Mere Mortals by Erin Jade Lange
Out Now from HarperTeen; 368 pages
Content Warning: Action sequences, death, violence
About the Author: “Erin Jade Lange is the author of Mere Mortals as well as four other young adult novels, including her debut, Butter. As a former journalist, Erin wrote facts for 18 years. Her contemporary novels confront real-world issues from a teenage lens, and her paranormal novel provides young adult readers with an escape from that real world” (Bio from the author’s website).
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After a century of being vampires, siblings Charlie and Reg are sentenced to becoming mortals after Charlie accidentally overfeeds on a mortal. Losing their immortality feels like immediate death, and they struggle to adapt to their new mortal emotions. The transition isn’t made any easier by having to live with the vampire slayer who turned them human in Nowhere, Iowa. But most frightening of all, the teens are enrolled in Hope High School, where they are forced to interact with the humans they used to feed on. However, the siblings quickly make friends and develop crushes, learning to value the little things mortal life can offer, including sunshine, love, and coffee. As Charlie continues to beg the Elder Council to make them vampires again, the siblings must consider if reclaiming their immortality is worth betraying the town and forfeiting their new lives.
Mere Mortals is the reverse vampire story I needed. It can be difficult to find fresh vampire stories when they so often concentrate on transforming into a vampire and idolizing immortality. However, Mere Mortals focuses on the opposite and emphasizes all of the benefits of being human that are often overshadowed in similar books. While Charlie and Reg’s conversion is humorous at times, it also uncovers the more complex aspects of being human, including navigating human emotion and love. The friendships and relationships the siblings form are meaningful and help highlight Charlie’s change to be more open and respectful toward others. I found Charlie to be an entertaining narrator with her confident and snarky nature. Similarly, every other character has an interesting personality that contributes to the plot and fun antics. I particularly liked the twins Sophia and Sydney, who helped Charlie become a better person through her participation in the Halloween Hoopla committee. While I was blindsided by a major twist, the most surprising aspect of Mere Mortals was how much this young adult vampire novel has made me philosophize and reflect. The idea of morality and the brevity of the human lifespan are frequently discussed, along with the struggles of mortality. However, despite these challenges, Lange encourages the celebration of mortality. Charlie and Reg are the amusing vampire-duo-turned-human you can’t afford to miss!
Emilee Ceuninck, Pine Reads Review Lead Writer & Editor