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  • Suck It Up
  • Written by Brian Meehl
  • Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9780440420910
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  • Suck It Up
  • Written by Brian Meehl
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780375848940
  • Our Price: $7.99
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Suck It Up

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Written by Brian MeehlAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Brian Meehl

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List Price: $7.99

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On Sale: May 13, 2008
Pages: | ISBN: 978-0-375-84894-0
Published by : Delacorte Books for Young Readers RH Childrens Books
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vampires (25) ya (11) fiction (10) humor (9) heroes (8) young adult (7) fantasy (6) supernatural (4) identity (4)
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

“A refreshing take on the vampire romance.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred

Are you up to your neck in bloodsucking vampire stories?

Tired of those tales about dentally enhanced dark lords?

Before I wrote this book I thought all vampires were night-stalking, fangpopping, bloodsucking fiends. Then I met Morning McCobb. He’s a vegan vampire who drinks a soy-blood substitute called Blood Lite. He believes staking should be a hate crime. And someday he hopes to march in a Vampire Pride Parade. He was also the first vampire to out himself and try to show people of mortality, like you and me, that vampires are just another minority with special needs. Trust me—this is like no other vampire book you’ll ever feed on.

So, as my buddy Morning says, “Pop the lid, and suck it up.”

“Appealing characters and an original vampire world. Delightful for those who like their romance vaguely paranormal, their adventure romantic and their vampires defanged.”—Kirkus Reviews

“A flawed and affable protagonist . . . snarky humor, outsider-looking-in perspective, and fresh new takes on the familiar.”—School Library Journal

