From School Library Journal
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Mari Mancusi used to wish she could become a vampire back in high school. But she ended up in another blood sucking profession—journalism—instead. Today she works as a television news producer for the NBC station in Boston and has won two Emmys for her work. As if writing and TV producing weren't enough to keep her busy, Mari also enjoys snowboarding, clubbing, shopping, 80s music, and her favorite guilty pleasure—video games. She lives in the Boston area with her husband and two dogs.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Sunshine and Rayne
You know, being bitten by a vampire one week before prom really sucks. On soooo many levels. Okay, fine. I'm sure it'd be equally sucky at other times of the calendar year as well. Photo day at school, for example. Bad time to sport a two-hole hickey on your neck. Easter would blow too—imagine trying to explain to your mom that you can't attend sunrise service because, well, you're allergic to the sun. And then there's Christmas. Sure, you'd sport a good chance of running into Santa, but could you resist the urge to snack on his jolly old jugular?
Now that I think about it, there just ain't a good time to be bitten by a vampire.
That said, you gotta understand. Three hours, twenty-five minutes, and thirty-three seconds ago JAKE WILDER asked me to prom! I mean JAKE WILDER, people! The hottest guy at Oakridge High School. The heartthrob leading man in every school play with soulful, deep brown eyes and drool-worthy bod. Every girl I know is officially In Love with him—even Mary Markson and she's practically married to her boyfriend, Nick.
But, I ask you, who did the Sex God in question ask to the senior class prom? Uh, yeah, that would be moi. Seriously, if you had asked me three hours, twenty-five minutes, and thirty-TWO seconds ago whether Jake Wilder even knew my name, I'd have bet my iPod he hadn't a clue. (And it's a darn good thing I didn't make that bet, 'cause a day without twenty gigs of music at my fingertips is like a day without sunshine.)
That said, I can't tell you what a total and utter bummer it is to be slowly morphing into a vampire one week before the big event.
I'm getting ahead of myself here. Since you don't have a clue as to who I am, you probably don't care all that much about my imminent Creature of the Night transformation. (Mom always says I have the worst manners known to mankind, so I apologize in advance for my shortcomings.)
So okay, all about me for a moment. My name is Sunshine McDonald. Yes, Sunshine, and if you think that's bad, I dread to introduce you to my identical twin sister, Rayne. I know, I know, Sunshine and Rayne—it makes you a little sick to your stomach, doesn't it? Well, you can blame our cruel, ex-hippie parents who (hello!?) grew up in the disco era and should have been hanging out at Studio 54, dancing the night away, instead of at the Harvest Co-Op broiling tofu. But, sadly, no. They preferred peace, love, and stupid baby names to hot dance tunes and bling.
Of course, these days Dad's probably driving around in a hot red sports car while picking up honeys in Vegas. He left Mom to "find himself" about four years ago and has remained lost ever since. We occasionally get guilt-ridden birthday cards with the sincerest apologies and a crisp fifty-dollar bill stuffed inside, but that's about it. I miss him sometimes, but what can you do?
Anyway, back to me. I'm sixteen years old. Five foot four, average weight, dirty blond hair. I've got muddy brown eyes that someday I'm going to hide with blue contacts and a billion annoying freckles that don't fade no matter how much lemon juice I squeeze on them. Mom says I got the freckles from Dad's Irish side of the family. Dad says I got them from Mom's Scottish ancestors. In any case, Rayne and I were cursed in the womb by the bad gene fairy and can't do anything about it.
At school I do okay—an A/B student usually. I like English. Abhor Math. Want to be a journalist when I "grow up." I play varsity field hockey and have twice tried out for the school play, mostly to be up close and personal with Jake Wilder. I have now twice ended up as Heather Miller's understudy and the stupid girl is never sick. I'm talking winning-the-perfect attendance-award-two-years-running never sick. To add insult to injury, she also has big boobs and throws herself at Jake on a daily basis.
But anyway, I'm sure you're much more interested in the whole vampire thing than Heather Miller's chest. (Though you should see it—she looks like freaking Pamela Anderson!) Basically, the trouble all started when Rayne decided to drag me to a Goth club.
