________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 37 . . . . May 27, 2011


The Vampire Stalker.

Allison van Diepen.
New York, NY: Point/Scholastic (Distributed in Canada by Scholastic Canada), 2011.
257 pp., hardcover, $20.99.
ISBN 978-0-545-28375-5.

Subject Headings:
Best friends-Fiction.

Grades 7-10 / Ages 12-15.

Review by Ann Ketcheson.

**** /4

Reviewed from Uncorrected Proof.



I gave my head a shake. Jeez. After all I'd been through, I was still thinking of Alexander. I did a double take, but his face and figure were now shrouded in darkness and mist. It must have been a mirage my mind's way of bringing me comfort after the terror.

With trembling hands, I pushed the wild strands of hair out of my face. I didn't know who, or what, had just attacked me, and I had no idea who my savior was. All I knew was, I had to get home.

"I will show you to your door, miss," the guy said. "Is this the way?"

I looked around, confusion muddling my brain. I was at the other end of the park, where the sandboxes and swing sets were located. How did I get all the way over here? I couldn't have run this far.

It took me a few moments to orient myself. "It's on the other side of the apartment complex."

I practically had to run to keep up with him, while at the same time scanning the darkness for signs of another attack.

"I'm lucky you were there," I said, still trying to catch my breath.

"It was not luck," he said tightly. "I was tracking him. And about to pounce on him before he grabbed you, I might add."

Amy adores Alexander Banks, but there is a problem with their relationship he is a character in her favourite series of novels. Imagine her shock when fiction becomes fact and Alexander enters Amy's world in order to hunt down and kill Vigo, the leader of the vampires in Otherworld. The fates of the vampire and his stalker are intertwined, and only one of them can continue to exist.

Allison Van Diepen has written a novel which will please both avid readers and reluctant readers. Although the cover seems aimed at a primarily female audience, boys would also enjoy the intrigue and adventure of the plot. The short chapters and the use of plenty of white space on each page make the book attractive for reluctant readers. The action keeps readers on the edge of their seats as Alexander hunts down the vampire who is on a killing spree in present-day Chicago. Amy does her best to help him, by, for instance, teaching him to use modern technology. However this makes her Vigo's next target and pulls her further into the dark and dangerous vampire world which she thought existed only in books.

      Van Diepen's characters are realistic in their actions and their speech. Clearly, the author understands teenagers, thanks to her career as a high school teacher. The main characters carry the plot, but the cast is expanded with Amy's girlfriends, the jock squad at school, Amy's mom and younger sister Chrissy and, of course, the vampires who have found the portal leading from their world to ours. Even the school librarian has an important role!

      This young adult novel will appeal on many levels to many readers. Some will like the vampire fantasy theme while other will enjoy the mystery and thrill of the chase as Alexander attempts to find and stop Vigo before he kills yet again. There is a strong romantic theme as well when Amy finds herself attracted to the real Alexander even more than to his fictional counterpart.

      Van Diepen has written several novels for teens and is a popular choice for a variety of audiences. Undoubtedly many of her readers will have the same reaction as Amy when they know a new Van Diepen novel is on the shelves in book stores and libraries: "Hands tingling with anticipation, I opened the book" (page 7). Please, Allison, don't keep your fans waiting too long for the next novel!

Highly Recommended.

Ann Ketcheson, who lives in Ottawa, ON, is a retired teacher-librarian (who never starred in a vampire novel!) and teacher of high school English and French.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.