Welcome to Read This Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that should absolutely be put at the top of your TBR pile. Recommended books will vary across genre and age category and include shiny new books, older books you may have missed, and some classics I suggest finally getting around to. Make space for another pile of books on your floor because here we go!
Today’s pick is by one of my favorite authors and my desperate attempt to hang on to those creepy October feelings for as long as possible.
Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler
At the beginning, Shori wakes up in darkness and in terrible pain, both from injury it seems and from extreme hunger. She doesn’t know why she is injured and badly scarred, why she is in so much pain, nor why she is waking up just laying on the ground. She doesn’t even know who she is. She eventually regains some strength and is able to go out to hunt. She comes upon an area of burned down houses and buildings which she doesn’t recognize but she felt pulled there somehow.
She realizes right away that during the day, when the sun was out, the light is painful and she needs to hide in darkness and rest. She hunts and sleeps for a few days until she gets restless. There is a paved road nearby so she walks down it. She vaguely remembers the idea of vehicles. She still has no memories and she gets picked up by a driver named Wright. Now, what Wright sees is a Black adolescent girl covered in blood and dirt walking down the side of the road in the middle of nowhere in the rain. She is suffering from severe amnesia. Wright offers to take her home, or at least to the hospital since she looks like she was a badly injured child.
We learn, however, she is not a child. At least, not a human child. She is a 53 year old vampire. As we learn bits and pieces of Shori’s history, things get creepier and creepier. She bites Wright to get him under her control and makes him take her to his home. He is now loyal to her and joins her on her search to find out who she is and what happened to her family.
This book is both subtle and overt in its creep-factor. I was uneasy the entire time I was reading this book. Sometimes it was the sex. Sometimes it was the racism. Sometimes it was something else entirely. Content warnings for violence, adults having sex with a vampire in an adolescent body, and racism. Yep, racist vampires.
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That’s it for now, booklovers!
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