Title: When Life Gives You Vampires
Author: Gloria Duke
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
First published: October 4th 2022
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Finished reading: September 27th 2022
Pages: 320

“Obvi, my mother is not my BFF. She’s the one who makes me batshit. Drives me mad. Sets me off.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Sourcebooks Casablanca in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***


Right… Let’s get cracking, shall we? When Life Gives You Vampires probably has one of the most original contemporary romance premises I’ve come across this year. With the focus on body positivity and the promise of a romcom with a paranormal twist, there was just something about this debut that made me forget all about my usual allergic reaction to anything vampire related. I’ve been excited to read it, although I confess that I was worried about the lower rating and mixed reviews… Sadly, I do understand why this is the case now. I’ll try to explain briefly what did and didn’t work for me below.

First of all, I have to say that I still love the premise of this story and like I said before, it is probably one of the most original romcom story ideas I’ve come across this year. When Life Gives You Vampires had so much potential, and the New York setting was without a doubt the perfect backdrop for this story. I’m usually not a big fan of vampire fiction, but I like this contemporary take on vampires where they are at least dangerous and do not ‘sparkle’. It was fun to see the main character deal with her sudden vampire state, and her trying to adapt to her new reality had once again so much potential.

Now on what didn’t work for me. I think my main issue was with the writing style itself, which I simply clashed horribly with. You can see an example above, but in general the writing style and tone sounded like the author was trying too hard to be ‘cool’; the constant abbreviations and repetitions of certain words including ‘obvi’ and the ‘um’ before the main character tries to be funny are extremely irritating. I’m serious: if I have to deal with one more ‘obvi’, I’m going to scream.

The main character Lily also sounded quite immature (partly thanks to the word choice), and I confess that I never warmed up to her. With her constantly repeating just how much she doesn’t like her body and how others don’t accept her for who she is, I think the body positivity message was kind of lost here. Especially with her basically saying that other people (including her best friend) have no right to complain about their lives just because they have the type of body she wants. Ugh. And then I’m not even talking about her stubbornness and her constantly repeating that Tristan is trying to dominate her and that she can save herself… I seriously wish I could have had a mute button to avoid having to deal with all that.

The romance itself wasn’t exactly credible to me, and I didn’t feel the chemistry at all. It’s a mix between bland insta-love and especially Lily blaming her feelings on her new vampire urges… And I found Tristan to be quite one-dimensional in general. The way things were wrapped up in the end also felt quite rushed and a little too convenient to be credible. Like I said before, the story had a lot of potential, but that potential was somehow lost in the execution for me.

All in all I didn’t exactly have a great time reading When Life Gives You Vampires, and a lot had to do with the fact that I clashed horribly with both the writing style and characters. It’s a shame, because the premise is fantastic!

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