By Dr. Meg
For fans of Ann Rice’s vampire novels, Ellen Schreiber’s Love Bites may be lightweight, but for teenagers yearning for BFs, it may be just right. The high school heroine obsesses over her best friends, repeating that word at least once on every page. The vampire hero proves his honorable intentions by NEVER biting the heroine, in spite of the title.
That is not to say that risky behavior receives no attention here. The hero’s BF shows up uninvited, and he falls in love with the BF’s BF, so vampires share adolescents’ fixations, at least in this book. The battle for individuality and creativity against mundane conformity draws together the least and most popular residents of middle America here, for consideration by all.
This novel may make readers wonder if the term “vampire” does not just serve as a cover for artists like the hero, as well as their admirers, like the heroine. The battle for artistic integrity enjoys a long and distinguished history in American literature, with ripe testimony by Ernest Hemingway, among others. As technology replaces hand work, this battle intensifies.
Love Bites amply illustrates that those seeking popularity above all may have their work cut out for them when confronting individuals with vampires’ determination to go for blood. The trappings of the vampire genre, including deteriorating mansions, wine cellars, garlic, and coffins for sleeping and retreat, will make every vampire fan feel right at home.
The idea that vampires have standards, and those standards may exceed the obsessions of community creeps’, will also appeal to idealists of every stripe. The novel’s characters prove both likable and recognizable. Ellen Schreiber does not hype confrontation; she seeks resolution of social conflicts, and, for that ideal, she, too, deserves encouragement and praise.