Almost to Die For by Tate Hallaway
Release Date: August 3, 2010
Publisher: NAL Trade
Anastasija Parker is not your typical teen--she's a witch. She's always known that, but on her 16th birthday--the day her True Witch initiation is supposed to take place--she's about to find out a whole lot more about her supernatural self.
But for now, Ana is more worried about her initiation. Unlike her best friend Bea, she doesn't think she possesses any powers as a witch. She can't conjure spells or summon her magic like Bea does, which is a problem, seeing that she needs to preform magic for her initiation. Ana is less than confident for her Initiation, despite Bea and her mother's beliefs that she has powers that just haven't shown themselves yet. Sadly, her day does not get any better; the school's resident dumb jock Thompson has to get in her daily taunting.
Heading home from school slightly dejected and extremely nervous, Ana is in for a surprise when her father that she has never known shows up on her doorstep, demanding her not to go to her initiation. Before Ana can react, her mother quite literally throws him out of the house. And why this unceremonious departure? Because, Ana learns, her father is a vampire. It also happens that vampires are the moral enemies, so what's Ana to do?
The only stroke of luck Ana seems to have at her initiation is her interaction with Nik, a hot guy and a fellow witch. Nik seems to reciprocate her affections, which is a boost for Ana's confidence, since she's always seen herself as a bit of a plain jane, and a failure as a witch. But just when things start to get warm between Nik and Ana, Elias shows up. He's vampire who's sworn to protect her and soon checks on her constantly. Despite his protectiveness, he is also a gentleman and Ana can't help but like him too. It seems that Ana will not only have to chose between her two bloodlines, but also between these two cute guys as well.
Before she knows it, the witches and vampires are fighting to claim her as their own. Is Ana a Witch or the princess of the vampires? Each side is intent on having her be solely vampire or solely witch, but what will Ana chose? Can she even chose, and turn her back on one of her parents and half her blood?
In the the description for Almost to Die For, the novel is described as "Twilight-meets-The Princess Diaries," however, I found the later is more true than the former; the girl-finds-out-she's-a-princess-and-her-life-changes idea does show up in this book, but while Ana has to adjust to the fact that she's royalty, the book does not focus solely on her trying to become a monarch. Almost to Die For does also share some similarities with Twilight; mostly the fact that two boys are vying for her attention, and both of those boys are part of two races that are sworn enemies, but not much more than that. I feel that the biggest issue Ana struggles with is her choice between her two heritages--which one should she follow?
At first, I found it rather hard to get into Almost to Die For--it sounded like another vampire and supernatural book and Ana complained too much for my liking in the beginning. Eventually, the plot picked up and it wasn't half bad. Although it seems a bit cliche at times and does not have the most original of plots (overall, it does sound like a mesh between Twilight and the Princess Diaries series) supernatural fans will find Almost to Die For enjoyable. The writing is not bad and the quirks and twists as the novel progresses will keep supernatural fans interested. I'm glad that Ana grew more as a character; it was nice to see her confidence increase and to see her take more control over her own life.