Contrary to the promising title and cover, this is not a cute commentary on goth teen life in today's American high school. Once I got over my expectations, I found Dead Is the New Black moderately entertaining. The story centers around Daisy Giordano, a girl who is the only "norm" in a household of witches. Her old best friend is now the stereotypical cheer-bitch and has decided that dressing in black, wearing a gothic ankh, and carting a coffin behind her is the new "in" style. As cheerleaders start dying, our little norm finds out there is an energy vampire in their midst. Once Daisy begins to investigate the murders, she finds out that her town is not what it seems. Nightshade is filled with supernatural creatures and is governed by a secret committee headed by werewolves, vampires, and witches. They are attempting to find the killer as well. There is a fun Disney teen quality to the book, but if you're looking for real horror, it's lacking.
Although the tale is on the young side, the world created by Marlene shows promise. After all, who doesn't want to read about a town founded by immortals? This is a short, quick read that is probably suited for Tweens or younger, but enjoyable enough to be read by teens and adults who like their horror on the light side. This book is also light weight, ideal for a bring along book for summer reading, a trip to the beach, or to take on a plane trip. As I said, Nightshade shows promise and I enjoyed the first book enough to pick up the second. At a perfect price range, this is one of the only books selling these days under $8.