The cover of Otherworldies amuses me because it has nothing to do with the contents of the book. Well, maybe it's a picture of what the protagonist will look like in five or so year; it sure doesn't look like the twelve year old girl in the story. It also promises a lot more vampire than Jennifer Anne Kogel's text delivers. It's especially funny compared with another Reading My Library Pick, Izmaylov's Galacterian Legacy, which had a cover picture of a girl five years younger than the protagonist. Good thing I picked out both books; they average each other out.
Otherworldies is about Fern, a girl who is horribly bullied by her peers at school, because she is sickly, sunburns easily, and prefers wearing her brother's hand-me-downs to designer clothes. She has a twin brother who loves and tries to protect her, an older brother who also loves her, and a hyper efficient single mother who expresses her love through high expectations and constant protectiveness. Oh, and she's also a vampire, but she doesn't figure that out for a few hundred pages (no one shows her the picture of her older self from the cover, I guess).
What makes this story interesting is the realistic stuff -- the mean kids at school, the vindictive teacher, the worried mother, the frustrated brother. But if the paranormal extras weren't there, it would be too easy to get impatient with whats-her-name; the fact that her problems stem from her extreme otherness keeps her more interesting and sympathetic. I admit that I wasn't expecting to enjoy this book; I had it pegged as an almost-YA vampire book, but its firm roots in kidlit kept the focus on character, danger, and plot rather than silly romances, so I ended up quite liking it. I'll see if my 7th grader wants to plow through it before he leaves for vacation (he's got two days left!).
Well, actually I'm posting this long after he returned from vacation, and I couldn't get him past the cover, which screamed "vampire love triangles" at him. Too bad, he would've liked it.