Author: Pete Hautman
Published: August 2004 by Simon Pulse
Genre: Drama, Realistic YA
Lucy is a vampire. At least, according to her theory of the origin of vampires: that they were actually untreated diabetics, pale and gaunt, struggling to survive in a society that believed the disease to be an inhuman curse.
Sweetblood is the story of Lucy Szabo, a self-declared "proto-vampire" as she struggles to come to terms with her family, her friends in the Gothic subculture, and her wildly uncontrolled diabetes.
I was prepared to give Sweetblood 4 out of 5 stars at the penultimate chapter. It was a decent story, well-written, with an engaging narrative; I found the theory about vampire legends being inspired by untreated diabetics to be fascinating. Overall, I liked it and would read it again.
But the ending. The last chapter. Ugh. Really? [SPOILER ALERT] Lucy ditches her black hair and Goth attire because she is a "changed" person, a whole new Lucy. Really? Why don't we all gather around singing praise songs about the holiness of conformity? It's ridiculous; it implies that Goth people use the Goth lifestyle as a crutch, as a means to escape/deal/ignore/etc whatever problems they're dealing with. Why can't someone be Goth and simultaneously perfectly okay?
In addition, I found the portrayal of the Gothic subculture to be extremely stereotypical (for example, all of the Goth people dressed up as "Normals" for Halloween, in Gap/Old Navy-type clothing. Are you kidding me?) It's annoying. However, I won't complain too much about it; it was substantially less annoying in Sweetblood than it was in Vampire Kisses *eyeroll*
All in all, I'd give Sweetblood 2.5 stars, maybe. With a better ending, I'd have possibly given it 4 stars.