Genre: Fiction, Horror, Vampires

Notes: Hollywood made this into a movie recently with Chloe Grace Moretz as Eli and Kodi Smit-McPhee as Oskar.  Yeah, I don’t recognize their names either.  But these were easier to type than the Swedish movie version.  I’ve never seen it, but I’m willing to be the Swedish version is graphic, bloody, and disturbing and the Hollywood version is only mildly horrifying.

Review: This novel gives me the creeps.  It’s not scary per se, but it’s definitely disturbing.  The book opens by introducing us to Oskar, a 12-year-old boy who endures merciless teasing at school.  He dreams of getting revenge on his torturers and has some red flag serial killer tendencies.    He buys the sharpest knife he can find and hacks at trees in the forest surrounding his home, pretending they are his attackers and taunts them as mimes dismembering their bodies.

In the midst of this craziness and serial killer training camp, a weird girl named Eli moves in next door with her “father.”  Oh hey, but guess what?  Eli’s a vampire.  And needs blood to survive.  And can’t come outside in the sunlight.  And has been 12 for like 200 years.

I don’t want to give too much away, so I can’t explain a ton, but this book will make you shiver.  Eli may or may not be a girl, her “father” may or may not be her father and might just possibly be a pedophile, and Oskar may or may not love a vampire.

However, one of the negative things about this novel is that I feel that Lindqvist focuses on too many side stories.  He illuminates the life of one of Oskar’s bullies and his absent father and follows one of the boys who lives in Oskar’s building and pretty much lives to huff glue.  Like, seriously, this side stories don’t matter.  They just feel like extra page count.  I don’t care why Oskar’s bullies bully him.  Do they really need a reason other than Oskar’s weakness?  I don’t think they added anything to the story or the narration or to the tension oozing out of its pages.  I really think the only thing that matters is the relationship between Eli and Oskar and that she/he’s a freaking vampire!

Bottom Line: If you hate that vampires sparkle in Twilight, Let the Right One In goes back to the darker side of vampires.  Eli still has human emotions and sometimes acts like a normal 12-year-old, but this book doesn’t shy away from the fact that vampires are still monsters.