Book Review: Sunshine, by Robin McKinley

Okay, I’m just going to tell you first off: this is a vampire book. But don’t worry – it’s nothing like Twilight. Sunshine takes place in a world that does not appear to be our own: supernatural beings (as in vampires, demons, etc.) called “Others” inhabit this world along with humans. Yet humans, the majority, manage to live in peace with most of these Others – except, of course, for the vampires. Yes, these are your traditional can’t-come-out-in-daylight vampires, and yes, they do drink human blood (sorry, no vegetarians here).

Rae (nicknamed Sunshine) is the unlikely heroine of the story. She is the baker at her stepdad’s restaurant, a coffee shop named Charlie’s. She spends her days making cinnamon rolls and chatting with customers and other employees (including her mother and boyfriend). Sunshine is a normal girl; she’s never had to worry about vampires before. But when she drives out to a secluded lake one night, she ends up getting kidnapped by – you guessed it – vampires.

The plot that follows is an original one, as far as vampire novels go. With an unfamiliar setting and an unusual heroine, Sunshine is not what you’d expect. Firstly, there are no chapters (instead, this 400-page novel is divided into four parts). Secondly, I wouldn’t describe this as a romantic novel, so you don’t have to worry about any human-vampire love stories. And thirdly, the book is not taken up by dialogue, or even action – it seems to mostly consist of thoughts. To be exact, they are Sunshine’s own musings as well as her explanations about her friends and family, her job at the coffee shop, and – most of all – the supernatural. The reader is allowed this intimate look into Sunshine’s most personal thoughts, which allows us to feel a close connection and understanding of her. Sunshine’s descriptions of the world around her feel both realistic and unique, never cliché. However, Sunshine’s musings can feel drawn-out and unnecessary at times, almost to the point of rambling (I sometimes felt myself wishing for a little less thought and a little more action). This particularly becomes a problem in the middle of the book, where the plot slows down and becomes slightly convoluted with extra information and characters that do not seem important to the overarching storyline. But despite these minor flaws, Sunshine is definitely a worthwhile read. If you are a lover of vampire novels, Sunshine is another to try, and even if you don’t like vampire novels (as in the vein of Twilight), Sunshine’s originality may be enough to change your mind.

Review by , teen blogger

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