Drain You by M. Beth Bloom
To be published on July 24, 2012
Source: e-ARC provided by the publisher through Edelweiss.
My summary: Quinlan "Quinn" Lacey is a 1990s L.A. princess, an only child who sulks her way through shifts at the video store and torments her co-worker Morgan with her skimpy outfits and her refusal to acknowledge his infatuation. She's spoiled and bored, the VJ of her own MTV universe. One night after work, she spots a classmate, Naomi Sheets, crying by the side of the road. But when she meets James, Naomi's mysterious brother, Quinn has finally met her match. He's frustratingly unavailable, enigmatically aloof. But no one denies Quinn anything, so she sets out to have him. She doesn't even care that he's part of a sinister world of the undead.
My take: Words I never thought I'd say in a YA review: I think you might have to be over the age of 30 to fully appreciate this book.
In the marketing copy on my ARC, Drain You is pitched as Twilight meets My So Called Life. While I do see the parallel between the Angela-Brian relationship in MSCL and the Quinn-Morgan one in Drain You, I'd call this book The Lost Boys meets Heathers. Like Heathers, Drain You is a black comedy. It wittily skewers overly permissive modern parenting, 80s slasher movies, and girl-meets-vampire stories, among other things.
Main character Quinn is quite the piece of work. More Rayanne than Angela, she's gloriously self-centered, eager to keep Morgan slavering over her while simultaneously wrapping vampire James and his non-vamp brother Whit around her little finger. Quinn's relationship issues may not be entirely her fault -- her affluent parents raise her with benign neglect, communicating with her through cheery, passive-aggressive little notes as they social-climb their way through the L.A. party scene.
I enjoyed Drain You so much that I didn't even need a plot, but there is one involving a pair of evil vampire twins, hilariously nicknamed "the Spaders" by Quinn. The Spaders are vampires by choice who enslave Quinn's best friend Libby, necessitating a somewhat farfetched kidnapping plot and a gruesomely comic scene involving drain cleaner that comes straight out of Heathers. Remember that? "It's one thing to want someone out of your life, but it's another to serve them a wake-up cup full of liquid drainer."
I will have to accept the fact that not everybody may get this book. Me? I could have read it forever. Kurt? Dave? Flannel? Heshers? Discman? Sassy magazine? Nine Inch Nails? If you're nodding, you're probably with me in that over-30 demographic. If not, it's not your fault you're so young. One day you'll be reminiscing like this about Justin Bieber and Katy Perry.
Under 30's, I want you to love this book as much as I did, so here is my...
Helpful 90's Glossary for the Tragically Young
Discman: crappy successor to the Walkman and precursor to the iPod. Played CDs. Not that portable and skipped like crazy.
Drain You: a 1991 Nirvana song from the album Nevermind. In the category of 90s Vampire Themed Songs, I prefer "The World is a Vampire" by Smashing Pumpkins.
Hesher: Mulleted, acid-jeans-wearing metalhead. You know, like Wayne and Garth on Wayne's World? Oh, never mind.
Overly permissive parenting: Kids, I am here to tell you that there was life before helicopter parents. Some moms and dads who came of age in the 60s practiced hands-off parenting. Looking back, it seems kind of awesome.
Sassy magazine: 1990s era magazine aimed at indie-alt teen and twenty-something girls everywhere. R.I.P.
Spader: person reminiscent of ubiquitous 80s/90s smirking, pastel-wearing preppy movie villains played by James Spader.
Video Store: place you went on weekend nights to rent movies on VHS. This was before DVRs, video on demand, Hulu, etc.
VJ: video jockey -- the newly minted celebrities who played and introduced videos on MTV. Martha Quinn -- remember her? Downtown Julie Brown? Carson Daly? Is anyone with me here? Sigh. I'll just go sit in my rocking chair now.