Three months after his eighteenth birthday, Nathaniel Keene died… And that was only the beginning of his troubles. In this debut novel by Aditi Ramaswamy, the titular character – a soft-spoken honor roll student and budding entomologist – thought he’d spend his senior year studying Kafka and integrals. Well… turns out Fate has other plans for him. Within a month of moving to Lovelace, California, he joins the ranks of the undead, befriends a rather talkative beetle, and becomes the prime suspect in a murder investigation. Can Nat’s un-life get any weirder? Yes. Yes, it can.
(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)
If you love vampires, or like them even a wee bit, then there’s a high probability you’ve watched one tv show, one movie featuring the creatures of the night. More than likely, you have books featuring them on your shelf or nestled on your e-reader. You know vamps. You know how they become what they are and how to kill one. Nothing Aditi wrote about could possibly surprise you about them, right? If you’re quick to answer yes, then you’d be wrong.
Sure Aditi stayed true to the myths regarding garlic, mirrors, heighten senses, and increase in strength. However, her tale embellished in one particular area to add a bit of humor to the storyline. We know you have to invite a vampire in before he/she/it can cross over the threshold into your humble abode. This is where Aditi took things one step farther. When Nat came home, his mom had to invite him inside every room of their home. It took about twenty minutes but once the deed was done, it was done period. Thankfully, she didn’t have to repeat the process. At school, the teachers had to invite him into their classrooms — new room, again new invite.
Speaking of teachers, one did have the unfortunate chance of dying and becoming a cockroach. I KID YOU NOT… it happened. Surprisingly, Ms, Flowers (cockroach) was more pleasant, more humorous, more of a joy to be around in her creepy crawling bug form than in a human bod.
Other notes of humor: (Charlotte to Nat) “More blood, sweetheart?” I’ve had some weird conversation with my teenager son but this one beats all of ours — combined. Ranger’s name: Paul McCartney. Yes, Aditi made plays on his name a time or two. I could go on and on about what I loved about “Nathaniel Keene” but I won’t. I will say this young author, Aditi Ramaswamy, has a very bright future ahead of her.
Oh, and after reading this review, I’d love to know if anyone else got the impression Aditi has created an updated version of the Scooby Doo gang featuring the Quiz Bowl team + Ms. Flowers (cockroach). I mean, they are teenagers with a “talking pet” who like solving mysteries and they have a new mystery on their hands (cue part 2).
I can’t wait for the sequel! I’m sure it’ll be another entertaining read.
Heart Rating System – 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest)
Aditi is a 19-year-old sophomore at the University of Michigan; she’s majoring in Computer Science and History, and minoring in German and Caffeine Addiction. She has always loved vampire fiction, mostly because she herself is a soulless, undead creature of the night (also known as a “college student”). It is only natural, then, that her first book series is about a dorky vampire.