A Taste for Red

Book review by
Abby Aldrich, Common Sense Media
A Taste for Red Book Poster Image
Creepy, funny vampire mystery is a page-turner.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

A couple of mentions of Sun Tzu's Art of War could lead to further exploration.

Positive Messages

The importance of doing the right thing.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Svetlana has a sense of superiority and is a bit snarky in the beginning, but not directly to others. She and her classmates are good, funny kids. The adults in the story are supportive, especially Ms. Bones, who takes Svetlana under her wing to develop her gift.


Three girls are kidnapped for the purpose of drinking their blood. A mention of a teacher found murdered. A child falls out of a window and breaks his arm. Svetlana is almost poisoned and she is almost run over by a van. Svetlana and her friends try to kill a vampire, but there is no gore.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this vampire read for middle graders is pretty mild for the genre. The violence is gore-free: a kidnapping, an almost-poisoning, someone falls out a window and breaks his arm, and an attempt to kill a vampire.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 11-year-old Written bythecoolaunt November 2, 2010

Great for Tweens

I have an 11 yr old niece, and we started our own little book club. This book was perfect for us! She's always trying to read books that are just a little... Continue reading
Parent of a 7 and 13-year-old Written byTampaBookWorm December 4, 2009

Wonderful Book! Perfect for Tweens!

This book was not what I was expecting. The author introduces a new take on vampires and supernatural creatures which I found interesting and refreshing. The wr... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old October 11, 2011

You Wouldn't Believe

I enjoyed reading this book 2 years back when I was 10. Slight gore, but not something the weak hearted couldn't handle. I like it because it doesn't... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old April 9, 2011

any age between 8-13

love it. if i knew what it was about i would love it even more

What's the story?

Svetlana Grimm is a new student at Sunny Hill middle school. Previously homeschooled, she finds herself in 6th grade where the classes are boring and the kids are friendly -- which is unfortunate because she wants to be a loner. She believes she is a vampire and soon finds herself involved in a mystery along with her neighbor, Ms. Bones, and her science teacher, Ms. Larch. When three of her classmates disappear and she discovers her true gift, she has to grow up quickly and figure out a way to help.

Is it any good?

A TASTE FOR RED is a very quick, entertaining read. The mystery goes along at a good pace and kids will be excited to see how it all turns out. Creepy and funny, Svetlana's Sunny Hill middle school will remind readers of Buffy Summers' Sunnydale high school. It's always great to see a female protagonist and Svetlana doesn't let us down.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about making new friends. Why did Svetlana start out rejecting her classmates' attempts at friendship?

  • Svetlana said, "I remember reading somwehere that the things you find to criticize in others are really the things you wish to improve in yourself." Do you think that's true? Have you ever had that experience?

Book details

  • Author: Lewis Harris
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Clarion Books
  • Publication date: June 15, 2009
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 9 - 12
  • Number of pages: 176
  • Last updated: June 19, 2019

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy and humor

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