10 May 2011

The Radleys by Matt Haig

The Radley’s

So I’ll be the first to say, vampire are sooo last week.  Twilight, the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, and the House of Night are the books that started it all, and now we have TV series like Vampire Diaries and True Blood (does anyone remember the original vampire series – Buffy the Vampire Slayer?  Can I get a heck yeah?).  When I first read about The Radleys on the Alex Award List, I thought “ugh…not again”.  But then I read the jacket and I was intrigued.  Behold, the power of a well written book jacket!

The Radleys is the story of a small town family of vampires, only they aren’t your normal vampires (but when, since Count Dracula, have we had a story of “normal” vampires) because of two things.  The parents are abstaining vampires – they do not drink blood, and the children don’t know they are vampires.  And in classic style, because the children don’t really know what they are, the book opens and both are struggling to figure out who they are.  Rowan has a crush on a local girl, Eve, but lacks the confidence to even speak to her, and Clara is so desperate to get animals to like her that she is attempting to go vegan – a choice that, unbeknownst to her, could ultimately kill her.  When Clara accidentally tastes human blood, her hereditary instincts take over and she accidentally kills someone.  Now that the secret is out, all of the members of the Radley clan feel their lives turn upside down.  Enter Uncle Will – the practicing vampire that can save them all.  But there are more secrets hiding on Orchard Lane than one would expect.

I will not say that this is the greatest book I’ve ever read, but it definitely kept me turning the pages.  And I can completely see why this book was chosen for an Alex Award – an award given to books written for adults that experience wide success as YA books.  Haig created enough suspense that the reader wonders what will come next, and there are just enough plot twists to keep you on the edge of your seat.  I had at least two *Gasp* moments, and I once said “OH NO” aloud – which wasn’t a good idea because I was reading…oops.  Though this book may not make my favorite book list, I will say that Haig has definitely taken a somewhat overused genre – vampires – and taken it to a new place and written a great novel.

Here are some other reviews of this book:

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