Thirsty, by M.T. Anderson, (Candlewick Press, 2003)

In a world much like our own, vampires are real and skulk in the forests at night, while every year the town of Clayton holds the Sad Festival, which will keep Tch’mugar, the Vampire Lord, imprisoned in another dimension. However, Chris couldn’t care less about the vampires, since he’s more preoccupied with hanging out with his friends and trying to get a date with Rebecca Schwartz. Too bad he’s inexplicably turning into a vampire…

As Chris’ personal evolution progresses, he finds his life becoming ever more chaotic and terrifying, his old world receding and a new life beckoning. The vampire community is aware of his change, and they want to welcome him. Meanwhile, an avatar of the Forces of Light wants to use Chris as a double agent: get him into the vampire society as part of a plan to destroy Tch’mugar once and for all. Looks like Chris better not make any plans for a hot date anytime soon, especially since if his friends and family discover the truth, they’ll destroy him before he can become a monster.
Thirsty uses the vampire-transformation as an allegory for the usual hormonal upheavals of the teenage years, and takes it to a gruesome level. As Chris’ life falls apart, he realizes just what he values the most, in time to lose them. And when even his trust proves to be misplaced, he’ll have to face things on his own. Told with an oddly straight-forward dark humor that mixes the mundane and the horrifying, Thirsty is an uncomfortable, dark tale that doesn’t offer a pretty ending. As such, it’s a departure from the usual, a bleak modern fable that may not appeal to everyone, but worth looking at all the same.

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