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Childs, Tera Lynn. Sweet Venom.

2Q * 3P * J

Childs, Tera Lynn. Sweet Venom. Katherine Tegen Books, 2011. 352p. $17.99. 978-0-06-200181-8.

Grace is feeling out of place at her new high school in San Francisco. Newly arrived from a small town, she is hoping to find a friend. Tough Gretchen has no need or desire for friends, and snooty rich girl Greer does not have friends so much as she has acolytes, minions, and social rivals. What do these three have in common? They were adopted, for one thing, and, as it turns out,--they are long-lost triplets. They are not just any triplets, though; they are descendants of a mythological monster slayer. They have a duty and abilities, and there is a prophecy. On top of all that, Grace's GPA is in danger and Greer's Stella McCartney top is going to get mussed.

Part Percy Jackson, part Beverly Hills 90210--with an acknowledged debt to Bully the Vampire Slayer (Grace has moved to San Francisco from a small town called Orangevale, where she attended a two-story school with stucco-covered walls)--this is good fun, marred somewhat by writing that hammers home every expressive nuance ("'What are you doing here?' she demands, clearly unhappy to see me"). Male characters are amusingly decorative--entering the action portentously, only to disappear for long stretches with nary a ripple, reappearing (or not) several chapters later. Although they may have some role in later books (this is the first in a planned series), in Sweet Venom they appear to be nothing more than gratuitous romantic interest. This is a not-too-serious paranormal action novel along the lines of Rosemary Clement-Moore's Maggie Quinn, Girl vs. Evil books (Delacorte).

3Q Readable, without serious defects.

3P Will appeal with pushing.

J Junior High (defined as grades 7-9).

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Author:Willey, Paula
Publication:Voice of Youth Advocates
Article Type:Book review
Date:Oct 1, 2011
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