Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Review: Suck It Up by Brian Meehl

Title: Suck It Up
Author: Brian Meehl
Series: Suck It Up #1
Pages: 336
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Date Published: May 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Paranormal YA
Source: Library

ARE YOU UP to your neck in bloodsucking vampire stories? Tired of those tales about dentally enhanced dark lords? Before I wrote this book I thought all vampires were night-stalking, fangpopping, bloodsucking fiends. Then I met Morning McCobb. He’s a vegan vampire who drinks a soy-blood substitute called Blood Lite. He believes staking should be a hate crime. And someday he hopes to march in a Vampire Pride Parade. He was also the first vampire to out himself and try to show people of mortality, like you and me, that vampires are just another minority with special needs. Trust me—this is like no other vampire book you’ll ever feed on. So, as my buddy Morning says, “Pop the lid, and suck it up.”

My Review:
Like many of us readers who frequent the Young Adult section of our bookstores, libraries, and Amazon.com...I've kind of gotten a little tired of the vampire craze. There's a few gems out there, but so many more fanged flops that I've gotten to the point where I usually need at least two or three stellar recommendations before I'll even think about picking up something with vamps on the cover. But then I was  browsing in the library and found this little beauty lurking on the shelves. Not going to lie...I grabbed it immediately. It looks like the kind of book that is different, and definitely not afraid of poking fun at itself. I was definitely right with this one and I am really REALLY glad that I gave Suck It Up, and Brian Meehl a fighting chance.

Most of the teen vampires today are, in addition to being drop dead gorgeous, crazy with a side of fries. There's so much angst and brooding, I wouldn't be surprised to see teen vampires doing swan dives into a swimming pool full of stakes and garlic and I'm constantly amazed that they can learn to pull themselves out of their puddles of self-loathing long enough to save the heroine or fall in love or whatever it is they are supposed to be doing in their respective books. Well...Morning McCobb is NOT one of those angsty teen heart-throbs. Despite being a neglected orphan for the majority of his young life, he's kept up his spirits with one motto..."Suck it up"..This is what got him through his first vampire attack. He got turned at the ripe old age of 16, when most kids are worrying about acne and growth spurts for a few short but painful years, Morning's going to have to deal with them for the rest of his life. Which will be a while, seeing as he's now immortal and all. He can't even fit in with the other vampires his age, who seem to all fit the sexy and mysterious mold so easily. They're all powerful, mystical beings while Morning likes to shape-change into mist and trees...and drinks the soy based blood substitute: Blood Lite.

But everything changes for Morning the night he graduates from Vampire League training. Because of his more...docile...appearance and nature, he's been chosen to be the spokesperson for vampires everywhere as they make the grand gesture of coming out of the coffin. Enter his new PR spokeswoman, and her daughter Portia, an aspiring film director looking to create the best application to film school imaginable: a personal interview/documentary of the first "outed" vampire. I absolutely loved the way that Meehl created his characters to be realistic. They don't always make the right choices, they aren't "loves at first sight", they're complicated and have lots of problems to deal with before they can have a good relationship. Portia was one of my favorite characters. She's Morning's love interest, but the entire time she's caught up in her own insecurities about how all men are sexist pigs and will end up screwing her over. She also has her own prerogatives for getting close to Morning...She wants to further her career, and she knows it's bad to take advantage of a teenage boy just to get ahead, but she talks herself into her own bad behavior by saying..."Eh...he'll probably break my heart anyway so why not get something out of it" Though she had these issues, she never sounded whiny or mopey. She was fierce and fabulous and even though she doesn't seem like the most relatable character, I totally adored her. Also, because each character had their own personal hang-ups and intimacy issues, they were able to develop a relationship more slowly. Feelings grew naturally in a way that was expected but sweet. And it was refreshing to not hear the same old..."we're soul mates" lines over and over again. 

To add drama and a bit of tension to the mix, there's another culture of vampires out in the world called loners. These are the rabid, uncivilized vampires of legend who commune only with nature and treat humans as the meals they are. Loners have sworn to keep vampires a secret because humans would be none too pleased to discover that Loners consider them a walking Happy Meal.  When one Loner catches a sight of Morning shape-changing on television, he takes it upon himself to rid the world of this interloper for the sake of vampire kind. Poor Morning can't seem to catch a break anywhere.

I really liked the dynamics and world building incorporated with the vampire culture. It was an interesting take on vampires to create them as a sort of minority group. Though usually in the minority, vamps are usually interpreted as the elite, not the downtrodden "misfits" of society. I liked how you could make slight connections between the way vampires were treated in this world, and how some minority groups are occasionally treated in our own. I also enjoyed the power play between loners and leaguers. It reminded me of the Strogoi and Moroi in Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series...only not quite as evil.  The power play and levels of tension made the story that much deeper but at the same time I never felt like I was getting preached to about equality or whatever. It was just a good story with a tightly woven plot that rocked at being funny in an understated way.
I give Suck It Up Four out of Five keys! It was heart-warming, slightly freaky, tense, well written, and unpredictable. There was just a lightness to the story and the writing that assured you that the author and the subject shouldn't be taken too seriously...that though it is an interesting book, it's not something that should haunt your dreams or become your obsession.  For those of you who love vampires but are kind of sick of the melodramatic darkness that is usually associated with YA novels, Suck It Up is a refreshing change. I really enjoyed my reading experience and can't wait to get my hands on book two, Suck It Up and Die.


  1. Thanks for that review, i'll put suck it up on my list then :)

  2. Oooh! This one sounds good. I definitely want to put this on my list. Great review, Andra!

  3. Vegan vampires! Ha! looks like a lot of fun.. great review.

  4. Wow, this book sounds like my cup of tea...hahaha...
    Added it on my tbr.

  5. This book sounds so like so much fun. Need to add it to my TBR shelf.

  6. Sounds like a book that will make me laugh. Thanks for the review!