17 November 2011

Gemini Bites by Patrick Ryan

Gemini Bites
Patrick Ryan
Scholastic Press

When my guy saw this book sitting on the kitchen table and read the book jacket, his first reaction was “What in the world are you reading?”  Then, as I explained the premise of Gemini Bites to him, his look of confusion and concern just deepened.  I’ll admit, the storyline is one of the things that drew me to the book: fraternal twins Kyle and Judy fall for the same guy.  And said guy is super gorgeous, rather mysterious, and allegedly a vampire.
But the storyline isn’t all there is to this book.  In fact, the love triangle turns out to be rather secondary (at least it was the way I read the book).  It’s more about sibling rivalry and about why teenagers do things that make no sense to them or those around them but they just can’t help themselves.
Case in point: Judy.  If she were my sister, I’d probably hold a pillow over her head to put the family out of their misery.  Über-competitive, fake and cranky is how she comes across in the book – even in the chapters written from her point of view.  She’s attending a church group and claiming to be “born again” all because she wants to date a guy.  She’s rude, selfish, conniving and goes after Garret (aforementioned vampire) just because she can tell Kyle is a little interested in him.  Throughout the book both Kyle and Judy make references to the fact that they were closer before their parents initial divorce (backstory; Kyle and Judy are the middle children in a family of nine.  Their parents separated for just over a year when they were younger and they haven’t been close since.  Kyle doesn’t understand why, and Judy never bothers to tell him. Judy, for some reason, is in constant competition with Kyle, often mouthing “I win” when she gets her way.  The only person to somewhat derail her is Garret – his penetrating stare, great abs and vampiric ways seem to throw her off her normally snarky, aggressive ways.
On the other hand, we have Kyle.  He has recently come out of the closet and is handling life pretty well, other than the fact that he doubts he’ll ever actually date a real live boy.  His family (minus Judy) is very supportive, he has good friends, and he’s finding his way, though he still struggles with self-confidence.  Then along comes Garret Johnson.  He tries to be friendly, but 1) he’s pretty sure Garret is straight (wait…is he sure?  He’s not sure he’s sure) and 2) Garret is, well, a little creepy with the weird lighting in his room and the mysterious calls with his “vampire trainer” (I can’t remember the term Garret uses and I already returned the book…sorry!).  So while Kyle is completely attracted to Garret and thinks maybe Garret is attracted to him, he’s not sure and when Judy starts to show interest in Garret, things get interesting.
Then there’s Garret.  He’s weird and somewhat secondary to the plot until the end.  His dad is transferred mid-school year, so instead of moving with his parents, he lives in the Renneker attic until the end of the school year.  He admits that he’s a vampire when asked, but it’s not something he advertises necessarily.  Too bad for him the school crazy is after him, constantly trying to stake him in the heart or shoot him with a silver bullet.  And I can’t tell you too much about Garret without spoiling the end of the book, but I will say that I really didn’t like him much for the majority of the book (I was Team Kyle all the way!!!) but in the end, regardless of his vampire-ness, he is just a kid trying to figure out who he is, and he is definitely instrumental in helping Judy and Kyle both figure out who they are.
Who would I recommend this book to?  That’s a great question.  I did enjoy the book, but it definitely wouldn’t make any of my favorites list.  The book is definitely not middle grade appropriate because of sexual content, but I think high school students who struggle with their identity (and not just their sexuality, who they are in general) would benefit from reading this book because each of the characters tries to be someone they aren’t and then has to deal with the consequences.

**This is the first book review I've done where I can't find the author's website.  Help please if you can!***

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