Invitation to a Stranger by Margaret Pearce

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     A new boy in the district. Ronnie and her girlfriends Katie and Jasmine think Drake Demento is something special. It is odd that he is never around during the day and unfortunate that his family are so unpleasant. He seems to have found Jasmine’s missing cat, but now Jasmine is unconscious and in hospital.

     No one is going to take any notice of a superstitious old grandmother who believes that the Demonto family are evil vampires. And if there are no such things as vampires, just people with odd dietary habits, Ronnie and Katies have to somehow manage to rescue the missing people and animals from a very dangerous place. (-synopsis from Goodreads)

     The book begins like a typical teenage romance with Ronnie and her friends having a crush on the older, and mysterious, Drake.  Things seem normal until the animals in the neighborhood begin disappearing.  The girls find one of the missing cats in a pet shop and the owner said that Drake brought him in.

     Soon one of the girls, Jasmine, is found in Drake’s yard unconscious.  When she wakes up in the hospital she doesn’t recognize anyone.  Ronnie and Katie decide to find out what happened to Jasmine at Drake’s house.  The only problem is they have to stay away from Drake’s evil cousins.

     The girls aren’t able to solve the mystery and soon Ronnie’s brother and his best friend are missing.  Will they ever see him again?

     I thought the basis for this story was interesting.  The girls seem like typical teenagers laughing, being silly, and crushing on boys.  I could tell that they care about one another and want to keep each other safe.

    I also liked how mysterious Drake and his family were.  The girls begin to think he is a vampire but Drake lets them know that isn’t the case.  Throughout the book we’re never quite sure what the family is and we never find out.  It’s mysterious but it works with this story.

     The one thing I didn’t like about the book was the lack of emotions from the characters.  When Ronnie’s brother goes missing she simply goes to bed.  There are several times when the author makes reference to her mother’s eyes being red but Ronnie keeps on going to netball practice, hanging out with her friends, and never once seems upset that he is missing.  It was very unrealistic to me.  

     I enjoyed the book and thought it was an easy read but that it needed a little more depth and explanation as to what exactly was going on in the Demonto house.

I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.  

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