4 Rated Books Book Reviews

Book Review: Bloodthirsty by Flynn Meaney

Title: Bloodthirsty

Author: Flynn Meaney

Genre: Contemporary YA

Publisher: Poppy
Publication date: October 5 2010
Paperback: 240 pages

Stand alone or series: it can be read as a standalone but I think there will be a sequel.

Some vampires are good. Some are evil. Some are faking it to get girls.

Awkward and allergic to the sun, sixteen-year-old Finbar Frame never gets the girl. But when he notices that all the female students at his school are obsessed with a vampire romance novel called Bloodthirsty, Finbar decides to boldly go where no sane guy has gone before-he becomes a vampire, minus the whole blood sucking part.

With his brooding nature and weirdly pale skin, it’s surprisingly easy for Finbar to pretend to be paranormal. But, when he meets the one girl who just might like him for who he really is, he discovers that his life as a pseudo-vampire is more complicated than he expected.

This hilarious debut novel is for anyone who believes that sometimes even nice guys-without sharp teeth or sparkly skin– can get the girl.

Why did I read the book: I saw the cover and tagline, thought it would be a fun book.

How did I get this book: I picked up an advance reading copy at Book Expo America in May.


Finbar Frame got what he perceives to be a sorry lot in the family’s genetic pool: he is plain, awkward, emotional, geeky, allergic to the sun, all of which combine to make him unpopular and teased at school. His twin brother Luke on the other hand, got the cool name, the good looks, the sportive gene and is popular with everybody, above all with girls. So, Finbar sick and tired of being teased, sick and tired of being lonely and observing how teenage girls seem to be so into vampires lately, decides he must pretend to be one: he will act mysterious, he will pull what he thinks is a “Vampire Attitude” and then he will be popular and he will get a girlfriend.

I will just cut to the chase and say that I suffered a severe case of irritation reading Bloodthirsty.

I picked it up because it sounded good, like it would provide me with a few hours of fun. Just look at the premise: a boy called Finbar, who is geeky, not popular, or handsome and who decides enough is enough and makes the decision to ride the crazy Vampire wave and pretend to be one to get girls. It sounds ludicrous, right? But the sort of ludicrous with a lot of potential if handled well. Unfortunately I don’t think Bloodthirsty did.

It started well enough, the writing is competent and the main character’s voice, at least to start with, was inviting. There are some truly funny sequences like the one where he is kissed by a girl and at first he thinks she is giving him CPR; or when he tried to pull the Edward Cullen smouldering eye stare and was offered a Pepto.

This premise is an interesting one because it makes fun of a current trend while at the same time serving as a metaphor: the main character believes he needs to go through a transformation, he thinks he needs to be someone else in order to be accepted. It is of course, a story about loving oneself and accepting you for who you are.

But that is not all that this is. The premise is also a problematic one because it implies that girls are gullible and cannot tell reality from fiction. That would be ok, if it was something that the character believed or simply did not think through and as the douchebag (because a guy who thinks that he needs to lie to get girls, is a douchebag) that he is it, which would make sense. HOWEVER, Finbar is not presented as a douchebag, he is not even presented as a flawed character (except for a couple of things he realises in the end) , he is presented as the hero. The fact that some of the girls DO believe that he IS vampire, even though he puts little to no effort into pretending to be one (which is strange in itself since this is the premise of the book, but the story keeps wavering), is quite frankly, insulting.

But that is not all that irritated me. Oh, no. What irritated me the most was the nature of the bullying in the book, how Finbar reacted to it and how the story does not address it at all. Basically Finbar is bullied by some of the guys at his former school and at his new school by being called a “fag”. People tease his name (“Fagbar”; “what kind of gay name is that”) , tease him for the things he does or does not do. His response is to want people to stop calling him gay. He won’t tell his parents for example that he hang out with another boy because it would give “the wrong impression”. He needs a girlfriend because if he has a girlfriend no one can call him gay.

