A Close Encounter of a Different Kind

This is a fictional story about a young girl of about 11 having to deal with a problem that is beyond her age.

Thanks to her older brother’s comments, she sincerely thinks Dracula and vampires are real and are after her. Additional comments by her brother and her friends, and convincing explanations by a smooth talking salesman, further push her into believing that her fears are justified. She therefore decides to use crosses and clusters of garlic for protection. Her friends at school, however, tell her that crosses can’t help her because she’s not Christian!

Following a lengthy internal struggle, she takes drastic measures to be able to stay safe.

This book was reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite. His comments are as follows:

A Close Encounter of a Different Kind is a young adult and preteen novel written by Reza Mashayekhi. Sara is 11 years old, and she lives with her parents and big brother Bruce in the US. They moved there from Iran when she was only four. Sara and her family don't talk much about where they are from because they are uncertain how their Iranian background will be accepted. One night, Bruce borrows a videotape from his friend. It's a vampire movie, and he knows that he shouldn't be watching it, so he waits until his parents go out one night. Sara sits down to watch it with him and is terrified of the vampire who seems to be staring right into her eyes. Bruce decides to play a prank on her and makes the doors and windows move, telling her it's vampires trying to get at her -- and Sara believes him.

Reza Mashayekhi's young adult and preteen novel, A Close Encounter of a Different Kind, is a marvelous tale that explores the pressures of assimilation into a new culture as experienced by a young, imaginative and impressionable girl. Her sense of being different, or not belonging, becomes even more heightened by her fear of vampires, and it makes her vulnerable to people who seize upon that fear and exploit it. Mashayekhi peoples his book with complex and believable characters, both the bullies at school who make Sara feel more scared and the rabbi, priest and teacher who work together to help her out; but my two favorites are Mr. Ghastley who sells specially treated garlic at his vampire store and that enigmatic actor who Sara's convinced is really a vampire or at least a vampire friend or helper. A Close Encounter of a Different Kind is a well-written and thought-provoking story that is most highly recommended.

A Close Encounter of a Different Kind

By Reza Mashayekhi
Published in 2015