More than Magic: Semester Aboard

Semester Aboard (More than Magic #1) - Elizabeth Kirke This is the description I read of this book: Jen is looking forward to spending an entire summer studying abroad on a cruise ship and she knows the experience will change her life. Then she sees something she wasn't supposed to see, something she can't explain. Jen finds herself thrust into a world she never knew existed and her life will change more than she imagined. That is, if she can survive the dangers lurking on the ship. Now, really, it's kind of my own fault I didn't like this book as well as I might have. I don't read reviews before I read a book. If I had done so this time, I might have known that it was littered with vampires and werewolves -- and I don't read vampire/werewolf books (at least, not since I was in my late teens/early 20s, which was some time ago). The description above does nothing to indicate that this is a vampire novel.And yet, that's just what it is. I blame Stephanie Meyer for the fact that damn near every YA author out there thinks that they have to put a vampire in their book. Well, guess what? It is possible to right a fantasy novel without a single, solitary bloodsucker in sight.So, in short: this is the story of Jen, a college student studying abroad in Central and South America, via ship. She makes new friends who turn out to be water elementals, fire elementals -- both differentiated from naiads and salamanders, which makes no sense -- a reluctant vampire, a mermaid and a werewolf. And, of course, the ship eventually comes under attack by a horde of vampires and it's kind of up to Jen to save the day. The last time vampires were a big trend (when I was in my late teens/early 20s), there was a film called "The Lost Boys." When the family leaves the fictional town of Santa Carlita, the grandfather (whom they've been trying to keep from knowing about the town's biggest plague) says "You know what I've always hated about Santa Carlita? Too many god-damned vampires."That pretty much sums up my feelings about YA in general nowadays, and this book in particular.