Brewer, Heather. The Slayer Chronicles: First Kill
Release date 20 September 2011
This book recounts the story of Joss, Vladimir Todd's archnemesis. Joss has an okay life-- he's invisible at school, but loves his family, especially his little sister. When she is killed by a vampire whom only Joss sees, his parents detach from him, making him invisible at home, too. Joss' uncle Abraham, however, knows that Joss must be a Slayer and needs to be trained. He's not thrilled, because he doesn't think Joss has the chops to actually kill vampires. After moving around and training for three years (which is not described in the book), Joss goes to a Slayer training area in the woods. Abraham continues to put obstacles in Joss' way, but another trainer, Sirus, tries to make things easier. Also making things easier is Sirus' daughter, Kat, to whom Joss starts to form an attraction. The training, and dealing with family, are tough, but not as tough as living with the death of his sister and realizing that in order to avenge her death, he will need to become a killer. But how close is the danger? Even those close to Joss are not without danger!
Strengths: I am reviewing this early because all five of the Eighth Grade Bites books are checked out, and I'm going to have an essay contest to win this ARC before the book comes out. It will be very popular.
Weaknesses: This was surprising. There was some action, but it came very late in the book and was not very graphic. This is fine with me, but the fans of Shan's Lord Loss do like their gore. Joss was rather... namby pamby. There was one interaction with Kat when the two of them squee about collecting bugs. Um... geek much? I was expecting something more like Henderson's Alex Van Helsing. Alex would mop the floor with Joss. I was hoping that this series would put readers in the akward position of liking both the vampires and the Slayers, realizing that things can be more gray than black and white. This didn't happen. Again, students won't mind, but I was kerflummoxed.