Excerpt

"In the end is beginning." Luther Birnam's deep voice rained down from the high platform, charging the air above a wide semicircle of cadets. "In the beginning is end." Standing in white graduation gowns, the handsome young men and beautiful young women blazed with pride. "Today, you end your life as a Loner, and begin your new life as a Leaguer!"
The cadets erupted in cheering applause.
The last student in the arcing line clapped with just enough enthusiasm not to be noticed. For the ten months Morning McCobb had attended Leaguer Academy, being invisible had been mission number one. It wasn't easy. It never is when you're the class freak.
At sixteen, Morning was younger and skinnier than his cookie-cutter classmates. While their gowns swelled over the bodies of hunks and hotties in their late teens and twenties, Morning's robe hung from his bony shoulders like it was still on the hanger. Even his hair was different. The male cadets had coifs that never moved from their last mirror check. The women had wavy manes that bounced to perfection. Morning's hair resembled a patch of wheatgrass small animals had recently bedded down in.
As the cadets continued to whistle and fist-pump, Morning's dark eyes scanned the line. They reminded him of dogs straining at their leashes. He wished he had the X-Men superpowers of Banshee. He would strafe the cadets with a sonic blast, stunning them into a hypnotic trance so Mr. Birnam could finish his speech.
Unfortunately, Birnam tossed them another bone. "Today ends your long night as prisoners of darkness, and begins your day as masters of light!"
The roar of approval was doubled by the throng of teachers and visitors jamming the grandstand. The sound bounced around the great cavern inside Leaguer Mountain like bottled thunder.
Adding his token applause, Morning realized the powers of Banshee weren't enough. He needed the skills of the supervillain Dr. Chronos. Wielding his powers of time-compression, he could fast-forward the commencement to over. It wasn't that Morning wasn't excited about graduating. He was. The sooner he got out of Leaguer Mountain, the sooner his classmates would stop rubbing his face in the dismal truth. While they looked like perfectly chiseled Abercrombie models, no amount of pumping iron would ever make Morning buff. No surge of hormones would ever change his face from boyish to manly. He was stuck with peach fuzz and a body that was more stick-of-gum than stud. And there was nothing he could do about it. Ever.
That's how it was with vampires. Shape-shifting allowed, aging not.
Of course, Leaguer vampires didn't call it "shape-shifting" anymore. In Vampire Vocabulary and Leaguer Lexicon class, Morning had learned that "shape-shifting" belonged to the dark ages of the twentieth century. All vampires who belonged to the IVL-the International Vampire League-had word-shifted to the more scientifically accurate "cell differentiation." CD, for short.
The crowd hushed as Birnam raised his hands. "To commemorate your journey from darkness to light, I will now present your diplomas. When you hear your name, demonstrate the mastery of your powers by ascending the platform in one of the Six Forms. After receiving your diploma, you will then descend in the only incarnation you will ever need again: a Leaguer among Leaguers."
Morning's stomach flopped like a landed fish. He dreaded this part of the ceremony. Yes, in CD 101, he had stumbled through the Six Forms of cell differentiation and managed to pass, but it was like being the worst kid in gym. He never knew how he was going to screw up; he only knew it would probably end in humiliation.
For Morning, this wasn't the worst part of being a vampire. The worst part was the irony of it all. As a kid, he had dreamed of an accident transforming him into a superhero. Like the spider bite that turned Peter Parker into Spider-Man. Or the lab accident that mutated Jon Osterman into Dr. Manhattan. Unfortunately, Morning's little snafu involved a vampire bite. And yeah, being a vampire came with a few superpowers, but it wasn't exactly a skill set you used for saving people.
Mr. Birnam called the first name. "Dieter Auerbach." A brawny young man jogged forward. After a few strides, his white gown billowed, and a sleek gray wolf darted from under the falling robe. The wolf trotted toward the tower.
"Our first graduate has chosen the Fifth Form: the Runner," Birnam announced.
The wolf broke into a lope, surged forward, and leaped onto the lowest platform protruding from the spiraling tower. With flawless grace, the animal sprang from platform to platform. When Dieter's wolf landed at the top next to Birnam, the crowd rewarded him with applause.
Birnam held up a long, rolled diploma. The wolf spun and CDed back into human form. Dieter was now sheathed in skintight, black underarmor. The glistening material accented every muscle in his flawless body.
The sight of underarmor gripped Morning in panic. He pulled at his gown, peeked underneath, and sighed with relief. Yes, he'd remembered to put on his black Epidex.
One of the things Morning was thankful for was that he had become a vampire after Leaguer scientists invented Epidex. Before Epidex, when a vampire CDed there was no way he, or she, could take their clothes with them. When they CDed back to human form they came back butt naked. Of course, there were still some vampires, known as Loners, who practiced all the old ways, and could care less if they ran around naked. Loner vampires streaked, Leaguers didn't.
In Leaguer Science, Morning had remembered enough about the history of Epidex to manage a C on his final. Epidex was invented when a vampire scientist asked, "If human skin is an external organ, could an artificial skin be invented that became both an external and internal organ?" After many failures, a Leaguer egghead invented Epidex. Somehow, Epidex combined a carbon-polymer blend with nanotechnology into a living tissue that fed off the electrical current that flowed through all bodies. And somehow, when vampires CDed, the big electrical surge it created transformed the Epidex into an internal organ. It stayed that way until the vampire switched back to human form and the Epidex re-externalized. While Morning knew his less-than stunning summary of Epidex wouldn't earn him an A, he thought he at least deserved a B because of his clever conclusion: "Epidex is the underwear of underwears."


From the Hardcover edition.
Brian Meehl

About Brian Meehl

Brian Meehl - Suck It Up

Photo © Bruce Ando

My adventure began in a pushing-and-shoving match with my twin brother to see who would be first in birth. He won. I pouted for six minutes before heading for daylight. Coming in second, and being the youngest of four kids, sealed my fate as a spirited showoff. I soon donned a black cape, hat, and mask and became Zorro. I was hopelessly caught in the cloak of imagination. My father reading us books like Treasure Island and Robinson Crusoe drew the cloak tighter.

Many writers have a defining moment when they realize they want to be a writer. I’m still waiting for mine. But I do remember a moment when I realized I had a playful expression management problem. One night, when I was six or seven, and my parents were subjecting us to the agony of listening to classical music on the radio, I lay on the floor in the dark and found myself conducting the music with facial expressions. Try it sometime, it’s fun.

