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Fake Blood

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It’s the beginning of the new school year and AJ feels like everyone is changing but him. He hasn’t grown or had any exciting summer adventures like his best friends have. He even has the same crush he’s harbored for years. So AJ decides to take matters into his own hands. But how could a girl like Nia Winters ever like plain vanilla AJ when she only has eyes for vampires? It’s the beginning of the new school year and AJ feels like everyone is changing but him. He hasn’t grown or had any exciting summer adventures like his best friends have. He even has the same crush he’s harbored for years. So AJ decides to take matters into his own hands. But how could a girl like Nia Winters ever like plain vanilla AJ when she only has eyes for vampires? When AJ and Nia are paired up for a group project on Transylvania, it may be AJ’s chance to win over Nia’s affection by dressing up like the vamp of her dreams. And soon enough he’s got more of Nia’s attention than he bargained for when he learns she’s a slayer. Now AJ has to worry about self-preservation while also trying to save everyone he cares about from a real-life threat lurking in the shadows of Spoons Middle School.


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It’s the beginning of the new school year and AJ feels like everyone is changing but him. He hasn’t grown or had any exciting summer adventures like his best friends have. He even has the same crush he’s harbored for years. So AJ decides to take matters into his own hands. But how could a girl like Nia Winters ever like plain vanilla AJ when she only has eyes for vampires? It’s the beginning of the new school year and AJ feels like everyone is changing but him. He hasn’t grown or had any exciting summer adventures like his best friends have. He even has the same crush he’s harbored for years. So AJ decides to take matters into his own hands. But how could a girl like Nia Winters ever like plain vanilla AJ when she only has eyes for vampires? When AJ and Nia are paired up for a group project on Transylvania, it may be AJ’s chance to win over Nia’s affection by dressing up like the vamp of her dreams. And soon enough he’s got more of Nia’s attention than he bargained for when he learns she’s a slayer. Now AJ has to worry about self-preservation while also trying to save everyone he cares about from a real-life threat lurking in the shadows of Spoons Middle School.

30 review for Fake Blood

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kayla Dawn

    This was insanely adorable

  2. 4 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    Happy Halloween! My initial rating was 3 stars, but the middle grade reader (and two younger YA readers) in the house enjoyed it more than me and, well, they ARE the intended audience, so I'll bump it up to 4 stars for them. A fun/silly middle grades graphic novel about (initially) unremarkable AJ, who has a crush on interesting Nia, who happens to be a slayer. But initially he doesn't know this, he just thinks she is very interested in vampires, since they are teamed up on a project about Transyl Happy Halloween! My initial rating was 3 stars, but the middle grade reader (and two younger YA readers) in the house enjoyed it more than me and, well, they ARE the intended audience, so I'll bump it up to 4 stars for them. A fun/silly middle grades graphic novel about (initially) unremarkable AJ, who has a crush on interesting Nia, who happens to be a slayer. But initially he doesn't know this, he just thinks she is very interested in vampires, since they are teamed up on a project about Transylvania, so he tries to make her think he IS one. Oops. Then there are AJ's two competitive friends who sometimes help him. And a teacher, who it appears actually IS a vampire. How can this all be resolved so AJ can be friends with and not murder victim of Nia! And what to do about the vampire teacher?! How can AJ help Nia resolve this dilemma and not just be Boring Boy?

