In Sweet Tomb, Trinie Dalton offers up a trippy coming of age narrative that’s equal parts modern fairy tale and bizarro love story. At the center of the narrative is Candy, a young witch whose ambivalence about her identity leads to a complicated relationship with a vampire named Chad. As unfulfilling as her relationship with Chad is — compounded by his propensity for sinking his fangs into Candy’s neck — she just can’t shake the guy. Making matters worse are her own preternatural appetite for sweets, the lingering childhood guilt of luring unsuspecting friends into her mother’s gingerbread home so that she might feed on them, and the sudden appearance of a noseless Pinocchio in her garden. Sensing there’s little for her in her hometown, Candy hitches a ride with a hippie named ESP and finds herself in the big city, where she opens a bank account with Death and attends a party hosted by Evil.
Did I mention that the book is trippy? It’s also very funny in places. Indeed, some of the passages involving Chad, the vampire, read like a biting parody of Twilight (apologies for the pun!). Case in point: “You taste like octopus,” Chad said, chewing between gulps… To him, sucking blood was like the art of eating a chicken wing. It required delicacy and finesse to avoid waste. Yet as the narrative progresses, it also begins to feel, bizarrely, like an episode of Girls, with Candy taking over the lead role of the young woman trying to make her way in the world. Overall, it’s a wild ride that will appeal to anyone with a dark sense of humor and a twisted imagination.