Abigail Rath Vs. Bloodsucking Fiends, by Catherine Schaff-Stump

Abigail Rath Vs. Bloodsucking Fiends - CoverJust finished reading a review copy of my friend Catherine Schaff-Stump‘s fun new middle-grade fantasy Abigail Rath Versus Bloodsucking Fiends.

Here’s the official summary:

At thirteen years old, Abigail Rath knows she is a lean, mean, monster-hunting machine, just like her mom and dad. After all, she’s learned everything she knows from the horror movies her dad has starred in. When her best friend Vince comes to her with news he’s being stalked by a vampire, her professional opinion is they should go out and stake him.

It turns out that Abby’s monster hunting parents haven’t been entirely straightforward with Abby about what being a monster hunter means. Alarmed at Abby’s behavior, Abby is grounded and both Abby and her parents try to introduce more normalcy into Abby’s life. At the same time, odd things start happening at school to Abby’s friends. What should Abby do about the new supernatural creatures in her life, now that she doesn’t know exactly what the rules are? How can she protect her friends and her family without continually getting detention? And how will she survive her mother taking her to the mall?

It took me a chapter or so to get into the voice and the tone — I’d just finished an epic fantasy, so switching to a first-person middle-school monster-hunter was a bit of a jolt. But the book drew me in and kept me reading.

It’s a fun, light story, which is the sort of thing I need these days. I like how the book builds from more “normal” conflicts — popularity, limbo contests, field hockey, bullying (admittedly, it’s all messier with vampires) — to more serious stakes and consequences. Abigail grows a lot as she learns the difference between her movie-informed ideas about what it means to be a monster hunter and the risks and dangers of the real thing.

I also liked Abigail’s family. Both parents are in the picture, and she also has a bit of an extended supernatural family. It’s nice to read about that kind of love and support, as well as the inevitable conflicts that come with family 🙂

Book two in the series, Abigail Rath Versus Mad Science, comes out on July 7.

Amazon has a “Look Inside” preview if you’d like to check out a bit of book one.