  3. 4 out of 5

    OpenBookSociety.com

    http://openbooksociety.com/article/fa... Fake Blood By Whitney Gardner ISBN: 9781481495561 Author Website: heywhitney(.)com Brought to you by OBS reviewer Caro Synopsis: It’s the beginning of the new school year and AJ feels like everyone is changing but him. He hasn’t grown or had any exciting summer adventures like his best friends have. He even has the same crush he’s harbored for years. So AJ decides to take matters into his own hands. But how could a girl like Nia Winters ever like plain vanilla http://openbooksociety.com/article/fa... Fake Blood By Whitney Gardner ISBN: 9781481495561 Author Website: heywhitney(.)com Brought to you by OBS reviewer Caro Synopsis: It’s the beginning of the new school year and AJ feels like everyone is changing but him. He hasn’t grown or had any exciting summer adventures like his best friends have. He even has the same crush he’s harbored for years. So AJ decides to take matters into his own hands. But how could a girl like Nia Winters ever like plain vanilla AJ when she only has eyes for vampires? When AJ and Nia are paired up for a group project on Transylvania, it may be AJ’s chance to win over Nia’s affection by dressing up like the vamp of her dreams. And soon enough he’s got more of Nia’s attention than he bargained for when he learns she’s a slayer. Now AJ has to worry about self-preservation while also trying to save everyone he cares about from a real-life threat lurking in the shadows of Spoons Middle School. (Goodreads) Review: This was such a fun book! Loved it. Fake Blood is a graphic novel filled with all of your favorite vampire references that come together to narrate the back-to-school story of sixth grader AJ and his friends. It has a very dynamic illustration and Easter eggs everywhere. One of my favorites is all over the book but you have to read it to see it and I especially loved it because it’s a very special book reference for me 🙂 Throughout the story AJ struggles to find the courage to talk to the girl he likes, to have something interesting in his life, and to find who he truly is without having to be what he isn’t. It’s a new school year and his friends encourage him to talk to Nia, the girl who knows everything about vampires. An opportunity arrives when AJ’s new British teacher teams him up with Nia for a school project. This gives AJ a reason to talk to Nia and eventually discover that they both share the same love for books which brings them together. AJ pretends to be a vampire and things start to change, but they don’t turnout so good when Nia has to kill him revealing herself as a vampire slayer. In Fake Blood we see AJ interact with different groups of people in his life. First there is his family, which consist of mom and his sister. His family sees his struggle and try to advise him the best way they can. Then there are his friends Ivy and Hunter who are just trying to make his life more interesting. And finally Nia and his new foreign teacher. One he tries really hard to get close to and the other one gives him the tools to know Nia better. All of these people help AJ’s new school year become more interesting and find that you don’t have to use fake blood to be cool. I loved the references and the character of Nia. when she revealed herself as slayer I couldn’t help but think of her as Buffy. She was really determined as a slayer. There are events that you see coming but they are still really funny once you read them. The illustration is also really good. I like when it’s flat colors and very little gradients. Fake Blood is a graphic novel for all ages, especially if you’re a vampire fan. It has funny moments, parody moments, and great twists. I had so much fun reading it and it was the perfect book to end the summer. Fake Blood is a must-read. Favorite Quotes: “I never really thought about how I would die. But dying at the hands of someone you love might not be the worst way to go.” *OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*

  4. 4 out of 5

    Hilda

    There are three things that I know about Nia Winters. One, she is the smartest girl at Spoons Middle School. Two, she's absolutely crazy about vampires. And three, even though I really like her and I'd try to catch her bus every day for the rest of my life so we could sit next to each other and maybe one day even hold hands or whatever...She has no idea I exist. This book was hilarious, and sweet, and the coolest. I loved the illustrations and all the characters. I love that he went to Spoons Mid There are three things that I know about Nia Winters. One, she is the smartest girl at Spoons Middle School. Two, she's absolutely crazy about vampires. And three, even though I really like her and I'd try to catch her bus every day for the rest of my life so we could sit next to each other and maybe one day even hold hands or whatever...She has no idea I exist. This book was hilarious, and sweet, and the coolest. I loved the illustrations and all the characters. I love that he went to Spoons Middle School, not to be confused with Forks Middle School. OMG the Twilight references were all sorts of amazing and so very funny. Moonlight!! Hahaha! It was kind of genius. The very obvious name changes, I mean. I thoroughly enjoyed this comic book. I fell in love with the town and the illustrations made it come to life. I then fell for each and every character big and small. Also, it was the perfect kid book. It had 11 year old playing in the playground and still being kids, big kids, but still kids. When they walk in the hallway and laugh at the tiny fifth graders, I laughed so loud. They were inches bigger. It was a wholesome, fun book and I loved it. Highly recommend to anyone especially middle school kiddos.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kiera

