0= 0 stars (..is this possible?)
1/2 = half a star (i can't believe i read this)
* = 1 star (waste of time)
* 1/2 = 1 and a half stars (ehh..)
** = 2 stars (could have been better)
** 1/2 = 2 and a half stars (an ok read)
*** = 3 stars (a worthwhile read)
*** 1/2 = 3 and a half stars (a good read)
**** = 4 stars (a very good read)
**** 1/2 = 4 and a half stars (a great read)
***** = 5 stars (best of the best)
I have recently finished "The Tear Collector" by Patrick Jones, which was released September 1st. I have also been lucky enough to snag an interview with him!
Here's a brief summary of the book:
Fans of urban fantasy should prepare for a new kind of vampire—one that feeds off of tears instead of blood. Descended from an ancient line of creatures that gain their energy from human tears, Cassandra Gray depends on human sorrow to live. Her job as a grief counselor at the hospital provides the perfect cover to keep this secret safe, and any time a friend needs a shoulder to cry on, she’s there. Only Cass has grown tired of living a lie and wants to live like a human, especially now that she’s found someone worth fighting for.
My Review: (Minor Spoilers Below)
I was excited when I first heard about this book, such a twist on a specific genre that has been essentially the same over time with only minor changes. It was added to my list of must haves and I got my copy shortly after it was released. I read it over a period of three days, it was hard to put down in between work and school because I just wanted to know what came next! Cassandra Gray, the main character, starts off kind of empty. Not in the character's sense, but in her life sense. She needs tears to survive and must do what she can to acquire enough to keep her refreshed and alive. She offers a helping hand at the hospital and at school, all to get enough tears to keep her and her great-grandmother going. She doesn't get to feel emotion, such as love and happiness and it begins to take it's toll on her. When the time comes that she meets Scott, not a jock or a prep but the boy next door, she finally starts realizing that there is more out there then just tears, that there may actually be happiness for her. But what will Cassandra do next, stay with her family and make the next generation, or will she become the one thing that breaks her off from her family completely, a human? Jones does a wonderful job bringing each of the characters to life. You don't always get to feel the emotions that the characters in the book do, but with this one you can. This will be going right to my "favorites" shelf. I can't wait for the next installation, I know it will be one that I will be picking up! Another plus of reading The Tear Collector was getting introduced to a great new author, new to me not to writing. I will be on the lookout for all of Jones' yet to come releases.
Here's an interview with none other that Patrick Jones himself!
1) I've never read a vampire story quite like this one, how did you come up with the energy vampire twist versus the typical bloodsucking vampire?
I knew that I wanted to write a vampire book after I handed one of my books to a teen girl and she looked at dismissively, then added, "I only read vampire books." So, it was a gauntlet, but knew I needed to use the vampire clichés but turn and twist them to make something new. The vampire genre seems sucked dry, so I took the basic idea of a creature that feeds off humans, and tweaked it. I choose tears because I write about teens. There's a line in the book about how there's not a day without drama turning trauma turning to tears in high school. The book presents an interesting dilemma for the main character: in order to survive, others must suffer.
2) You left the ending of the book open, are you thinking of writing a sequel?
I've also done with the good first rough draft of the sequel; I'm at 40,000 words and I try to hit 50,000 on the first draft. I read one review about people being frustrated that everything was revealed, but that was deliberate. There's enough of the first book to let the reader understand the basics of how Tear Collectors survive, but there's more to come (if people buy the book that is).
3) Why did you decide to write for young adults?
I've worked most of my life in libraries with teens, and thus the YA genre is certainly one that I know. When I wrote the first draft of my first novel Things Change, it was partly in response to all the bad preachy un-realistic realistic fiction I was reading as a teen librarian. But mainly, I think teens are fascinating. Everyone -- but more so with teens -- has a gap between the person people they think they, the person they really are, and the person they want to be. And that's intriguing; that's Cassandra in Tear Collector. Her friends think she's helping me, but they don't know she's using them. As she falls in love with a human, she wonders if a Tear Collector is what she wants to be. These conflicts of self are the stuff of YA fiction, realistic or supernatural, or the mix I used in this book. Oh, I also like to visit high schools and eat cafeteria French fries.
4) Out of all of the vampire stories out there, do you have a favorite?
That's easy: Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause. I've tried -- notice the word tried -- to read other YA vampire books and I find myself bored. There's nothing much new, or interesting. Also, I hate the plain girl only finds value in herself when the charismatic vampire emerges theme. I do recall trying to read Dracula in 6th grade because I loved the movie, but found the book impossible. So, for me, The Silver Kiss is still the gold standard of teen vampire fiction.
5) If there was one character in the book you could relate to most, who would it be?
Like most authors, every character is part of me. Scott (which happens to be my middle name) is someone I wish I would have been more like in high school. But probably I relate most to Cassandra. Writers for teens are tear collectors. We manipulate teens for our own ends. Not to make teens cry for energy, but to get them to turn the pages / buy our books. In all my books, but especially my first novel Things Change, I want teen reader to "suffer" with the ending. In Chasing Taillights, I want teens to "feel the pain" of the main character, get emotionally involved. Teen writers feed off the problems of teens. My books are about bullying, dating violence, drug use, sexual abuse, bad parenting, etc. This is emotional stuff. I want teens when they read my stuff to suffer along with the character. I am a teen novelist; I am a tear collector.
6) Do you have any upcoming books or something in the works?
With my editor now is a book called Clicked. I've had that title for almost two years but then in May 2009, it "clicked" and I wrote 60,000 words in ten days. I had some teens read it and made revisions, and now it's at my editor's hands. The story starts with the main character Carson returning from his school's homecoming football game. He goes up to his room to write an article about the game for his school newspaper, but he's distracted by the word "homecoming." Three years ago, Carson's older sister Carrie ran away from home and hasn't been heard from since. He finishes writing the story, and then he's alone on the computer. He's a teen boy, so soon he's looking at porn. Click. Click. And he comes across an image of his sister on a porn site. Well, the plot kind of takes off from there. I do have a sequel to Tear Collector almost done with the working title of Cassandra's Turn. The word "turn" has two meanings: it is "her turn" to start the next generation, but also the word is used as it is in professional wrestling as she "turns" from the hero to the heel. The sequel explores what happens with Brittney, follows Cass's desire to become human to be with Scott, develops the friendship with Samantha, as well as finding her cousin Alexei returning. I'll be posting some updates on the sequel - -as well as answering questions -- on the myspace for the book at www.myspace.com/thetearcollector.
Well, there you go everyone, Enjoy! And make sure you go and pick up your copy of The Tear Collector! :)