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Night Road Hardcover – May 20, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up—Jenkins has created a taut and compelling reimagining of the vampire legend, with well-developed characters that transcend horror-novel cliché. When Cole is summoned to the Building in upper Manhattan, he's not sure what to expect, having spent decades away from the place. While other hemovores relax in one of the few safe havens available to their kind, the austere and self-sufficient Cole prefers the freedom of the open road, despite the obvious risks: the difficulty of attaining one's next meal, the necessity of hiding one's true identity, and, of course, a little problem with sunlight. The reason for Cole's presence at the Building soon becomes clear when Gordon, an inadvertently created heme with a bad attitude and a dangerous lack of experience, nearly kills a young woman in an overzealous feed. Heme leader Johnny asks Cole to take Gordon out on the road, where he can be trained in the skills he'll need in his new lifestyle, away from the too-easy comfort of the Building. Success is paramount: it simply isn't prudent to have an uncontrolled blood-drinker on the loose, and should the effort fail, Gordon will have to be disposed of. The plot is suspenseful and well paced, with hints of romance as Cole's worries for Gordon call up dark memories of his own past. A surefire hit for vampire-loving teens.—Meredith Robbins, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis High School, New York City
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The author of Printz Honor winner Repossessed (2007), about a demon’s jaunt to high school, returns to the dark fantasy genre with this intriguing novel set among “hemovores” (blood-drinkers who eschew the term vampire). Though this offers plenty of visceral writing about the thrill of taking “feeds,” Jenkins’ primary focus is on the relationships among three male hemavores on a road trip rather than on the sensual romance typical of YA vampire fiction. Intended as an opportunity for old-timers Cole and Sandor to mentor Gordon, a deeply traumatized new “heme,” the journey serves as a metaphor for quintessential themes of male coming-of-age, especially the struggle to tame primal urges. However, the characters’ emotional breakthroughs occasionally feel forced, and although all three are outwardly young adults, the greatest emphasis falls on neurotic, world-weary Cole rather than on Gordon, the character to whom teen readers may feel the strongest connection. Still, Jenkins achieves a thematic depth unusual in YA vampire fiction, and her focus on guy cameraderie may draw boys to a genre more typically read by girls. Grades 8-12. --Jennifer Mattson

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen; 1St Edition edition (May 20, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060546042
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060546045
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.2 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,744,806 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jamieson Villeneuve on May 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Cole is a hemovore.

A blood drinker, he must avoid the sunlight and feed off the blood of omnivores. Unable to die, they lead a meager existence, going from one meal to the next.

That changes for Cole when he is called back home. Home is really a safe house, a house where the hemovores can live and feed in relative safety. There, he finds Gordon. Newly created by Sandor, Gordon is young and unable to accept his condition, unable to accept the "disease" that runs through his veins.

Sandor and Johnny ask Cole to help Gordon, to help him acclimate to his new lifestyle. Cole agrees, taking him on a road trip so that he can learn how to fit in, how to feed, how to live as a blood drinker.

On the road, Gordon eases into his new lifestyle but things go wrong when they meet a hemovore who likes to murder omnivores for fun. Gordon balks and goes on a hunger strike, trying to ignore a Thirst that may eventually kill him.

And Cole? Cole is forced to examine everything he is, everything he does. He is forced to examine what is good and what is evil. But then something happens that changes his life forever...

Night Road by A. M. Jenkins is a thrilling read and a welcome retelling of vampire mythology. It breathes new life in to a tired genre and manages to create it's own mythos, it's own rules.

Instead of super human vampires, we are given a portrayal of those who are merely succumbing to necessity, who bleed and hope and dream like us. Gone is the ideal of the all powerful vampire. Instead, A. M. Jenkins gives us something a lot more human.

Night Road is not only thrilling, it's an emotional and super charged race to the finish.
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Format: Hardcover
Cole isn't quite like most hemes--as in hemovore, one who devours blood. The soft life of those living in The Building in New York City, with willing omnis offering their blood in exchange for the high feeding gives them, makes him uneasy. But he's drawn from his solitary lifestyle when the leader of the hemes asks him for a favor. Cole's friend, Sandor, has accidentally created a new heme, and it's up to him and Cole to teach Gordon about the "disease" he must now live with: how to feed, how to avoid detection, and how to control the mind-warping Thirst.

Cole, Sandor, and Gordon set off on a cross-country road trip, easing Gordon into his new life along the way. As Cole overcomes his frustration with Gordon and starts to feel sympathy for him, a long-buried guilt from his past starts to rise to the surface. When the trio encounters a stray heme with murderous tendencies, and Gordon goes on a hunger strike in an attempt to refuse accepting his condition, Cole finds himself questioning everything he thought he believed about himself and about what it means to stay human.

NIGHT ROAD is a dark, thoughtful novel that will draw readers into its mysterious and often dangerous world. Its take on the vampire mythology is fresh and layered. Despite his predatory nature, Cole is both easy to relate to and likable in his doubts, his respect for the omni humans on which he feeds, and his attempts to do right by those around him without risking too much of himself in the process.

Jenkins doesn't shy away from tough issues, like what might happen to hemes when they appear to be dead, whether they have souls, and how someone doomed to forever watch life passing in and out of existence around them can keep some semblance of humanity. The characters and ideas will stick with readers long after they've set down the book. Highly recommended, even for those who think they couldn't bear to read one more "vampire" book.

Reviewed by: Lynn Crow
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Format: Hardcover
Three "hemovores" (don't call them vampires!) go on a road trip to teach the newest member of their ranks, young redneck Gordon, the finer points of how to survive.

Johnny, the leader of the hemovores, runs a safe house for blood-drinkers in Manhattan. He insists that Cole, who is quite a loner, take on the project of helping new hemovore Gordon adjust. Gordon is having enormous difficulty accepting and dealing with matters, longing to reconnect with his family and girlfriend, and has a lot of trouble seeing past his small-town hickish ways. Cole and Gordon are accompanied by fellow heme, Sandor, who provides comic relief. Light-hearted and jolly ambisexual Sandor is accidentally responsible for having created Gordon after a mugging. Cole, on the other hand, is tightly wound to a degree that would make Felix Ungar look sloppy. Events unfold that help Cole come to terms with unfortunate mistakes made when he himself was newly transformed.

The vampires -- excuse me, hemovores, must avoid sunlight and must drink human blood fairly frequently. Typically, they are able to hypnotize their victims, and quickly draw a small amount of blood, enabling them to feed without killing. When being taught how to pick suitable targets, Cole and Sandor despair of ever making a proper hemovore of Gordon. Gordon insists on taking unnecessary risks, gravitating to cute girls, even when more likely targets are available. My favorite scene is when Sandor begs Cole to get Gordon a dog - to cheer him up, to make it easier to start small talk with humans (aka omnis), and of course, if he gets desperate, he can always eat the dog! There's a very dark and twisted humor at work here.

While I love a good series, Night Road is a stand-alone book, with a highly satisfying ending, but the door could easily be open for a sequel. The writing is tight, with well-thought out characters, pacing and plot. I enjoyed it enormously.
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