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Review: Night School

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Night School

Author: Mari Mancusi
Release Date: January 4, 2011
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Blood Coven Vampire Series, Book 5
ISBN: 978-0425240427
Genre: Young Adult, paranormal
Format(s): Paperback (256 pgs), ebook
I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review.
From the author’s website:
Vampires, Slayers and…FAIRIES? Sunny and Rayne McDonald are about to get SCHOOLED.
After their parents’ shocking revelation about their fae heritage and an attack on their lives, the McDonald twins find themselves on the run—forced to hide out at Riverdale Academy , a boarding school for vampire slayers, deep in the Swiss Alps. With no cells, no internet, and no way to contact their vampire boyfriends—the twins are on their own. 
Being a vampire stuck in a school full of slayers isn’t easy. Especially with no blood substitute stocked on campus. Soon Rayne finds herself succumbing to her bloodlust and losing control—especially around the arrogant, but devastatingly handsome Corbin Billingsworth the Third—who isn’t sure whether he wants to kiss her…or kill her. 
But when Sunny starts acting strange, Rayne realizes Riverdale Academy may be hiding some deadly secrets of its own—leading to a showdown in Fairyland that may cost the twins their lives. 
What B is talking about:
Rayne and Sunny McDonald have just found out that their hippie parents are actually Sidhe, or fairies. Not only that, but the twins’ mother is fairy royalty, and they are fairy princesses! The bad news is that Rayne is really a Goth vampire/vampire slayer working for Slayer, Inc. (but she only slays “baddie vamps”), while Sunny wants to live her life as a normal, human girl. When a band of fairies attack them and their parents, they escape and are hidden away in Riverdale Academy, a training academy for future slayers. They both miss their boyfriends, who are vampires, and Rayne is getting awfully hungry without the synthetic blood she depends on for survival. 
I don’t read many Young Adult novels, so this was quite a change from what I’m used to. Bearing that in mind, I had a surprisingly good time reading Night School. Rayne is a flawed protagonist who makes some very serious mistakes, but does her best to deal with the consequences. The events are often erratic, if not Disney World (literally) outrageous, but Mancusi somehow makes it work. I had a “You decided to ride the roller coaster; so you might as well sit up front and put your hands in the air” feeling through a lot of the story, most especially towards the end of the book, when the decisive battle is being fought.
In terms of age-appropriate themes, I believe Night School is suitable for teens aged 15 and above. Sex is mentioned, but none ever takes place in the story. There is some “making out” and perceived infidelity, but the latter is a case of either mistaken identity, in one instance, and survival in the other. There is also some mild language and trendy acronyms/modifications (“WTF” and “effing”), but nothing that isn’t common for the target age range anyway.
The fifth novel in the Blood Coven Vampire Series was good young fun to read, especially as Mancusi liberally pokes fun at more popular current vampiric phenomenon, but I don’t think I would have bought it to read for myself. The teenaged me, however, would probably have been hooked on the entire series, and would likely have enjoyed watching what happens when a strong young woman runs headlong into the reality of her own limitations while bravely defying the perceptions of those around her.
My Rating: 
Liked it a lot – recommend (B+)

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