Department 6 is the Army.
Department 13 is MI5.
Department 19 is the reason you're alive.
And so begins one of the best debut YA novels so far this year.
Jamie Carpenter's life is thrown into turmoil when his mum is kidnapped by a group of bizarre and terrifying creatures. Before this moment, Jamie knew nothing about the supernatural threats that we humans are protected from by Department 19, even though, as it transpires, his dad was a Department 19 operative himself.
Jamie sets out on a mission to save his mum, and pretty soon is being trained in the art of vampire slaying. Forget the garlic though, these vampires are tougher than that, and Jamie gets to use some seriously high-tech weaponry. With the help of some larger-than-life characters, including Frankenstein and an escaped, apparently reformed vampire, Jamie gets closer to finding his mum and closer to finding out the truth about his dad. The problem is, who can he trust along the way, and who will reach their goal in one piece?
Will Hill's debut novel is a seriously action-packed ride through the history of vampires to the present day. It's full of blood and gore, but actually has a heart at its centre and this is what makes it such a well-formed story.
Department 19 is a perfect read for 13 and up (and when I say up, I mean adults too). There's plenty of blood and exploding vampires to keep boys entertained, but enough warmth and personality to appeal to girls too. So if you're normally put off by the whole fang-love thing, rest assured, there is not a sparkly vampire in sight.
Age group 13+
Published by Harpercollins on 31/03/2011