Finbar doesn’t seem to have a problem with the bullying itself which is of course, a bad thing, he has more of a problem with what he is been bullied for because in this book, “gay” is clearly an insult. It is used as an insult, it is taken as an insult and no one says anything to the contrary, or thinks anything to the contrary. There are no consequences, no resolution, no evaluation, no nothing. This is just a part of the story that is simply there and goes away when Finbar gets a girl.

Newsflash: “Gay” is not an insult. And it bothered me that it is treated as such without any further consideration by any of the characters or addressed at all in the story.

I am pretty sure someone will say, as usual that I am a humourless reviewer that takes things too seriously. But I am a firm proponent of the CRAZY* idea that words matter. That words in a book matter a lot. That words in a book for teenagers matter exponentially more. Given the current situation of the world, where kids are killing themselves for being bullied like this, I think this is even more crucial and I wish that the book had addressed it somehow.

All that and I have yet to mention how everybody who is not like Finbar (bookish, sensitive, emotional) is sort of vilified in this book. I think it is super awesome to want to show that kids that like books and geeky stuff and are not popular are cool too but why vilify the other side, the popular kids, the kids who like to party (especially girls?). Finbar behaves like an asshole when he finds out the girl he likes used to party a lot and hook up with guys, but everything is forgiven when she explains she was not “really” like that, she was just pretending, she really is just like Finbar: geeky. Boy, the more I think about all this, the more irritated I get, so I will just stop here.

I hoped the book would be fun and clever but it turned out to be a disappointing, empty gimmicky book. And would you like to know how much of a gimmick the idea really is? At the end of the book, the author sequel baits us by making the twin brother start pretending to be a werewolf to get a girl.


Notable quotes/Parts: I will just skip this one.

Rating: 4 – Bad

Reading next: Four and Twenty Blackbirds by Cherie Priest

*ETA: I deleted the word “crazy” after the comment left below.

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  • Amy
    October 20, 2010 at 3:59 am

    GREAT review! I didn’t even mention the two things you mention that angered you so much, probably because I just couldn’t even get in to the book enough to see it. You are right though – the fact that the girls believed him was disgusting, and the way he was teased and why he wanted a girl so bad was also ridiculously stupid. Oh, and the girl… and how he won’t talk to her and her parents treat her poorly because of what happened in her past? Yeah, that was problematic and pissed me off too. Sigh.

  • Ceilidh
    October 20, 2010 at 4:15 am

    Great review. This was one of the problems I had perceived having with this book. It’s a fun premise, especially during a time when so many of us are suffering from vampire fatigue, but why do the girls have to be so gullible and the butt of the jokes? And using ‘gay’ as an insult is never acceptable. We’ve got to do better people.

  • katiebabs
    October 20, 2010 at 4:16 am

    Does sound like a great premise for a book, but badly delivered.

    Guy thinks if he gets a girlfriend he won’t be bullied and perceived as gay?

    Pisses me off to no end that called gay or a fag, or someone considered to be gay is an insult and a young boy would be teased by it. Rage has grown because of the recent events over the past few weeks 🙁

    So this bullying wasn’t addressed at all by the end?

  • Kate Shaw
    October 20, 2010 at 6:55 am

    Excellent review. It’s a shame about the book, which I was kind of excited about. I thought it would be a fun, light YA romance and in the hands of the right author it could have been. Thanks for bringing up the issues you did. I definitely don’t want to read a book that treats ‘gay’ as an insult, doesn’t deal with bullying issues, and assumes girls are gullible and/or stupid.

  • Carol
    October 20, 2010 at 8:28 am

    Actually there are stupid teens out there who believe in vampires (and think they’re one) and are drinking each other’s blood. http://bodyodd.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/09/24/5166992-love-bites-teens-stop-sucking-each-others-blood-or-youre-grounded

  • Danielle
    October 20, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    Well, I don’t really know if the whole “gay” thing was really meant to come off like that. I know it’s definitly not an insult, but, like, 85% of straight teenage boys think it is. So maybe the author was just, you know, trying to get in the characters head…?

