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  • Writer's pictureHannah Zunic

Vampire Girl Gang: A Review of The Lost Girls by Sonia Hartl

Updated: Jun 2, 2022

Hello, Book Nerds! Welcome back to Reading Has Ruined My Life or welcome if you are new. As always, my name is Hannah and I am your captain on this journey into my bookcases.

Happy Pride! I hope all my LGBTQIA+ readers are having a safe and happy first day of Pride month.

Rainbow that says "happy Pride."
A reminder that this is a safe space where homophobes and transphobes are not tolerated.

Now I know I’ve kinda been lacking LGBTQIA+ literature on the here as of late. I don’t think I’ve reviewed any since January or February. But we’re gonna change that today. Please welcome to the stage The Lost Girls by Sonia Hartl!

Book cover of The Lost Girls by Sonia Hartl.
Not gonna lie, kinda jealous of those eyebrows.

Full disclosure, the tagline is what sold me on this book.

Getting over your vampire ex is as easy as killing him and stealing his girlfriend.

"Shut up and take my money."

Yep, that’s all it took. Fully sold me in one single line. If it hasn’t sold you yet, then I give you this fake headline: Vampire Girl Gang Murders Abusive Ex. Listen, I have my niche and this is it apparently.

Now before I get to the synopsis, a spoiler alert is in order. You’ve been warned! I also have a content and trigger warning. As you’ve probably already guessed, this book features an abusive boyfriend character. While he gets everything he deserves by the end, he is a manipulative bastard who preys on teenaged girls and grooms and gaslights them. I’m likely not going to talk about this topic in great detail, but it’s very prevalent to the story and hard to ignore. If those topics are triggering to you, I highly suggest skipping this book. Now let’s get to the synopsis.

Bears waving.
If you're jumping ship, that's ok. I'll see you next week!

In 1987, Holly met and fell in love with a boy named Elton. She loved this boy so much that she allowed him to turn her into a vampire to live happily ever after but our story doesn’t end here. We don’t get that story actually. Our story technically starts a few decades later. Elton leaves Holly high and dry at a gas station because he’s bored of her. For Holly, happily ever after doesn’t exist. In fact, being 16 forever sucks! She’s stuck working the late night shift at shitty part-time jobs and sleeping in roach motels for the rest of eternity.

Paris Hilton making a disgusted face.
Ew, don't sign me up.

Aside from the non-livable wage she makes, the worst part about her situation is Elton. And not for the reason you think. You see, because he sired her, she is now cursed to follow him around the world. She doesn’t get a say in where the roach motels are located; she simply gets to relocate at random times. As it turns out, she's not the only one doing this. Prior to dating Holly, Elton dated two other young women who he tricked into becoming vampires too. He turned Ida back in 1921 when he first became a vampire, and he struck again in 1954 when he turned Rose.

Holly never knew these other two women existed, until Elton decides to return to the same town where he turned Holly. Not only was Holly turned here, but Rose and Ida were as well. Now Elton has his eyes set on a new teenaged girl, but Rose and Ida have a plan. A plan that needs Holly for it to work. They’re going to kill Elton, but they need all of his ex-girlfriends to do so.

That episode of Spongebob where they're superheros.
Vampire Girl Gang, assemble!

I love watching the worst of humanity get what they deserve! As I said at the start, I was sold by this book’s tagline. I was sold with one sentence! One teeny tiny simple sentence; that’s all it took. All this to say I wanted to read this book based on the bare minimum of reasons. Before going in, I knew virtually nothing about the characters, the plot outside of the revenge part, and pretty much anything and everything regarding The Lost Girls.

So to start us off, I want to talk about some characters. Overall, they were pretty lackluster. They exist. They do their jobs. No one sticks out in my mind for being an awesome character. I am going to discuss Rose and Ida briefly, but I want to talk about Elton first. Not for the reason you may think though.

Yes, Elton is a piece of shit. But, because his name is Elton, I could only picture one person: Elton John.

Elton John being Elton John.
Sir Elton John, I'm so sorry for putting you into that role!

So in my head this man is in the position of youthful, wannabe heartthrob, groomer, vampire boyfriend. It really changes the book. Very amusing at times, but also kind of a hindrance because I cannot tell you what Elton’s character is supposed to look like. I shall let this “issue” pass as it made me laugh more often than not.

An issue I won’t let pass is Rose and Ida though. For me, these two blended into one character. I don’t have a good reason as to why. They do have two separate, defined personalities, but I could not keep them straight. In retrospect I can tell them apart to extent. Ida has some strong flapper vibes to her cause she’s rebellious, and Rose has some 1950’s housewife vibes because she stress cleans her way through the entire book. But it wasn’t enough during my initial read.

Neither of them have agency. Everything the two of them do could easily be done by the other. Seriously, you could replace their names in the book, tell me Rose is Ida and vice versa, and I’d believe you. They don’t do anything to stand out. Necessary to the plot, but so boring!

In fact, the whole book was somehow boring. It has a top tier premise! The execution though was sadly lackluster. The writing is mainly dialogue with very minimal action and descriptions. Remember when I said that I couldn’t tell you what Elton looked like so I just pictured Elton John? Partially an issue with the name but more so an issue with the writing.

Elton John being Elton John.
Again, Sir Elton John, I'm so sorry.

And that’s so sad! Sonia Hartl does not give readers the glamorous, seductive modern take on vampires. The Lost Girls is not like The Vampire Diaries or even Interview With the Vampire. The vampire lifestyle is not something readers are supposed to covet with this book. The vampires of this book live a sad, miserable, depressing life. Things are not fun for them. And that could be such an interesting take on these creatures of the night. It’s not something seen in popular vampire media. But even though the lifestyle is different, it’s still boring because the writing is boring!

Spongebob holding sweater made of tears.
I'm so upset that I made a sweater out of my tears.

The Lost Girls was supposed to be campy, and fun, and this is a “vampire revenge story.” There is so much potential! For such a short book it feels super long and dragged out. Things could have been much more fleshed out and memorable. But no, things were boring!

This brings me to my next, and final, point: Holly and Parker. Parker, by the way, is Elton’s new girlfriend. I.e. the girlfriend of “stealing his new girlfriend” tagline fame. First of all, much like the rest of the characters, she is not described or fleshed out. Second of all Holly and Parker’s relationship is the only thing that moved fast in this book, and I wasn’t a fan of that.

Listen, I like the idea of them together. The pair get many moments together and they have some great deep conversations about life and what they want out of it. But I never felt any good chemistry between them, and they also said “I love you” to each other after like a week of knowing each other. Their relationship did not have enough development to be believable. Things moved way too fast between them.

Everything about this book could have been so much better! There’s so much promise to it! I want to root for this vampire girl gang, and I do, but all the characters are bland and I’m only rooting for them because they are a vampire girl gang. Everything’s just bland and boring. I’m so upset because I wanted to like this book so badly. I wanted that campy, fun time the tagline promises but it doesn’t exist.

Spongebob holding sweater made of tears.
If you want, I can make you a sweater with the tears I've spilt over this book.

I’m gonna go cry over that now. So I must bid you all adieu. I see you all next week with another great review.

Until then, stay safe, wash your hands, and read some good books for me.

Bears waving.
See y'all next week, bye!


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