A Taste for Red
by Lewis Harris
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: September, 2010
List Price: $16.00
Review: "Foote held the steak above the sleeping vampire's heart. I held the mallet in my shaking hands, trying to work up the strength to swing it and end the 'life' of the monster that wanted me dead." Svetlana Grimm just moved from Texas a few years ago to Sunny Hill. She has always been home schooled by her mom, but now that her mom wants to work, she has to attend 6th grade at Sunny Hill Middle School. Her first day of school doesn't go so well when she meets her science teacher, Ms. Larch, who offers her whole class chocolates. Svetlana is a vampire, or so she thought. Vampires only eat red, pink, and white foods, and since the chocolates were brown, she doesn't take one. A Taste for Red by Lewis Harris is an amazing book!
At that moment, Ms. Larch knows what Svetlana is. She keeps Svetlana after school and talks to her through their minds. Svetlana knows now that her teacher is also a vampire. She meets Dwight Foote and Fumio Chen at lunch the next day. After Sandy Cross, Marsha, and Madison go missing (three girls from Svetlana's school, who she doesn't really like), Svetlana meets her neighbor Lenora Bones, who is a very old woman. Apparently she is like Svetlana too. She explains to Svetlana what the Circle of Red is, a group of people like her and Svetlana who protect the secrecy of people like Svetlana and stop sadistic vampires, and tells her that she is not a vampire. Bones tells Svetlana that Ms. Larch, however, is a vampire and she needs to be stopped. Ms. Larch also wants Svetlana dead because she is (according to Lenora Bones) a part of the Circle of Red. Immediately. When Bones gets hurt, Svetlana has to stop Larch on her own. She gets Foote and Chen to help her find Larch's house and once they find it, Svetlana goes in. In the garage, they find their old science teacher, Mr. Boyle (who supposedly disappeared a while ago), in his car completely drained of his blood. Svetlana, Foote, and Chen go inside the house and find Sandy, Marsha, and Madison in the basement sleeping with bandages where their arms fold like they had donated blood, which they didn't donate. Chen gets the girls out of the house while Svetlana and Foote go upstairs to find Ms. Larch. They find her sleeping on her bed. Svetlana tells Foote to help her kill Larch, but she wakes up and finds out what they are trying to do. Will she try to kill them, too?
What I like about this book is how the author has Svetlana talk directly to the reader. Svetlana basically narrates the book. I like how she interrupts her conversation with someone else in the book and talks to you. Honestly, I liked almost everything about the book. Especially the part where the author leaves so much suspense after Larch wakes up when Svetlana and Foote are in her room with the steak above her. Also, I like when Svetlana and Foote go into the house, Svetlana tells the reader that the only way she could tell that Sandy and the other missing girls are in the basement is by the strong stench of bubble gum coming from down there. I don't dislike many parts of the book at all. But, I didn't like how, in the beginning, Svetlana is the only one who sleeps under her bed, and Larch and Bones thinks she is weird. I didn't like that because it didn't make since that she sleeps under her bed, and the others didn't. I also didn't like how out of nowhere, when Larch or Lenora are talking to Svetlana, they will talk to her out loud, and then all of a sudden they are talking to each other through their minds. I didn't like that because it was pointless to have them talking out loud one second, then in their minds the next. But all in all, I would highly recommend this book for children from the ages of 9-13 that like stories about vampires.
Review written by Brooke (6th grade student).
We would like to thank Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for providing a copy of A Taste for Red for this review.
Have you read A Taste for Red? How would you rate it?