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Literature / Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side

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The debut novel of Beth Fantaskey, also known for Jekel Loves Hyde. A sequel, Jessica Rules The Dark Side, has been announced for the summer of 2011.

Antanasia Dragomir, renamed Jessica Packwood by her adopted parents, is a down-to-earth farm girl with a talent for mathematics and a resolute disdain for all things supernatural. The last thing she wanted was to find out that her birth parents were vampires, and that her vampire betrothed has come to claim her. Lucius Vladescu is handsome, arrogant, and determined to make her accept her heritage and marry him - or risk reigniting the feud which has been going on between their clans for generations.

This book provides examples of:

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Played with. Jessica is decidedly put off by Lucius' bad-boy qualities, even as she finds them attractive. She doesn't really fall in love with him until he's proved that he can be kind and considerate as well as sexy and dangerous.
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: Lucius tries to pull this on Jessica a few times. She isn't having any.
  • Changeling Fantasy: Jessica is quite Happily Adopted at first, preferring to not even think about her birth parents (whom, from the Packwoods' cautiously edited descriptions, she believes to be deviant cult members). Once she starts to believe in vampires, however, the trope plays out somewhat straight.
  • The Chessmaster: Vasile. He planned to have Jessica killed soon after the marriage, so he could rule both clans via Lucius. Lucius reluctantly admires the plan, even though it makes him sick to imagine.
  • Cool Horse: Lucius' fierce black mare, Hell's Belle, whom he buys to keep Jessica company in her riding lessons. Unfortunately she goes on a rampage and almost kills him, causing her to be put down by the authorities, which affects Lucius deeply - he sees a parallel between himself and the horse, as they are both victims of abuse and possibly "too dangerous to live".
  • Cute Kitten: Lucius is at first disgusted by the Packwoods' habit of adopting every stray animal that comes their way, even feeding kittens with an eyedropper. He comes around.
  • Defecting for Love: Lucius and Jessica, the respective heirs to two warring vampire families, whose marriage was arranged by their parents to bring peace.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Jessica initially bristles at being called by her Romanian name, Antanasia, as she associates it with her 'crazy' vampire parents. She gets used to it eventually.
  • Eagleland: Lucius' commentary on American life shifts slowly from version 2 to version 1.
  • Faking the Dead: Subverted. Lucius intends to essentially commit suicide by cop (or rather angry high school student), but having previously talked to Dorin, Jake purposely doesn't drive the stake far enough. Lucius is "a little peeved" to wake up alive. At first they all agree to keep it from Jessica, but seeing how miserable the separation makes her - and how dangerous it makes Lucius - Dorin decides to tell her after all.
  • Fat and Proud: Lucius persuades Jessica to be proud of her curves.
  • Generation Xerox: Jessica looks exactly like her birth mother, and by the end, appears to have inherited her leadership qualities as well.
  • Green-Eyed Epiphany: Jessica doesn't realize how she feels about Lucius until she sees him flirting with Faith Crosse.
  • Hippie Parents: The Packwoods, a folklore professor and a yoga teacher.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: Lucius worries about how an American high school girl can possibly rule a clan of ruthless scheming vampires.
  • In the Blood: Vampirism. Lucius is tormented by the idea that Vasile's vicious nature must be in his blood as well.
  • The Makeover: Jessica, bolstered by Lucius' compliments, stops ironing out her curly hair and begins wearing more flattering outfits.
  • Meat Versus Veggies: Lucius is dismayed by the Packwoods' vegan lifestyle, especially the lentils.
  • Morality Chain: As Lucius kills Vasile, prepares to start a war with the Dragomirs, and generally spirals out of control, Jessica's vampire mentor Dorin persuades her that she is the only one who can bring him back to himself.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Dorin, a sweet, funny old man who is appalled by the way Vasile and the rest of their kind behave.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: By the end of the book, Jessica is nowhere near the same person she was at the beginning when she thinks that Jake killed Lucius and her classmates were part of an angry mob about him. She's abandoned her math interests, worrying her parents greatly when they try to cheer her up with new activity books. The trope really applies when she decides to accept her birthright and save Lucius.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: They're immortal, and they do drink blood, but not because they need it to survive. They don't fear garlic, crosses, running water or sunlight, and while a sharp stake will kill them, that's because it would kill anyone. Oh, and they pass it on to their children as well as via infection.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Lucius buys one for Jessica.
  • Shaming the Mob: After graduation, Jessica spends most of the time glaring at her classmates for ostensibly killing Lucius, especially Jake. They don't make eye contact with her out of shame, and her friendship with Jake is indelibly ruined even when she finds out he faked Lucius's death. It's one of the reasons she decides to move countries and accept her legacy.
  • Shipper on Deck: Jessica's friend Mindy enthusiastically ships her with Lucius.
  • Ship Sinking: It's implied that Jake has a crush on Jessica, and she's not resistant to the idea. When he stakes Lucius, she spends the rest of the year not talking to him. Even when it comes out that he held back from killing Lucius, he knows that any chances of a relationship is shot.
  • Stealth Insult: Lucius, finding out that Jake is a wrestler: "How Greco-Roman of you, grappling about on mats."
  • Torches and Pitchforks:
    • Jessica's and Lucius' parents were killed this way.
    • In the climax, Jessica's classmates try to do this to Lucius, bolstered by Vasile's influence. Jessica tries to save him but seems to fail, miserably when Jake drives a stake into Lucius's heart. No one talks about it after, since murder of a classmate is still murder, but she spends all of the time up to graduation glaring at them and refusing to speak to anyone.
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: At the end of the book, Jessica dares a bitter, self-loathing Lucius to stake her in an attempt to prove that he's not as evil as he thinks. He can't bring himself to do it, which proves her right.