Cynthia Leitich Smith
When her parents died Quincie Morris was left with the family restaurant, now called Sanguini's. Her Uncle Davidson became her legal guardian and manager of the restaurant, but it is still hers. Her best friend, Kieren, is a hybrid werewolf. She's been in love with him most of her teen-age years. Now they are seniors in high school. She wants him to reciprocate, but he can't control his phasing into a wolf and is afraid he'll hurt her. Instead, he is preparing to leave to join a werewolf pack.
A new Italian restaurant had opened up close to them in Austin and Sanguini's lost most of its customers. Quincie and Uncle Davidson closed it down to renovate. They are going to reopen it with a vampire theme. Vampires hadn't been seen in Texas in many decades, so they shouldn't be offending anyone. After their long time chef is bizarrely murdered, Brad joins them. He isn't much older than Quincie but is a genius in the kitchen.
Soon Quincie is spending more time with Brad and less time with Kieren. Kieren is aso the main murder suspect even though Quincie doesn't want to believe it. They argue and become more distant. She soon lets herself get completely tied up into the reopening of the restaurant.
Cynthia Leitich Smith used Tantalize as a chance to honor multiple novels, especially Bram Stoker's Dracula. Quincie Morris was a major character in that earlier novel. She also gives nods to Cyrano de Bergerac, Mary Shelley, and Nathaniel Hawthorne, among others.
Tantalize is written as a young adult novel and starts out like one - sounding similar in tone to Twilight. But the second half is definitely not for younger teens as it includes somewhat explicit sex scenes and turns visually violent - more so than I expect in a young adult novel. It doesn't carry out the promise of the beginning. The ending is unexpected and disappointing.
There are good young adult adult paranormal novels out there. This one is fair. Look for some of the others.
Notice: Non-graphic violence, Suggestive dialogue or situations
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These reviews are personal opinions only and in no way reflect other readers' opinions of the books discussed.
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