominated to the YALSA Best Books for Young Adults list and recognized by the Parents' Choice Awards, the New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age list, Booksense Kid Picks, the Miami Herald Best Books of the Year, Best Books of the year, and others. Nelson is also published in Germany and Hungary. He lives with his family in Alabama and works at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. Nelson is a recipient of NASA's prestigious Silver Snoopy Award for "outstanding support provided to the Space Shuttle program." Teach Me has been optioned by Protagonist Films for a feature film. Check out his website at

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 12 customer reviews
This book is very unique and original.
Amazon Customer
R.A. Nelson has created a memorable cast of characters in THROAT.
J. Blazanin
If you're a lover of realism, this book is for you, too.
Beck McDowell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By poet girl on January 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
It seems every bookstore has a table piled with vampire books that are all pretty much the same. This one looks like a vampire book, IS a vampire book, but it is also different in many important ways.
1. The writing is amazing. No poorly constructed, adverb-heavy sentences here.
2. Great pacing. No labored description of what it's like to be a vampire. The story is very plot-driven.
3. Main character Emma is not your usual vampire -- she has epilepsy, and that leaves her with all the amazing super powers but none of that annoying need for blood. Which makes for some interesting twists.
4. The love story feels completely real -- not contrived at all.
5. There's this whole inside-NASA theme that's fascinating. It actually makes sense that the events in the book could happen. A lot of thought and research went into this book.
6. It's not a popcorn read. Sure its subject is the ever-trendy vampire, but this book actually has meaning.
In short: another great read from gifted author R.A. Nelson.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Beck McDowell on February 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I'm gonna be honest - I finished this book sitting straight up in bed at 2 am, eyes racing down the page, heart pounding, butt-cheeks clenched, shaking fingers flipping pages like mad. R.A.Nelson is a master of suspense and the end of Throat will leave you breathless.

If you're a paranormal junkie, this book is for you. If you're a lover of realism, this book is for you, too. Nelson's main character, Emma, is a real-world gutsy girl dealing with the anxiety of epileptic seizures that isolate her from former friends, the terrifying fear of grisly violence that threatens the life of her sister Manda, and guilt over unwittingly drawing her new-found love, Sagan, into a nightmare that could lead to his death. It's great modern-day magical realism, with everyday events and people interwoven with the dark deeds of the "undead" and horrific attacks by gruesome creatures and hideous monsters - all told in a style that makes the story completely believable.

I love the contrast between the fast-paced, frantic attempts of Emma to build her defenses - physically and emotionally - against a terrifying Verloren vampire, Wirtz, and the touching plight of the Sonen, the "peaceful" vampires, who long for the healing powers of the sun while they engage in the Blood Hunt under cover of night.

Titles are important and this one is perfect. From the book: "'The throat is heilig. Sacred. The most sacred part of the body...the seat of the voice...I could feel your words, your voice, with my fingers as much as I could hear them with my ears. Second, even more than the lips or the mouth, the throat is also the seat of love, passion. There are those who say that the kiss was invented because the throat was too tempting, too dangerous.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. Meegan VINE VOICE on January 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Everything about this book bucks many of the current trends of the latest paranormal YA books: the heroine is ballsy, tough, resourceful, brave; the vampire is the polar opposite of Edward Cullen in every way possible; the male lead/sidekick is a good looking, smart, and sensitive (human) nerd; the plot is fast-paced, intense, intelligent, incredibly well researched, and very clever.

Female YA authors take note: it appears we needed a male to remind us what a strong YA heroine could look like. Emma, in spite -- or because -- of her epilepsy, is a courageous yet vulnerable young woman who faces life's challenges head on. She doesn't always make the best choices (see first two chapters)...but she always attempts to do the right thing in the end. Emma doesn't spend a lot of time fixating on her appearance or her clothes...nor does she attempt to hide her real, and sometimes abrasive, personality from the male lead. She's refreshingly honest and decisive.

As for the story, what a ride! This book ditches all the angst and drama that seem to be par for the course with many YA paranormals these days in favor of action, adrenaline, and a hefty dose of sheer terror. Yet there are still plenty of sweet moments between Emma and her family and the male lead. The descriptions of Emma's seizures, her dawning realization of her situation, and the horror that is Wirtz are simply fantastic.

If you like your stories intelligent, action packed with strong heroines, lovable heros, and truly frightening bad sure to give Throat a try.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Blazanin on February 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
R.A. Nelson has created a memorable cast of characters in THROAT. Viewpoint character Emma's tendency to be stubborn, impulsive, and mouthy is offset by her courage and love for her family. Sagan, the young man who works at NASA, provides a steady counterpoint to Emma's headstrong race toward danger. Vampire Wirtz is unadulterated evil--bloodthirsty, relentless, and single-minded in seeking revenge against Emma and her family. The not-to-be-missed climax will have readers turning pages at lightning speed.

Highly recommended!
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Format: Paperback
This was a decent but flawed teen vampire tale. I'll lay out the pros and cons below:

PROS: The writing is a bit better than average for YA fiction. It certainly starts well and doesn't waste any time getting into the heroine's head and racing off to the first vampire attack.

Having a strong heroine who does smart, logical things in her own defense is a refreshing change from the weak, mopey, helpless kind that populate a lot of YA fiction (I'm talking about Bella from Twilight, Rhine from Wither, etc.). Although not a fan of vampiric super-speed, I still enjoyed her resourceful of thieving clothes and equipment from the mall and local stores as well as setting up her lair's defenses.

For me, the best part was that the author tries (more or less successfully) to create his own unique take on vampires and their powers, including some metaphysical concepts that I found interesting. However, he tries to make it all explainable by science and that was a bit of a turn-off.

CONS: The author loves to show off his knowledge of the NASA facility (where he works) and astronomy, but I don't care about math, space, or science, so I found it annoying and boring. Plus, having the love interest be named after "Cosmos" host Carl Sagan was too clever to be believable and I hated hearing the heroine call him "Sagan," over and over. Frankly, as soon as I read it took place mostly at a NASA facility, I almost didn't want to read it. The location was too unique and yet not all that interesting. The book could have been set anywhere, so why pick a place that most readers have no clue about? It makes it harder to imagine. Everybody understands an abandoned factory, but not an abandoned test silo or whatever it was supposed to be.

The book needed tighter editing.
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