Pretty Dead

Common Sense Media says

Pretty graphic and explicit for a teen vampire read.





What parents need to know

Educational value
Not applicable
Positive messages

Negative messages only. Any means to an end, no remorse. Violence, sex, and death are glorified.

Positive role models

As fallen angels, these vampires have no remorse and no goal but personal pleasure at any cost, including the corruption of young, innocent teens.


An episode of S&M sex. Wrists slit in a bathtub. Murder and suicide figure heavily into the plot and death is seen as beautiful. Annihilation is glorified and violence is a means to any end.


It is strongly implied that Charlotte has sex with her 13-year-old twin brother. Graphic, adult sex scenes would be rated "R" in a movie version. Very old vampires seduce very young teens. Descriptions of sexual acts performed in public places.


"F--k," "s--t," and  "hell" are all uttered.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

All of the main characters drink large amounts of wine frequently.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is vampire horror on the level of Anne Rice. It features very explicit sex and exploitation of teens for vampire gratification. Horrific acts of murder and destruction are spectator sports. This book should not be marketed for teens.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Charlotte is a century-old vampire stuck in a 17-year-old body. At 13 she had a forbidden tryst with her twin brother. When he dies two years later she is devastated and easily seduced by a vampire. Her lover claims to be a fallen angel, aka a demon. After spending decades with him witnessing first hand atrocities such as Auchwitz and Hiroshima (just for fun), she leaves him to live in California. There she befriends 17-year-old Emily and tries to steal her boyfriend Jared by any horrible means necessary.

Is it any good?


PRETTY DEAD has been praised for its prose, mythology, and erotic power. But graphic, psychopathic violence and graphic, adult sex in a teen book? Fans of Block’s sexy urban fairy tales will not expect this complex and decadent novel and it may mislead them with its traditional vampire storyline and sympathy for the difficulties teen girls face. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the vampire craze. What do you think makes them so popular?

  • Families can also talk about why this popular teen author has gone this direction. Who do you think the book is right for?

Book details

Author:Francesca Lia Block
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:September 22, 2009
Number of pages:208
Publisher's recommended age(s):14 - 17
Read aloud:15
Read alone:16

This review of Pretty Dead was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written byKatherineLovesJake July 11, 2010


love it!sex isnt anything anyone over the age of nine hasnt heard or done.its a great book
What other families should know
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written bygoth-girrl January 10, 2011

9-(what ever age) : )

i l<3ve it! its a book thats mixed with sex, mystery and danger and you realy have to pay atention to that to figur out the story and i think that if u love vampire\goth\love stuff then read it! go for it ! : )! x
Parent of a 6 year old Written bymadsmooney1214 July 16, 2012

pretty dead

vampire storyline and sympathy for the difficulties teen girls face. Families can talk about the vampire craze. What do you think makes them so popular? Families can also talk about why this popular teen author has gone this direction. Who do you think the book is right for?
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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