Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Review: Social Vampire by James Schannep

 Genre: YA/Humor


“At a new school, you get a chance to reinvent yourself, so...why not be a vampire?

Gordon is hiding something. Is it the fact that he's secretly a vampire? No, of course n-wait. Yes. That's exactly what he's hiding. Let's go with that.

So when this nerdy teen moves to a small town where all the kids are obsessed with vampire fiction, he reinvents himself as their dream character: dark & brooding, cool as hell, and overly susceptible to stabs through the heart.

While rivaling the alpha male jock, garnering the attention of the most popular girl in his class, and forming a hilarious friendship with the girl next door (the only one who knows his secret), Gordon might find that his new school is the perfect place for him to shine-or, better yet, sparkle.

But if his classmates dig up the truth, it'll be the nail in his coffin...”


“James Schannep has no tragic backstory.

Having grown up in a fairly ordinary suburban household, with a family who loved him, he was forced to dream up far flung adventures on strange new worlds where the hero can save the day and make a difference through strength of character alone.

Schannep attended the United States Air Force Academy, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in English Literature with a minor in General Engineering. After serving honorably as a Nuclear Missile Command and Control Officer, he returned to trying to make a difference through story.

As a screenwriter, game designer, and novelist, he is probably best known for his Click Your Poison series of interactive gamebooks.

Social Vampire is his first novel.

When not dreaming up strange new worlds, James lives in the one inhabited by his wife, who faithfully remains the patroness of his art, and with his children, who don’t quite grasp what they’ve inherited yet with such an eccentric father.”


Gordon, a teen boy who is the protagonist of this story, and his dad move from Los Angeles, California to Bozeman, Montana after Gordon’s mom dies and his dad becomes unemployed. This put Gordon in the position of struggling with all kinds of things including coming to terms with his mom’s death, understanding dad’s thinking in uprooting them to move back to the town where dad grew up, and most of all figuring out how to fit in in a town where he knows no one and feels nothing like what he’s used to.

There are some things in this book that I could picture myself not buying into in most books, but I do here. For example so many of Gordon’s new classmate’s appearing to believe that he was a vampire, felt reasonable to me. Sure, I had to suspend belief, but it was easy to do. At points Gordon as the narrator presents events (or a fancied-up version of events) in the form of a montage as it would be presented in a screenplay, and it didn’t feel unnatural, because Gordon presented himself as a budding screenwriter so this approach seemed reasonable.

The part that I had no difficulty with and understood immediately was the difficulty in moving into and finding a way to fit in in a new school. While it has been a few years … okay, decades … no, not centuries, not quite yet, this was something I experienced a few times as a kid and still remember the struggle. While aimed at a younger audience I think even someone well out of their teens could still enjoy this book. Those in the young adult age range should like it and relate even more.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK

Format/Typo Issues:

This review is based on an advance reader copy so I can’t judge the final product in this area.

Rating: **** Four Stars

Reviewed by: BigAl

Approximate word count: 75-80,000 words

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