Listen up fiction lovers! Series editor Tabatha Hanly here, and today on the Fiction Reboot we have a very special treat: the release of the first Jacob Maresbeth Chronicles novel High Stakes by our very own Dr. Brandy Schillace!
Normally these types of features would include some background on the author, maybe why she chose to write in Young Adult Fiction or why her novels focus on the intersections of myth, medicine, fantasy, and reality, but in this case I think we regular readers probably have all of those answers, and while the fascinating Dr. Schillace might be worth talking about some more, it’s more fun to get to the book right away (but here’s some Brandy-centric info for the curious).
For many of you, this is a long-awaited event- having read the first chapter here on the blog, you want her to hurry up and give us the rest already! And now she has! Available in bookstores today, High Stakes offers all the thrills, chills, and awkward teenage spills of a young not-a-vampire dealing with something much more terrifying than drinking blood: girls.
“I’m not a vampire,” insists Jacob Maresbeth, teenage journalist for the school paper. But what is a vampire, really? What happens if you have all the right symptoms, but are a living, breathing sixteen-year-old boy?
Diagnosed with a rare disease, Jake can’t help but wonder. After eight years in and out of the Newport News hospital, he’s had it up to here with doctors, diseases and dishonesty. After all, Jake’s father, respected neurologist Franklyn Maresbeth, has been hiding some of his more unusual symptoms for years… particularly that part about drinking blood.
In High Stakes, Jake records his summer vacation in the home of his maiden aunt, the bangled and be-spectacled Professor Sylvia. If that isn’t bad enough (and it is), Jake and his theatre-loving sister Lizzy must keep the “unofficial” details of Jake’s disorder a secret from Aunt Sylvia’s seductively beautiful graduate student, Zsofia. Will Jake survive a whole month pretending to be an invalid? Will Zsofia weaken his resolve with her flirtatiously dangerous Hungarian accent? Will Jake lose his heart–in more ways than one?
Speaking as one of the privileged few to have read an early edition of High Stakes, I promise it’s engrossing, entertaining, and unexpected, besides, it’s got a pun right in the title, what more could you ask for? (you know…because of the vampires… stakes… nevermind). As always, Brandy’s skill with smooth, witty, debonair characters… that’s a lie– Jake trips over his own tongue and his own head, but don’t worry, that’s even better than if he were funny on purpose. But whether it’s the protagonist himself, his clever little sister Lizzy (little sisters are always the smartest) or the fuzzy academic aunt (whose absent-mindedness may hit a little close to home for some), or even the sultry graduate student (someone has to give us a good name!), someone in The Jacob Maresbeth Chronicles will leave you pestering Brandy for the sequel which will be coming out shortly after High Stakes!