YA Book Reviews by Amy
YA Book Reviews by Amy: Vampires Haven’t Died Out
With the surge of popularity of the paranormal in YA literature, vampires have found a place on our shelves. Whether the vampires are friends or foes, scary or sparkly, deadly or divine, authors have used the vampire mythos to create their own creatures of the night.
I have enjoyed reading about vampires ever since I read Bram Stoker’s Dracula for a high school English class. A few years later, a girl in my gym class handed me Twilight and told me that I “just have to read this” and I read it so quickly that I had to have the sequels. Then I got introduced to so many other books with vampires as the main characters, the love interests, and the villains.
Some believe vampires are coming back into popular fiction, and some believe vampires never left. Grab your garlic and wooden stakes and try some of these vampiric reads.
The Fell of Dark by Caleb Roehrig
August lives in a town that is susceptible to supernatural happenings, particularly vampires. When August falls for a handsome vampire, he knows his life will never be the same; when August is thrown in the middle of a feud between different paranormal groups, he must choose a side, but that could cost him his love and his life. Why is August the chosen one? Will he find love? Will August leave his hometown for something more normal?
Part mystery, part romance, and part paranormal, The Fell of Dark is a fun read. One thing about this book that appeals to me as a reader is that the vampire tropes and characters are flipped and diverts any expectations. This book has LGBTQ+ representation which is fantastic.
Vampires Never Get Old: Tales with Fresh Bite edited by Zoraida Cordova & Natalie C. Parker
A collection of short stories featuring, of course, vampires! 11 stories that will delve into the differences of vampire lore and the anthology makes it clear that vampire stories never get old. All the YA authors in this collection are amazing and we get to read paranormal stories written by well–known authors from all YA genres. There are sure to be some favorites.
Available at the library* to checkout.
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, half human and half vampire (an alive vampire is known as Moroi); as a Dhampir, she must train to protect her best friend and Moroi royalty, Lissa. While Lissa’s life is in danger more often than not, Rose could use their psychic connection to save her as long as no one knows this deadly secret. Rose attends an academy that lends itself to tough physical training, learning about her role in society, and an instructor that catches Rose’s eye.
This is the first book in a six-book series, so definitely jump in if you want to be lost in this world for a while. I liked this series, but enjoyed the spin-off series, Bloodlines, infinitely more (which also features vampires). The lore is enjoyable, but there are some problematic storylines in this series that readers should be aware of, such as a student-teacher relationship.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
When Tana wakes up to realize that the world around her is devastatingly destroyed by the possibility of being infected by vampires. Tana must go to a Coldtown— a ‘secure’ town that houses vampires and the humans that feel they have nowhere else to turn to– but the humans never return. Tana’s in search for answers and a cure leads her to the lavish but deadly world. Can she save the remainder of her family and friends? Tana must do something no one has ever been able to accomplish, she must go to a Coldtown and return home.
This is a stunning standalone by genius YA author, Holly Black. The stakes (pun intended) are high and the world is so brilliantly and lusciously described. This is the perfect autumn book!
Eighth Grade Bites by Zac Brewer
Vladimir Tod would like nothing more than to be a normal eighth grader: friends, crushes, homework, but being born half human and half vampire makes things for Vlad a little more complicated. After his parents died in a fire three years prior, Vlad has little knowledge about his bloodlust sensations and must learn things the hard way. With the support of Nell, his guardian and his best friend, Henry, he feels like he can survive this school year. When he finds a secret journal and his substitute teacher is asking weirdly specific questions that hit too close to his secret, will Vlad be exposed?
This is a quick read and a fun read and is perfect for middle grade readers. This series grows along with the reader throughout Vlad’s high school years.
Available as an eBook on Overdrive.
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Simon is convinced that his enemy and roommate is a vampire. Baz cannot stand his wand-waving, inferior-chosen one, winey–classmate, Simon, either. When Baz does not return for their final year of magic school, Simon knows that something has gone horribly wrong. While Simon is not worrying about his missing enemy, his questionable birth begins to be in the forefront on his mind; he is to be the most powerful magician ever and has a fatal future in front of him.
This was a really fun book! Rainbow Rowell is known for her contemporary settings, lovable characters, and bringing difficult subject matters to the frontlines; Carry On might be a fantasy, but there are still relatable characters and difficult topics. I love that this book is a book inside a book; if you have read Fangirl, you would know that Carry On is Cath’s fanfiction; so, we are essentially reading fanfiction of a fictional character. If you enjoyed this book, you can read the sequel: Wayward Son.
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
This has ultimately become a classic YA book; Bella moves to Forks, Washington to live with her father after her mother remarries. As the new girl in a small town, Bella must adjust to a new life with friends and family. When she sees the mysterious Cullen family, she becomes intrigued with their story and particularly finds Edward to be someone she would like to know. When Edward seems to be repulsed by her, Bella tries to make amends and befriend him, but Edward is not a normal teenage boy– he is a vampire.
I think about this book often, partly because of the negative reviews it has gotten over the years: Bella is not a strong or distinct character, but a character that many readers will be able to insert themselves into the story. But one thing that I will always give this book credit for is that Twilight launched Young Adult books as an important group of stories and that more should be written; YA really took off after this series gained popularity.
Plus, Midnight Sun, the story told from Edward’s point of view, was just released earlier this year!