There is some poignancy because Val has a mother with the brain and emotional capacity of a flea but like all mother-daughter relationships it has the capacity for love and pain. In this case the pain is meted out liberally and you can't not feel for Val as parental rejection smacks her upside the head.
It is a fantasy world indeed where an 18 year old can get along as well as Val does when she forcibly thrust into it. She makes great friends who would do more for her than her own mother would. And, in the end, she learns that she has to accept herself in order to feel whole.
But, it is a fantasy world and so we accept her ability to move through the adult world as part and parcel of this alternative San Antonio filled with vampires and demons living amongst its citizens. But Parker Blue crafted Val's world with the edge and sass that kept me up until one in the morning. As with many of the chick-lit and YA books I have read, the characters are lightly drawn and plot drives the story. My personal feeling is that for teens, this gives them space to draw themselves into the picture. But, at least the "good" characters end up being the good guys at the end and the bad guys get their just desserts. The dumb, unfortunately stay stupid.
If I had a rating system, which I don't, I would give this a 5 out of 5 for teens and a 4 or 4.5 for adults. It would be a great book to read with your teen as it isn't pedantic but certainly opens some topics up or discussion.
Later today my "Twi-pals" and I are off to see Eclipse. We are not midnight show gals; my DH and I rarely even stay up for the ball to drop on New Year's Eve. And, also we aren't crowd-people. I am really hoping it is good. I am not into disembowelment or decapitation so if that is happening I will have to close my eyes.