By: L.A. Matthies
Publication Date: October 2012
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: June 10, 2013
High school is hard. There's dating, sports, and lots of peer pressure. The last thing a student needs on top of all that is to have to deal with vampires. But that's just what Tristen McCoy and his friends have to do when they transfer from the local high school to the elite Curtis Hall.
The elite school that Tristen and his friends have transferred to has a unique history. Once a mansion sitting on fifty acres of tranquil beauty, the campus has grown to include many buildings. The truly unusual feature is that the mansion was built near a series of mine tunnels, thirty-five acres of tunnels. In addition to the maze of tunnels for the mines, there are numerous passages connecting the various buildings on campus. Marked well, they are kept open for emergency exits and use during bad weather. Of course, high school students tend to be quite curious so time and again, various students go exploring, and occasionally get lost, down below.
Back to the story...Tristen seems to have it all. He's smart, a star lacrosse player, and a definite hit with the ladies. When he runs into Marcella Venier (literally, he runs into her), he thinks he's found the woman of his dreams. Beautiful, smart, and at first, seemingly uninterested in Tristen. Marcella, however, has a lot of secrets, one of which just happens to be that she's a vampire.
Tristen's reaction to Marcella is strong, he's quite attracted but with her cold reaction to him, he doesn't think she shares his feelings. However, the truth is quite the opposite, but as a vampire, and one on a mission, Marcella hides her feelings as best she can. Marcella works as a research assistant for Professor Stavros, a brilliant scientist who loves research much more than teaching. Like Stavros, Marcella is quite involved with research, but not because she loves it. Rather, she is on a quest to find an elixir that will allow vampires to go out into the daylight without harm. Marcella’s research requires a substantial amount of blood, and conveniently, Curtis Hall is the site of many blood drives. All students are required to donate blood at least six times per year, which keeps Marcella's research flowing.
When Tristen is caught texting a friend in class, his punishment is to 'volunteer' at the upcoming blood drive. It turns out to be an interesting event as it's really the first time that Tristen and Marcella have a chance to talk, albeit not a deep, informative discussion but rather a short, uncomfortable chat. Marcella continues to hide her attraction to Tristen and tries to concentrate solely on her research, but there are other vampires at Curtis Hall, vampires that Marcella must keep under control.
As the attraction between Tristen and Marcella continues to grow, other relationships also go through changes. Tristen's long-time best friends from public school days, Billy and Sasha, have been an item, but when Sasha meets the suave and handsome Pierce, she realizes that Billy is really more like a brother to her and she tries, as best she can, to gently break up with him. As tensions rise, Bryce, a student from Curtis, goes missing in the tunnels. It will take more than Marcella's brute strength to save the young man from what lurks down in the dark tunnels, and so she enlists Tristen, and several others to help in the search. Secrets will be revealed, lives put in jeopardy, and the very existence of Curtis Hall questioned.
With a quick introduction to Marcella in the prologue, giving the reader a peak into her background, it doesn't take more than a few pages to get caught up in the story. Each fairly short chapter focuses on a different character, and there are several additional people we meet, primarily students intertwined in the events surrounding Tristen and Marcella. From Skye, the very cool, totally awesome vampire masquerading as a student, to the downright nasty Pietro, there are lots of personalities who share the pages and keep the story moving. We're also given a look at Marcella's backstory which adds a nice depth to the tale.
Quill says: If you love vampire stories, you should check out Surviving Curtis Hall for a unique and fun trip down some dark and creepy tunnels, sprinkled with just the right amount of romance.