Vampires on the Run: A Quinnie Boyd Mystery (March 1, 2017) by C. M. Surrisi
Age Range: 10 - 13 years
Grade Level: 5 - 8
Hardcover: 296 pages
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books (March 1, 2017)
In the months after Quinnie Boyd cracked the mystery of her missing teacher, she expected life in her small Maine town to snap back to normal. But two writers from New York City have arrived in Maiden Rock, and there's something not quite right about them. Sure, Ceil and Edgar are pale. And they dress in all black. And they don't go near the sunlight. But could they really be vampires? To find out, Quinnie turns to Dominica new kid in town who's an expert on everything geeky. Together, they'll risk their necks to find an answer . . .
Main character, Quinnie Boyd is 13 years old and has a knack for solving crime, that is when she isn’t getting grounded for going out in the middle of the night with new neighbor and potential crush, Dominic (described as wearing a “Black t-shirt with a small pi symbol on the chest. Not-too-baggy jeans. Vans). Okay, so I even had a little crush on him. One of the parts that I loved was that Quinnie and Dominic hang out without all the older YA flirting. Gasp! They’re actually friends!
I didn’t realize until I was already into the story that this novel is part of a series (sigh! Why is everything part of a series now?!?) The Maypop Kidnapping (2016) was the first novel but Vampires on the Run completely works as a stand-alone novel with only a few references to the previous book and Quinnie’s adventures.
The basic plot is that novelist Victoria Kensington, which is actually the penname for Ella’s (Quinnie’s best friend) aunt and uncle writing-team, Ceil and Edgar, who may or may not be actual vampires! They’ve just released their latest novel Transylvanian Drip and come to the small town of Maiden Rock, Maine for a bit of rest. The town is so small that Quinnie’s mom is the real-estate agent, mayor, postmaster, and sheriff! And just like many small towns, news travels fast so everyone wants to read the famous author, especially since rumor has it that a real vampire tells Kensington the plot to each of her novels.
Because the famous author is in town, Quinnie’s teacher, Ms. Stillford decides that they will do a comparison of Transylvanian Drip and the Dracula. I love that this was included and Ms. Stillford seems like a great teacher although respectfully, I’m really not sure that the author C. M. Surrisi has even read Dracula. Much of Quinnie’s comments reflect some major misunderstandings; I’m chalking that up to unreliable narration since Quinnie is 13. And, because I have the Norton Critical Edition right beside me…seriously, I do!, I don’t know any Eighth Grade teacher who would assign 327 pages of Dracula plus whatever the length of the fictional Transylvanian Drip during the last week of school before summer break. But, it does fit into the plot so again, I’m not complaining.
While reading Dracula, Quinnie becomes completely freaked out by the story and cannot sleep. She texts her new buddy, Dominic and the two decide it’s a great idea to go walking on the beach together. It’s all good clean fun until their parents find out… and until they realize there is a mad dog/coyote/wolf/ vampire on the loose.
Quinnie’s imagination becomes overactive as she notices how Ceil and Edgar both dress in black, have white skin, bloodred [sic] lips, creepy long nails, and they cover the mirrors in the house. I overlook these stereotypes because Quinnie really isn’t a reader of vampire fiction (her words) and she tends to jump to conclusions.
While Quinnie is focused on vampirism, she and her friends actually expose a pretty serious scheme that leaves readers engaged until the end of the novel.
One of my favorite parts- Quinnie considers Dominic’s bite on her neck with fake fangs as her first kiss. Well, there is an opportunity for a real kiss but as Quinnie says, “There’s the whole summer ahead for that.” I also love that Quinnie and her friends remind me so much of the collective characters in Dracula during their ongoing chase scenes. It’s also a little bit like The Lost Boys (1987) and the Scooby gang.