    Fake blood follows a young boy named Aj who really likes this girl named Nia, who is obsessed with vampires. In order to get her attention he pretends to be a vampire. Little does he know she's the vampire Slayer. Fake blood was a cute graphic novel. I loved the illistrations and the story. It was really ready to follow and I really liked the characters. Overall it was a quick fun read not the best graphic novel I've ever read but I really did enjoy it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

    AJ is starting a new school year, and all he can think about his the amazing Nia Winters. But how can he get a girl as amazing as Nia is to notice him? Nia's obsession with vampires leads AJ to an out-there plan: AJ will pretend to be a vampire himself. Little does he know, however, that Nia is not a vampire fan, but a committed slayer. This is a wildly fun graphic novel, with a delightful set of oddball characters and a zany plot.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    When you're in sixth grade, kids do all sorts of things to stand out or fit in like buying a new backpack, joining a club, or pretending to be a vampire to impress the girl who is clearly obsessed with them. This last one may be unusual, but it's the one that AJ chooses when he and girl-of-his-dreams Nia are paired up to do a project on Transylvania. Things go really start to go wrong when AJ learns that vampires aren't only real, but vampire slayers are real too! Gardner's debut graphic novel w When you're in sixth grade, kids do all sorts of things to stand out or fit in like buying a new backpack, joining a club, or pretending to be a vampire to impress the girl who is clearly obsessed with them. This last one may be unusual, but it's the one that AJ chooses when he and girl-of-his-dreams Nia are paired up to do a project on Transylvania. Things go really start to go wrong when AJ learns that vampires aren't only real, but vampire slayers are real too! Gardner's debut graphic novel works with themes of friendship and finding oneself to create the feel of a traditional coming-of-age story, but throws in fantastical elements to keep readers on their toes and laughing along the way. The story is carried by three-dimensional characters and smooth dialog. Each scene works to either progress the plot or develop a relationship so this hefty book flies by. It is worth mentioning that character relationships are not only developed, but developed in a positive manner; the best example of this is AJ and his sister who will quarrel but still show their love and support for each other at the end of the day. This type of role model is essential as stories will often depict sibling rivalry to be the norm. The story flows smoothly between ideas, refocusing attention from vampire investigation work to best friend fiascoes and then back again with ease as Gardner has a perfect marriage between illustration and text, conveying information more easily. The illustrations themselves are simplistic in design, but are given a great charisma by the characters and will easily engage many readers. If you thought Raina Telgemeier's Smile or Sisters needed more vampires... this is the book for you!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Danielle Villano

    Fake Blood is a funny and heartfelt graphic novel about friendship, identity, and yes: vampires. Gardner's snappy dialogue and colorful, exciting illustrations bring AJ and his friends to life. I especially loved the larger illustrated scenes where there was always a fun little detail to spot. Packed with funny pop-culture references to popular vampire series and characters, there's something here for diehard and casual fans alike. I'd certainly love to see these characters again! A fantastic ad Fake Blood is a funny and heartfelt graphic novel about friendship, identity, and yes: vampires. Gardner's snappy dialogue and colorful, exciting illustrations bring AJ and his friends to life. I especially loved the larger illustrated scenes where there was always a fun little detail to spot. Packed with funny pop-culture references to popular vampire series and characters, there's something here for diehard and casual fans alike. I'd certainly love to see these characters again! A fantastic addition to middle grade libraries.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nikki S

