Print Reviews of TANTALIZE


TANTALIZE marks Cynthia Leitich Smith’s delicious debut as a foremost author of dark fantasy.

"Tantalize offers a substantial plot and a charismatic lead character. The first-person narration captures both the self-questioning angst and brash confidence of a headstrong teenager. Add devilish supporting characters and complex, clever and well-paced plot, and Tantalize is a darkly delicious read for older teens."

Book Bag: Sink your teeth into these
by Lani Stack from The Advocate Weekly Online.

“Notions of predator and prey are deliciously explored in this gothic elixir, a dark romantic thriller that is equal parts Bon Appetit and Dracula.”

The Horn Book Magazine review
of Listening Library's audio production

"Tantalize is a thinking reader's horror novel and an entertaining, empowering ride."

The International Reading Association's
Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy

“[Readers] will be well rewarded with an impeccably paced suspense story, a sexy romance, and a tough and witty heroine.”

The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Cynthia Leitich Smith is the Anne Rice for teen readers. . . . Smith has a vivid imagination, and her intricate plot keeps readers guessing until the very end."

—The Bloomsbury Review

“Readers will be tantalized by this dark, romantic, and disturbing fantasy of vampires, werewolves, and a strong no-nonsense heroine. Fans of Stephenie Meyer and Annette Curtis Klause will eat it up.”

School Library Journal

"For those who enjoy the horror of the original Dracula or the heart-wrenching sorrow of Romeo and Juliet, Smith's book will be seen as a fresh, updated version of these timeless classics."


“Quincie must make a terrifying choice in a heart-pounding climax that will have teen readers weeping with both lust and sorrow.”

Kirkus Reviews

"…Quincie's sarcastic narration and take-charge attitude, will appeal to fans—both teens and adults—of Buffy the Vampire Slayer…readers will certainly be licking their lips at the end of the Tantalize, their appetites whetted for Smith's next enticing adventure."


“If Joan Bauer took a crack at dark fantasy, the result would probably be something like this gothic-horror comedy...the immersion in food culture--including an overhauled menu, as grisly as it is gourmet--successfully builds on the sensual aspects of vampire mythology.”


"An intoxicating romantic thriller… Quincie's longing for a physical relationship with her boy-wolf is as palpable as the taste of the food… Smith adds a light touch of humor to the soup, but the main course is a dark romance with all the gory trimmings."

The Horn Book Magazine

"[E]ntertaining, intriguing, and original."

The Voice of Youth Advocates

"By turns sensuous, suspenseful, and scary, Tantalize will be on the menu for fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Christopher Moore's Practical Demonkeeping and You Suck!"

—Elizabeth Bluemle, The Flying Pig Bookstore (Shelburne, VT)

"Tantalize is as delicious and satiable as a generous slice of rich and creamy, chocolate cake."

Kristen Pihlman, Tracy Press (CA)

"I found this book extremely entertaining. Author Cynthia Leitich Smith threw such curve balls and twists of plot that it was always a weird and wonderful read. Tantalize kept me transfixed and it was nearly impossible to put down. A book that keeps me that engaged can earn no less than five stars."

Emma-Lee Kramer, 12 from Edmonton, Alberta
in support of Tantalize as a Junior Advisory Board (JAB)
pick at Chapters bookstores in Canada