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Tantalize
Book
2007
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Trade Reviews

  Booklist Review

If Joan Bauer took a crack at dark fantasy, the result would probably be something like this gothic-horror comedy, set in an Italian restaurant reopening as a vampire-themed supper club. When someone murders the chef and more brutal killings follow, Quince scrambles to keep the family business alive and to escape with her own soul intact. From the teen's crush on her hybrid-werewolf best friend to her difficulty managing the stresses of an after-school job, Smith cleverly manipulates typical YA experiences to suit the book's alternate-reality context. The macabre conspiracy revealed at book's end, connecting to Quince's increasing dependence on a blood-red beverage she presumes is wine, will take few readers by surprise. But the immersion in food culture--including an overhauled menu, as grisly as it is gourmet--successfully builds on the sensual aspects of vampire mythology. For teens who ask for seconds, refer to the Read-alikes feature After the First Bite, in Booklist, May 15, 2006. --Jennifer Mattson Copyright 2007 Booklist

  Kirkus Review

Smith takes readers inexorably from the commonplace (a teen who cuts classes and performs restaurant kitchen prep) to the fantastical (wine that's more than just the color of blood and a host of were-creatures) in a clearly recognizable Austin, Texas. It starts in sunshine: Quincie and her uncle are about to reopen the family restaurant with a vampire theme. But someone or something kills Vaggio, their beloved chef. Quincie's best friend Kieren--werewolf on his Irish mother's side--falls under suspicion. In waltzes Brad, willing to replace Vaggio; he's deeply into the food and, it seems, Quincie, who at 17 is discovering both wine and desire. Sunlight gives way to darkness: Quincie must make a terrifying choice in a heart-pounding climax that will have teen readers weeping with both lust and sorrow. The storytelling is straightforward but elegant and will hold infinite appeal to the vampire-loving crowd. (Fiction. YA) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Summary
Are you predator or prey? <br> <br> CLASSIFIED ADS: RESTAURANTS<br> SANGUINI'S: A VERY RARE RESTAURANT IS HIRING A CHEF DE CUISINE. DINNERS ONLY.<br> APPLY IN PERSON BETWEEN 2:00 AND 4:00 PM.<br> <br> Quincie Morris has never felt more alone. Her parents are dead, and her hybrid-werewolf first love is threatening to embark on a rite of passage that will separate them forever. Then, as she and her uncle are about to unveil their hot vampire-themed restaurant, a brutal murder leaves them scrambling for a chef. Can Quincie transform their new hire into a culinary Dark Lord before opening night? Can he wow the crowd in his fake fangs, cheap cape, and red contact lenses -- or is there more to this earnest face than meets the eye? As human and preternatural forces clash, a deadly love triangle forms, and the line between predator and prey begins to blur. Who's playing whom? And how long can Quincie play along before she loses everything? TANTALIZE marks Cynthia Leitich Smith's delicious debut as a preeminent author of dark fantasy.
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