By Heather Swain
Available now from Speak (Penguin)
Josie Griffin is a good kid. She's got straight As and volunteers for Habitat for Humanity. She edits the school newspaper. But she took a bat to her boyfriend's classic car when she caught him cheating on her with her best fried. Now, Josie Griffin is sentenced to anger management and community service.
But there's something strange about her anger management class. All of the kids think they are some sort of magical being. Vampires, werewolves, pixies, Greek gods . . . and there's something weird about Helping American Girls too. Girls keep disappearing from the shelter but leaving all of their stuff - including phones - behind. Josie, who wants to be a reporter, is determined to figure out what's happening and save the remaining girls.
JOSIE GRIFFIN IS NOT A VAMPIRE is cute, funny, and serious when it needs to be. For instance, the pixie Tarren lives on the wrong side of the tracks while Helios is part of the 1%, which causes friction between them. Urban fantasy fans will enjoy how JOSIE GRIFFIN IS NOT A VAMPIRE plays with the tropes of the genre. Nonhuman being living in plain sight is pretty typical, but the heroine stumbling over them on accident isn't. (Josie also, hilariously, pretends to be a werepire.)
I liked the characters too. The members of the group all have trouble keeping their powers under control in public. But their reactions are pretty understandable. Hiding who you are is frustrating, especially when you're a teenager. And, if you could hex the guy trying to convince you to "date" him in an alley, wouldn't you? Plus, they're a refreshingly friendly and goofy bunch. No brooders here, even if the vampire Johann does miss the days of disco.
JOSIE GRIFFIN IS NOT A VAMPIRE is perfect for readers searching for a book on the lighter side of urban fantasy. It has a little mystery, a little action, and lots of personality. Just don't expect any anger management tips.