    Undoubtedly one of the cutest love stories and best graphic novels I've read. I LOVED this one and I really hope everyone else does too. Real review to come! **EDIT 01/05/19** You can find more of my reviews here at my blog: Take Me Away... Since graphic novels are so short, I'm not in the business of reading and reviewing them all the time. But with this one I HAD to because it was seriously so cute! So cute in fact that I have already asked two other librarians if they want me to send it to them Undoubtedly one of the cutest love stories and best graphic novels I've read. I LOVED this one and I really hope everyone else does too. Real review to come! **EDIT 01/05/19** You can find more of my reviews here at my blog: Take Me Away... Since graphic novels are so short, I'm not in the business of reading and reviewing them all the time. But with this one I HAD to because it was seriously so cute! So cute in fact that I have already asked two other librarians if they want me to send it to them! AJ is his same boring self after having the entire summer off. He doesn't like the feeling that being left behind brings. Especially now that he has a crush. He wants her to see him. But all she likes are vampires. Should he really have to change who he is before she falls for him? Especially when there's so much more going on at the school than they thought? By far, the best part of this was the characters. I LOVED AJ and I loved Nia even more. All the characters worked together to make this an awesome book. Everyone had their own purpose, comedic relief, love interest, protector, annoyance, etc. and for it to be a graphic novel, I was impressed in how developed all of them were. Some full length novels can pull off character depth and Gardner's art and her words put the picture together amazingly! The other thing I liked about this one was the nods to the library and Twilight. The library is a subtle one that some might not have gotten if they didn't participate in their summer reading program lol I thought it was really cute for her to add to the book. As for the Twilight references, I am still a fan of Twilight (the book, not so much the movies) but even I saw there was a bit much going on in that series and I find it super cute that this comic called those things out. In a really cute, really fun way. Lastly, I want to talk about the art. It was AMAZING. Her attention to detail is what got me the most. From the small lines that showed Nia's braids and her little beads that she wore on them were SO. CUTE. This may have been her debut in graphic novels, but definitely not in art. This was totally amazing and now I really want to see her doodles or something lol It was seriously that good. With graphic novels I rarely find any new authors or subjects I want to read. Lately I've been obsessed with Goldie Vance, Lumberjanes, and The Backstagers. I will now have to add Whitney Gardner to the list!

  10. 4 out of 5

    La Coccinelle

    Awful, awful, awful. I would actually recommend that people avoid this one. Why? Because it's creepy as hell, that's why. I thought this was a contemporary story. And it seems like it is for most of the book. Which makes it really bone-chilling when the love interest (yes, in a middle grade book; that part of the plot seemed too mature... especially when these kids are finger-painting at one point) suddenly tries, in all seriousness, to stab the main character. Then the book devolves into absolu Awful, awful, awful. I would actually recommend that people avoid this one. Why? Because it's creepy as hell, that's why. I thought this was a contemporary story. And it seems like it is for most of the book. Which makes it really bone-chilling when the love interest (yes, in a middle grade book; that part of the plot seemed too mature... especially when these kids are finger-painting at one point) suddenly tries, in all seriousness, to stab the main character. Then the book devolves into absolute stupidity, with the teacher turning out to be a real vampire who was planning on killing all the kids. (Luckily, the protagonist's 15-year-old sister pops out of nowhere to save the day.) I thought maybe this would be a book that showed the dangers of trying to change who you are to make someone like you. I just didn't think that it would show someone trying to kill you because you'd changed! Oh, and the cheap shot at the French was just the icing on the cake. I know it's an American pastime to throw shade in their direction, but come on. This is a middle-grade book. Should we really be encouraging our kids to make fun of other cultures? I'd give this zero stars if I could. Not even the pictures could save this one for me. The sooner I can get the taste of this one out of my brain, the better.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Constance

    Super fun! Definitely a blast for vampire fans. I love that it was set in Portland and there were lots of fun references to the city.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Krysti

    Adorable, fun, and full of references that will keep book lovers laughing out loud to the very end. FAKE BLOOD is an absolutely unputtdownable graphic novel for readers of all ages.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Melissa See

    I read this in one sitting! Adorable, heartwarming, and wholesome, with plenty of nods to the popular vampire culture I (admittedly) embraced as a teenager. A perfect read for fall!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    What a fun graphic novel!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Christy

    Well wasn’t this just adorable. Full review to come!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Gabrielle (Wishes she had more time to read)

    A not-so-average vampire book about a boy, a girl, crushes, youth, and friendship. This was so sweet and wholesome and I loved it. Review to come

  17. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    A hilarious, charming, and very real story about fake blood, crushes, and vampires.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Paul Hankins

    A nice mash-up of the coming of age story with a clear send up of the Twilight series. Perfectly-situated for that entering middle school reader navigating the changes that come with getting older and the transitions that come along with growth. Funny!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Brandy

    Great story about vampires and friendship, not your typical vamp story. Love it!

