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Youngblood by Sasha Laurens ARC Review (Sapphic Vampires, y’all)

Genre: YA urban fantasy, vampires, LGBTQ+

Release date: July 19, 2022

Representation: Lesbian main characters, sapphic side character, Asian side character, trans and nonbinary side character

CW: blood, death, homophobia

Synopsis:

High school sucks. Especially for the undead.
 
For fans of Vampire Diaries and dark academia, two queer teen bloodsuckers at an elite vampire-only boarding school must go up against all of Vampirdom when they uncover a frightening conspiracy on campus.

Kat Finn and her mother can barely make ends meet living among humans. Like all vampires, they must drink Hema, an expensive synthetic blood substitute, to survive, as nearly all of humanity has been infected by a virus that’s fatal to vampires. Kat isn’t looking forward to an immortal life of barely scraping by, but when she learns she’s been accepted to the Harcote School, a prestigious prep school that’s secretly vampires-only, she knows her fortune is about to change.

Taylor Sanger has grown up in the wealthy vampire world, but she’s tired of its backward, conservative values—especially when it comes to sexuality, since she’s an out-and-proud lesbian. She only has to suffer through a two more years of Harcote before she’s free. But when she discovers her new roommate is Kat Finn, she’s horrified. Because she and Kat used to be best friends, a long time ago, and it didn’t end well.

When Taylor stumbles upon the dead body of a vampire, and Kat makes a shocking discovery in the school’s archives, the two realize that there are deep secrets at Harcote—secrets that link them to the most powerful figures in Vampirdom and to the synthetic blood they all rely on.

My Review

My rating: 4.5/5 stars

I loved this one! It was super fun and definitely a quick read since I was so into it. It gives me hope for this whole vampire revival phase we are jumping into lately.

The romance was 100% the best part of this book. The mutual pining was just *chef’s kiss* it hurt. Childhood bffs to enemies to lovers. Need I say more? Oh, did I mention it’s gay? Because yeah, it’s gay. And they actually say the word “lesbian” many times! Hooray! My standards are so low it’s horrifying! Taylor is actually the literal love of my life. Her sarcasm, her “I hate everyone but her” vibes, her defiance of the status quo? Amazing. I loved Kat too, but no offence she was kinda… dumb. Sorry Kat, nothing personal just the truth. Also there was a love confession in the rain (kinda) (if you read it you’ll see what I mean).

The mystery plot definitely took a backseat to the romance, at least for me. The conclusion was not obvious, but if you tried you could definitely figure it out faster than the main characters did. The miscommunication, the stupidity, the not seeing what’s right in front of their faces. So frustrating.

This book claims to be dark academia, and it definitely started out that way but the vibes faded fast. I think they went to class maybe three times total? And Kat did homework once. But the setting as a whole was very dark academia.

Moving on to the representation. The queer rep did not disappoint. However, every character but one was white, but it was kind of on purpose?? The author made a point of Kat pointing out the lack of POC students at Harcote, but like, I kind of feel like, just add them? Idk, I know she was probably trying to draw attention to the lack of inclusivity in the dark academia aesthetic but this is a YA novel, not an essay. Personally, I think it would have been better to have some POC characters, but I understand what was attempted.

Some of the dialogue, especially in the beginning, was super awkward, but by the end I did not notice anymore. Overall, this was super fun to read, I was completely sucked in and the romance was A+++++++.

Have you read Youngblood? Is it on your TBR? Opinions about the vampire comback in YA??? Chat with me in the comments!!

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