Drink, Slay, Love

Review written by Jonathan Lavallee

In Drink, Slay, Love, Pearl is a sixteen year old vampire, doing traditionally vampire things. Learning how to navigate a strict and totalitarian vampire society. How to fight, and how to hunt. She was born to be important, because her family is important, but she was never meant to be special. And because she’s a vampire, she’s never truly alone.

Then she runs into a unicorn at the back of the Dairy Hut which stabs her through the heart and everything changes. She’s now able to walk around during the day and experience the world through the eyes of her food. This turns out to be fortuitous because the King of New England has tasked her family with coming up for the feast for this year’s ceremony, and her family feels that a local high school will be the best place for her to begin her hunt.

This book won’t appeal to your tween if they aren’t interested in social critiques, relationships, and internal drama. Not that the book is a dry treatise on high school—it’s a well written story with a great pace and a lot of great characters—but the main crux of the dilemma is Pearl learning how she now has a conscience and how it’s affecting her and what it means. This is in relation to how her vampire family acts, which is all about power plays, a distinctive lack of empathy, and a willingness for violence.

When I took this book out of the library, I was amused at the title. I think that it showed a bit of awareness that I always find amusing. I was hoping that it could fill the void that Fat Vampire left. Drink, Slay, Love didn’t, but that’s because it doesn’t cover the same territory; it’s less an attempt at a biting satire and more a fun high school drama with vampires. Because of that it can be a little heavy handed with how popularity works and how social dynamics work, but it’s still entertaining and probably not anything too troubling for your older tween.

The only issue that most parents might have issues with is the violence in the book. It’s not dripping with violence, but there are a couple of intense moments that might have an affect on your tween that you’d want to read about ahead of time. But if your tween is looking for a good vampire book, this is definitely one that you should recommend.

SPOILER ALERT: Things you might want to know before suggesting this to your kid

Nightmare Fuel

There are quite a few moments that could be a little intense for your tween:

  • When the Unicorn pierces Pearl’s heart, there’s a description about the horn protruding through her chest.
  • When she displays her ability to walk in the daylight, one of her family tries to follow suit and is severely burned and scarred.
  • When Pearl is being trained for how to approach the King of New England, she’s late and is beaten severely with a flail.
  • One of the vampires gets burned up in front of everyone when the teenagers ring the house with fire.
  • One of the popular girls gets visited by Pearl’s parents frequently and is looking more and more ill.


It’s a vampire story, so there are going to be instances of violence. It’s mostly contained at the end and covered a little bit in the Nightmare Fuel section. There is a lot of death, of vampires at each other hands, or at the hands of the vampire hunters. The final fight scenes are exciting, mixed with a chased scene or two, but there are heads snapped, blood spilled, and people being stabbed.


The whole time there are two families that are contrasted. There’s Pearl’s family of vampires who view each other as constant competition and do what they can to exert power over each other in every way possible. Then there’s Evan’s family, who are all were-unicorns who hunt vampires but are this hodge podge of people who care about each other but come from a wide variety of backgrounds.

However, nothing is ever completely simple in the book. Evan keeps the fact that Pearl is a vampire from his vampire hunting family; they eventually come clean, but only after their hand is forced. There’s also a moment when Pearl and her father see each other across a pit of fire, and she’s sorry that they won’t be able to be together and he says, “I really believe that.” It’s kind of an unexpected touching moment.


It’s a vampire story. Consent is always going to be a tough topic. Pearl feeds off of the guy who works at the story’s version of Dairy Queen, and he’s been so poisoned by the vampire bites that he seems to have no will of his own. Only when Pearl goes back to try to feed on him again does she see what she’s done to him.

Of course right afterwards she ends up taking too much from him, killing him unintentionally.


The way Pearl notices how the social strata works in the high school is dependent on a set of stereotypes. There’s the mean girl clique, the jocks, the smart kids, the outcasts, and she can see how they all interact which can be found in any sort of bad high school movie.

Sex and Nudity

There are a couple of times when Pearl ends up naked, once in particular when her family strips her down to clean her off from leaving any evidence after killing someone unintentionally and she runs off and ends up on Evan’s roof.

There’s a lot of overt sexuality in some sections, usually involving the vampires. There’s a scene where Pearl’s boyfriend tries to make Pearl jealous by grinding on a few other vampires.


This book isn’t really aimed at tweens. That said, I think it was such a good story that if you’ve got an older tween who is interested in vampire stories you might want to send them this way. As with anything, I highly recommend to read it first, just to make sure that you as a parent are comfortable with the material. Drink, Slay, Love is good enough book to read and recommend that you as a parent should probably read it just on its own regardless, especially if you love not-too-serious vampire stories.


Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst
Published in 2011 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Read as an eBook


Speak Your Mind