  20. 4 out of 5

    laura (bookies & cookies)

    The best Twilight parody ever. They go to a school called SPOONS Middle School.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Barbra

    This is a not so scary, funny, novel about vampires, school friends and crushes. When AJ starts the new school year he feels like his friends have changed but his boring life is still the same. Paired up with the girl he likes for a project on Transylvania, he realizes the only way she will notice him is if he is a vampire. However things take a hilarious turn when she reveals she is a slayer. This graphic fiction will appeal to reluctant readers or those who like a good laugh.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nina Moreno

    I enjoyed this book SO much! The art is so engaging and perfect for this hilarious, heartfelt, oh, so achingly middle school story. Crushes, vampires, sixth grade! I bought this book for me, but my 11 year-old is OBSESSED. He struggles with written words, but here the art captured him wholly. He's a budding comic artist and loves to draw his favorites, and this is now his new everything. There's something so Stranger Things/October cool and nostalgic about the feeling, setting, and story of FAKE I enjoyed this book SO much! The art is so engaging and perfect for this hilarious, heartfelt, oh, so achingly middle school story. Crushes, vampires, sixth grade! I bought this book for me, but my 11 year-old is OBSESSED. He struggles with written words, but here the art captured him wholly. He's a budding comic artist and loves to draw his favorites, and this is now his new everything. There's something so Stranger Things/October cool and nostalgic about the feeling, setting, and story of FAKE BLOOD for me, and yet it's so incredibly fresh and fun for my MG reader.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Real cute! Liked the art and colors, enjoyed the story. Queer inclusion woulda been nice.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Roben

    Adorbs. If you are a Buffy fan - you must read this!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    This is great! I giggled so hard at this graphic novel. The story is just too funny! Kids are going to love it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Natalie (Natflix&Books)

    Ok, this was a seriously cute and fun graphic novel about a boy who pretends to be a vampire to attract the girl he likes (a girl who is obsessed with vampires).

  27. 5 out of 5

    Dillen

    it was a very good book i would rate it 5 out of 5

  28. 5 out of 5

    Parker Jensen

    THIS SOUNDS SO GOOD

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brandi

    I really enjoyed this humorous tale. Total spoof of Twilight is included and there’s a great illustrated Easter egg for Harry Potter fans as well. Also, there’s a great Buffy send up. Loved the art style and coloring. Only minor issue was two of the secondary characters poking fun of French culture, but it came across as all in good fun and not malicious. (Although another reviewer pointing this out did make me decide to knock off a star, because I never want to blindly promote books with such i I really enjoyed this humorous tale. Total spoof of Twilight is included and there’s a great illustrated Easter egg for Harry Potter fans as well. Also, there’s a great Buffy send up. Loved the art style and coloring. Only minor issue was two of the secondary characters poking fun of French culture, but it came across as all in good fun and not malicious. (Although another reviewer pointing this out did make me decide to knock off a star, because I never want to blindly promote books with such issues). Still, I had a great time reading this book. It’s best suited for good natured fans of Twilight or those who love to hate sparkly vampires. Readers who are unfamiliar with Twilight and/or Buffy may have difficulty picking up on the jokes/references.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Joy McCullough

    This graphic novel was a complete delight. My 12-year-old read it before I did and devoured is a better way to say it. She LOVED it. I did too. The details in the illustration are amazing, the story is super engaging, and a fun mix of a realistic contemporary with a hint of paranormal/fantasy, and should appeal to kids who love both. In addition to the fun, the story also deals poignantly with friendship and how to find your way when you feel like you don't quite stand out. Can't wait for Whitne This graphic novel was a complete delight. My 12-year-old read it before I did and devoured is a better way to say it. She LOVED it. I did too. The details in the illustration are amazing, the story is super engaging, and a fun mix of a realistic contemporary with a hint of paranormal/fantasy, and should appeal to kids who love both. In addition to the fun, the story also deals poignantly with friendship and how to find your way when you feel like you don't quite stand out. Can't wait for Whitney's next graphic novel!

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