Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side is a teen fiction novel by Beth Fantaskey and it was released on 18th January 2010 in paper back. The book is 351 pages long. Jessica is really looking forward to her senior year, especially since one of the hottest guys in school has been paying her some attention over the summer. This happiness doesn't last long though because a dark, mysterious, Romanian teenager, Lucius, shows up and seems to be extremely interested in her. When Jessica tells her mum about the creepy guy, she demands to know who and where he is, obviously knowing something about what is happening. After her mum invites Lucius over for dinner, Jessica is less than impressed but is assured that everything will be explained.
Jessica was adopted when her birth parents in Romania were in trouble and was previously called Anastasia. This, Jessica already knows but Lucius informs her that she in fact a vampire princess and they were betrothed at a very young age. The marriage is apparently a huge deal back in Romania and it will cause a war if it doesn't happen but Jessica is having a hard time believing any of this, especially any of the vampire parts.
I really liked Jessica. It isn't very often that I immediately like the heroine but there was nothing really that I disliked about her. She is actually the most sensible character that I have discovered in a book of this genre so far. She is very into anything that can be proven, especially maths, so the idea of vampires really makes her laugh. For a long time, even knowing her really family's background and heritage, she can't believe in vampires at all, not even for a second. Jessica doesn't like Lucius from the very start and is determined to make him see sense but that isn't exactly easy he lives in the garage. I loved how strong she was to show Lucius that he didn't need to fight her battles. Although it was quite obvious that she would eventually fall for him, she didn't lose her best attributes in the process.
Lucius for me was a little too fake at times. At the beginning of the story, he is so obviously different and is not used to American culture which makes him quite funny at times, especially in the letters he writes to his uncle. Although he reiterates how bad American society is, he changes and fits in much quicker and better than I had expected him to. Towards the end, he seems to lose most of the things that I loved about him as he acted like a lot of the other guys in the story. His quirks and mannerisms were what made him so likable. Overall though, he was an interesting character that brought a lot of excitement and passion to the story.
The author manages to incorporate a couple of really good lessons into the story without overpowering the main plot. They are actually quite subtle and I only really realised them after I had finished the book. It is really great that a book like this can try to teach young girls to be happy with their bodies and not aspire to be a size zero. This, as well as waiting to have sex with the right person were two things that really stood out to me in a good way.
I don't really agree with the title being what it is. The book isn't a guide to dating at all and the story isn't about that at all really. Lucius gives Jessica a guide about vampires at one point but that doesn't really have anything to do with the title. Although the title is what initially grabbed my attention, I was left a little disappointed when this wasn't what the story was about.
The story itself was quite exciting, with something going on pretty much all of the time. It is extremely fast paced which kept me interested the whole way through. I really liked the way different characters were brought in at different points to break up the monotony of just Jessica and Lucius. Their relationship certainly isn't smooth sailing and this was an aspect that I really enjoyed. There is a part about three quarters that makes you really wonder about how the story will end and I didn't see the ending coming after that. The twist was written extremely well and because of this, it was one of my favourite parts.
I don't really think that this is your average vampire story compared to others around at the minute but in a really good way. This one was so much better than a lot of the stuff that I have read recently. The vampire aspect isn't totally in your face so I would think that a lot more people could be into this book.