First off, I need to come out as a payolateer. The author sent me her book--the second YA writer to do so, the first being Jessica Dreistadt--for free to review right here on my blog. I didn't promise a good review or accept money or anything, but if I understood Lisa Von Drasek correctly at the blogging meetup, I should pay taxes on the cover price of review copies I receive.
Understand, though, that I wouldn't publish a bad review of a zine or any other independent publication, unless it really made me mad for some reason, probably political. If I hated Hybrid, I wouldn't review it.
Hybrid tells of 16-year-old Emily "Dallas" Reed, who's family relocated from Texas to West Virginia after the murder of its youngest member, a 4-year-old girl with Down's Syndrome. Though nervous about attending a new school, Dallas makes friends quickly and even scores a dreamy boyfriend. She's a likable lead, more confident of her good looks, in a non-manipulative, non-obsessive way, than is typical in the teen television and books I've been exposed to. The plot could move along a little more quickly perhaps, but this is the first book in a series, so an excess of exposition is not unreasonable. She doesn't give too much away, so you are left curious about what will happen as the series develops. I like that Reed is unafraid to develop her own vampire lore, how they live, die, and live again, what their powers and vulnerabilities are and all that. She should also be commended for creating a complicated bad boy whose fuckability leaps off the page. Not that our heroine is necessarily going there yet, but you can bet she's thinking about it.
I do have to be honest with potential readers that this book takes a little work to get through. It desperately needed a quality editor, not to mention a professional proofreader. Reed's long, rich sentences burst with free flowing adjectives that sometimes have multi-syllabic words with definitions that are unfamiliar to me or that are contextually jarring. And she's quite free with her italics, which can be distracting and off-putting to a literary fussbudget like myself.
I don't acquire and keep many new books, and Hybrid is out of scope for Barnard, so I'll be glad to send it to someone, especially if it will go in a library. So far the book isn't listed in WorldCat. Let me know if you want it, like for your library in New Jersey or Wyoming, perhaps?