Jeff Sampson Vesper
292 pp. Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins) 2011 ISBN: 978-0-06-199276-6
Summary (From Goodreads): Emily Webb is a geek. And she’s happy that way. Content hiding under hoodies and curling up to watch old horror flicks, she’s never been the kind of girl who sneaks out for midnight parties. And she’s definitely not the kind of girl who starts fights or flirts with other girls’ boyfriends. Until one night Emily finds herself doing exactly that . . . the same night one of her classmates—also named Emily—is found mysteriously murdered.
The thing is, Emily doesn’t know why she’s doing any of this. By day, she’s the same old boring Emily, but by night, she turns into a thrill seeker. With every nightfall, Emily gets wilder until it’s no longer just her personality that changes. Her body can do things it never could before: Emily is now strong, fast, and utterly fearless. And soon Emily realizes that she’s not just coming out of her shell . . . there’s something much bigger going on. Is she bewitched by the soul of the other, murdered Emily? Or is Emily Webb becoming something else entirely— something not human?
As Emily hunts for answers, she finds out that she’s not the only one this is happening to—some of her classmates are changing as well. Who is turning these teens into monsters—and how many people will they kill to get what they want?
Jeff Sampson’s debut novel is a fun read that caught my attention on the very first page. It starts off with a transcript of a conversation between someone from The Vesper Company and Vesper 1, otherwise known as Emily Webb. The transcript leaves us wondering why Emily is there and what exactly a vesper or deviant is. We then move into chapter one with Emily saying she’s sneaking out her window when her cell phone rings. The mystery only builds from there, which kept me wanting to read more.
Emily Webb is just like she’s described–a geek. Who doesn’t love a geeky girl though? The catch is that Emily is turning into something different. Her personality switches at night when she becomes a fun-loving, flirty, party-girl. She’s also developing some major kick-butt abilities! When my students interviewed Jeff in my Students Want to Know feature, they asked him about character influences. He responded by talking about how he likes tough-girl characters like Buffy, and she’s exactly who I thought of when I was reading Vesper! I don’t know if the teens of today know about “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, but I was a big fan of the show and Sarah Michelle Gellar! 🙂 While I enjoyed reading this side of Emily, reading her more “geeky” self was just as enjoyable.
I won’t spoil anything, but I was surprised by what Emily is turning into. I feel silly that it took me as long as it did to figure it out, because there’s definitely some foreshadowing. But all the same, while it was unexpected, it’s a nice deviation from the trend. I’m interested to see where this element of the story will take us in the next Deviants novel. I do wish that we would have found out sooner what was happening to Emily, but it makes sense that we didn’t since this is the first novel in a series. The very end of the book certainly has me excited for book two–what a twist!
If you’re looking for a book full of girl power, humor and mystery pick up Vesper as soon as you can!