Now for the record, I'm so not into Goth music or that whole scene AT ALL. Not that I'm a Britney lover, of course. I guess you could consider me a Norah Jones, Liz Phair type of girl. But Rayne, on the other hand, is a full-fledged Goth chick. If I ever saw her wear anything but the color black, I would seriously fall over in shock and awe. She listens to all this bizarre music that you'd never hear on the radio and loves dark, twisted movies that make absolutely no sense. For example, she's seen Donnie Darko fifty times and can quote seventeen Buffy episodes by heart. When a new Anne Rice book comes out, she camps overnight to be first in line to buy it. (Even though there are plenty of those sicko books to go around, trust me.)
So anyway, two days ago Rayne tells me she saw this flyer at Newbury Comics for an all-ages Goth club up in Nashua, New Hampshire—about twenty minutes from where we live on the Massachusetts border. It's called, if you can believe it, "Club Fang," which has seriously got to be the most cheeseball name on the planet. Rayne, on the other hand, is so excited, I'm half convinced she's going to pee her pants. (Or her long, black skirt, to be exact—the girl wouldn't be caught dead in pants.) And because, as she reminds me, I've known her since birth, it's evidently my twin-sisterly duty to give up any Sunday night plans I might have had to go with her, since all of her friends are too busy.
Goth Me Up—Bay-Bee
"Give me one good reason why I should go tonight."
It's Sunday evening, five p.m., and I'm desperately trying to get out of the big Club Fang outing my sister's got planned for us. I'm not holding out much hope, though. After all, it's a proven fact in life that what Rayne wants, Rayne gets. Period. End of story.
Rayne rolls over from a lounging position on her four-poster bed, props her head up with an elbow, and gives me her best pout.
"Quit your whining. It'll be totally fun and you know it. Besides, I went to see Dave Matthews with you and you can't possibly imagine how painful that was for me to endure. My ears still haven't recovered."
My identical dramaholic rubs her lobes with two fingers, as if they're still causing her pain. Puh-leeze.
"Whatever." I shove her playfully, and she falls back onto the mattress. "As if it's a chore to hear that dreamy voice."
"Chore, no. Cruel and unusual punishment worse than death? Now you're getting warmer." Rayne jumps up from the bed and makes a beeline for her closet. "So you're going. It's decided." She rummages through the hangers, face intent. "Now we need to find you something to wear."
"Oh no you don't!" I cry. "I may be forced to go to this stupid club, but I'm so not undergoing some extreme Goth makeover. There's nothing wrong with what I have on." I stand up and model my tank/jeans/flips combo, which has always served me well.
Rayne turns to look at me for a second—long enough to give me a once-over and roll her eyes—then turns back to her closet. She pulls out a long black skirt and black sweater.
"I'm not wearing a sweater to a nightclub," I protest. "I'll sweat to death!"
"Fine. Jeez. It was just a thought." She crams the outfit back into the overflowing closet, exchanging it for a black (surprise, surprise) tank top. Now while as a rule, I'm totally a tank top type of girl, I tend to stay away from ones made out of vinyl.
"No effing way." I shake my head. "People will think I'm into S&M and start trying to whip me or handcuff me to the stage or something."
Rayne emits her patented sigh of frustration at my protest, but thankfully returns the bondage outfit to the closet. I, in turn, sit back down on the bed and wonder whether I should be concerned that my twin owns an outfit like that to begin with.
"How about this?" she asks. She pulls out a very cute spaghetti tank with the words Fashion Victim written on the front. "It seems rather appropriate."
I throw a pillow at her.
"Only in the most ironic of ways, of course," she amends with a giggle. "Or, there's always this one." She exchanges the tank with another—this one pink with white writing that says Bite Me!
"Where'd you get that shirt?" I ask curiously. "It doesn't seem like your type of thing. It's not even black."
She shrugs. "Some vampire let me borrow it a while ago. I keep forgetting to give it back."
"Vampire?" I raise an eyebrow. While I knew Rayne ran with a different crowd, I hadn't realized they fancied themselves creatures of the night. "We're swapping clothes with the undead now?" I guess that would explain all the black.
Rayne snorts. "I just borrowed a T-shirt, smart-ass. But for the record, yes. There's like this whole group of them in Nashua. They look like Goth kids, but they're really members of an ancient vampire coven."
"You've got to be kidding me," I groan. "Why would anyone want to pretend to be a vampire anyway? Like why is that so cool? Do they go around drinking each other's blood or something?"
Rayne gives me a noncommittal shrug, which tells me she actually thinks it is cool, but isn't about to admit it to me. I ...