    I’d like to say you’ve detered my interest, but really, I’ll still buy the hardcover when it comes out. I’m a sucker like that.

  • SylviaSybil
    October 20, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Wow, that’s effed up. I have the same problem you do, trying to explain why I don’t mind when the characters are prejudiced but I do mind when the book is. It’s an important distinction but difficult to explain. And you’re absolutely right, words matter. It’s not “just one joke” or “just one book”, it’s a piece of a pattern of bigotry and disrespect that needs to be overturned, one piece at a time.

  • La Coccinelle
    October 20, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Oh, how disappointing. I thought this looked like a cute read.

  • kay
    October 21, 2010 at 1:03 am

    What a great review! I, too, am a member of the crazy club who thinks words matter! I don’t think I would enjoy this one based on the couple of reviews I have read, and your only reinforced that feeling.

  • Ana
    October 21, 2010 at 3:41 am

    @ Amy – yes, quite depressing right?I hate double standards for boys and girls.

    @ Ceilidh – I don’t know why, but it angers me so. I know it angers you too.

    @ KB – nope, not addressed at all in any way.

    @ Kate Shaw – thank you.

    @ Carol – that is pretty scary. 😯

  • Ana
    October 21, 2010 at 3:46 am

    @ Danielle – there is a difference between one character behaving one way and several characters behaving like that without so much as an exploration as to why.

    I do not mind characters being prejudices when it fits the book and the story, when it has a POINT. For example: in Gentlemen by Michael Northrop, MC is homophobic and says exactly the same things that are said in this book, however, it fits his life, because he is a character who lives in ignorance. By the end of the book though, there is a conversation about it.

    Similarly: Fly on the Wall by E. Lockhart – a character is bullied just like in this book by being called a “fag”. By the end of the book, another character confronts the bully saying it is not cool.

    This is a HUGE issue, and I want it addressed in the book in some way. Because when a book presents something like this to me, I want to know WHY it is there. If it serves no purpose, to me, it is a problem with the BOOK not the characters. I can not stand this in real life, I will not stand it in a book.

  • Ana
    October 21, 2010 at 3:50 am

    @ Sylvia – You said:

    I have the same problem you do, trying to explain why I don’t mind when the characters are prejudiced but I do mind when the book is

    OMG yes, that is the hardest thing to convey correctly and clearly. Sometimes, I feel like I haven’t done it and it is frustrating. 😥

    @ La Coccinelle – I thought so too, was so excited about it!

    @ Kay – Thank you! I wonder how many members this club has. We should make a sign or something: WORDS MATTER TO ME. 😆

  • Meg
    November 23, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Personally I really liked this book a lot. It was cute and funny, and in the end the main character realizes that he doesn’t have to pretend to be someone he’s not to get friends. Also I don’t think it was showing girls as gullible at all, after all his girlfriend Kate never fell for it at all. Jenny did, but she was very into fantasy characters.
    Additionally, the character is a teenage boy, so the whole “gay” thing isn’t really an issue until you blow it out of proportion.
    Come on now, it wasn’t really that bad. :]

  • Ema
    January 13, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    i love this book!!!! 😆 🙄

  • jillian
    April 7, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    The book is fucking goodi think tthat because i am a VAMPIRE so suck it 😀

  • Anonymous
    May 18, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    its because younger teenagers understand the fun of it. its a made up story, get over it perhaps ? 😕

  • Mariyah.
    August 22, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    Bad review. This book was ok, not great but ok. Yes it was a little predijuce. But i disagree with everything you had to “review”. Why do you people even take your time to review a book you don’t even like. That right there just says something about each & every one of you who had to review this while you were disaproveing of everything. I rather liked this book. MY OPINION. I’m spending my time reviewing because I do so like this book.

  • Anonymous
    November 29, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    Hate the review.This was an amazing book with many twists and turns. This book wasnt prejiduce to women, its actually funny some said that because the author is in fact a young women. The story also shows an important moral, you shouldnt pretent to be someone your not to get friends or a girlfriend/boyfriend.

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