This was the creepiest book I've ever read in my life.
I was expecting it to be moderately creepy. I've seen the American movie adaptation, Let Me In, and it had a couple of spooky moments but overall it didn't really make me jump. I liked the friendship that blossomed between a lonely, isolated boy and the vampire girl that had moved in next door. Aside from, you know, the bleeding from every orifice and the killing and all that, it was actually kind of a sweet story. I thought the book would be pretty much the same. It wasn't. It really, really wasn't. Forget making me jump - it practically made my hair turn white.
The story about the loner boy and vamp girl is still there, of course, but each character is definitely more creepy than their movie counterparts. Oscar, who is severely bullied, wears a sponge in his pants to soak up urine as he's constantly wetting his pants, and you feel sorry for him until he reveals his scrapbook of serial killers and starts fantasising about hacking up other kids. OK, they're his bullies but... he's one creepy little boy. No wonder he and Eli, the little vampire, get along so well. Eli, of course, is even creepier, with the ability to sprout not only fangs but wings and claws. Not to mention she's a perpetually prepubescent bloodsucker with a paedophile in tow.
Oh yes, the creepiest of the creepy - Eli's "father figure" isn't a little boy who followed her and got old, as in the movie - he's a paedophile who bribes her for sex with blood. It made me feel physically sick. But that's before things got really messed up... Cue a string of murders, people being accidentally turned into vampires, and an "accident" involving acid and attempted suicide, followed by one of the most violent attacks I've ever had the discomfort of reading, and this book makes for a painful, sickening and incredibly terrifying read.
As a horror, it works wonderfully. It's compelling and masterfully told. It contains probably the most bloodcurdling baddie I've ever come across (and I'm not talking Eli), and vividly gruesome imagery that stays in your mind for a long time. But it is not enjoyable at all. I like horror, I really do, but so much of this book made me cringe (read: hide under the covers). I still don't really know what to think of it or how I feel about it. It was a good book, but left me so deeply disturbed. Frankly, I'd rather not really think about it at all, ever again...