The dream of becoming the first face-conductor soon faded in the exhilarating rush of sports and girls. These two pursuits satisfied my creative urges through junior high. Then, in 10th grade, I became a passionate writer. Not by choice. Having moved from Iowa to North Carolina, and having failed to kidnap my girlfriend and bring her along, I had to settle for the next best thing: writing an endless stream of love letters. A pattern was beginning to emerge–express yourself or perish from misery.

Then came the next blow that pivoted into blessing. Attending college back in the Midwest, I was too small to play football or not good enough to play any other sport. Thrashing about for some kind of outlet, who should appear but Zorro, the Ghost of Costumes Past. Raising his sword, he pointed to the theater and the dance studio. Before finishing college, I joined a theater company in Maine, barnstormed around the country for five years, then landed on Broadway in the mime and body-puppeteering show Mummenschanz. The cloak of imagination was now figurative and literal.

Joining Sesame Street as Barkley, the big sheepdog, I was soon doing various Muppet characters, including Telly Monster, the fiend of fretting. As Barkley, I bounded around China and Japan in specials with Big Bird. Work on several Jim Henson films included the chance to express myself and perish as the Dying Master in The Dark Crystal.

The downside of long hours in film and TV studios is all the downtime. Besides growing restless, I had a wife and two young daughters I was seeing too little of. So I traded life in front of the camera for life behind it. I became a children’s television writer. With that change came the writer’s greatest perk: a 20-second commute in your socks. I wrote for Eureka’s Castle, The Magic School Bus, Eyewitness, Prehistoric Planet, Cyberchase, and even went to the Balkans to write a show in Macedonia. After lugging home an Emmy for Between the Lions in 2004, my now teenage daughters said it all: “Cool.”

But every TV writer has a weakness. Mine is writing long (e.g., this bio). The cure arrived in writing my first children’s novel, Out of Patience. It gave me the chance to return to my midwestern roots, and write a story about a boy who feels trapped in his tiny hometown. It also allowed me to have fun with such notions as the first flush toilet west of the Mississippi, and the dreaded Plunger of Destiny. Obviously, such notions were in desperate need of being expressed, of finding a voice. I’m thrilled they found me.


BIO BITS THAT ENDED UP ON THE EDITING ROOM FLOOR
or
FREAKY AND UNFORTUNATE FACTS ABOUT ME:


MOST MORTIFYING MOMENT EVER: First day of third grade, teacher’s calling the roll. She calls my name, “Here.” Then she calls my brother’s name, “Here,” and she realizes, “Oh, you’re twins!” Then my brother–who hated being a twin–shouts, “No, Brian flunked a grade!”

WORST THING ABOUT GROWING UP: My family didn’t have a TV.

BEST THING ABOUT GROWING UP: My family didn’t have a TV.

MADDEST I EVER MADE A TEACHER: When I accidentally spelled “as” with two Ss.

COOLEST PLACE I EVER LIVED: In a teepee in the woods of Maine.

WEIRDEST PLACE I EVER LIVED: Where I live now, on the property where Mark Twain died. I’ll let you know if Twain’s ghost ever makes an appearance.

STRANGEST THINGS ABOUT MY NAME: It used to be Muehl (pronounced meal). Before that it was Mühl. But who wants a name with a smile button in the middle of it?

GREATEST FEAR: Getting lost in research.

GREATEST JOY: Getting lost in research.

EASIEST THING FOR ME TO WRITE: To do lists.

HARDEST THING FOR ME TO WRITE: My next novel.

BEST PIECE OF TOILET TRIVIA I COULDN’T WORK INTO OUT OF PATIENCE: My great-great-grandfather was a justice of the peace in Missouri in the late 1800s. After administering marital vows to a pair of newlyweds, he had a special way of reminding them of the domestic life they were about to share. He asked them to toast their marriage by drinking from a chamber pot filled with beer and a German sausage.

GREATEST AMBITION: To work that into a story someday.
Praise

Praise

Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, April 28, 2008:
"A refreshing take on the brooding vampire romance, with a misfit vampire protagonist readers are certain to love."


From the Hardcover edition.

  • Suck It Up by Brian Meehl
  • August 11, 2009
  • Juvenile Fiction - Paranormal
  • Delacorte Books for Young Readers
  • $8.99
  • 9780440420910

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