Blood Orange Soda by James Michael Larranaga

Told from the perspective of a high school freshman boy, the narrative is laden with teenaged angst, misogynistic teenaged fantasy girls and plenty of personal perspective to give readers a sense of Darius, the one that he hides behind makeup, posturing and the quintessential teen rebellion of “being different while being exactly the same”.

A futuristic setting, where Blood Orange Soda can transform one into a vampire, and the government restrictions about “no biting’ is enforced by a daily dose of Reds, a pill that slows or halts the transition. 

There is a curious mix in the story that will elicit responses of very different natures:  there is Darius and his home life, where he is very much a caretaker for his little sister and his sickly mother, even as he steals eyeliner and other makeup products that enhance his goth image.  At school, he is bullied and picked on, with a small group of friends who are all very emo and goth he has a band, and yet, there is something strong and determined in this overly angst ridden boy.

Larranaga does a wonderful job in building and detailing the world for this story, his conversations feel real and you can understand, if not appreciate, Darius’ thought process. While I did not, and could not read this in one sitting: that was entirely MY issue, there is only so much teenaged boy angst that I can deal with in a sitting without starting to find myself rolling my eyes or deciding enough is enough.  While that may prejudice older readers, it was to this author’s credit that I actually cared what was going to happen next, and found Darius a character that was, by the end, very sympathetic and forced to take on much more than his limited years should have given him.

I think that this will be a good book for the teenaged boys in your life, or parents of teens and those coming into those trying years.  I appreciated the perspective and insights, and the quirky setting for a premise that is unlike any I have seen before makes this a unique title to add to your list.

Blood Orange Soda by James Michael Larranaga

Title: Blood Orange Soda
Author: James Michael Larranaga
Genre: Literary Fiction, Teen Reads
Published by: Self-Published
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 257
Rated: four-stars
Get Your Copy: Amazon
See this Title on Goodreads

Darius Hunter is a bullied high school freshman. When he drinks Blood Orange Soda to transform into a Vampire and earn respect, he soon learns life as a Vampire has its own challenges.

Set in the future on the rural landscape of St. Cloud, Minnesota where pre-Vampire teens are required by the government to take a daily Red pill to prevent their urge to bite, Blood Orange Sodais a coming of age story of love, life and death.

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

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