Vampires… Before They Were ‘Cool’

V is for Vampires

V is for Vampires

I still stop and stare every time I walk into Barnes & Noble and see ‘Paranormal Romance’ as a valid section. I was reading vampire literature well before Twilight. (Not bashing on Twilight here. That first book especially was a bit of a guilty pleasure.) But after Twilight? EVERYONE wanted to write about vampires. I remember being a teenager and wishing more people would write about vampires. I think I take that wish back now.

So what was there before Twilight in the YA world? Here are the books that started my love for vamps!

silver kiss“The Silver Kiss” by Annette Curtis Klause

This was the very first vampire book I read and I just reread it a few weeks ago because it had been far too long. Zoe is the type of mopey teenage girl that I think Bella was meant to be… done realistically. Her mother has cancer and is not doing well, her father spends all his time at the hospital and is more than a little disconnected from his daughter while he tries to understand how to care for his wife, and her best friend is moving away. Enter Simon. He’s a bit timid, he’s mostly a ‘vegetarian’ (non-human diet), and his has some serious revenge issues with his brother. This is a great story for Simon and Zoe both, dealing with things in their own lives, and helping one another to achieve what they both desire. I warn you though, if you want the ‘Be my boyfriend foreverrrrrr’ sort of fic, this isn’t for you.

moonlight“Look For Me By Moonlight” by Mary Downing Hahn

This book was amazing. I still reread it every couple of years. Cynda is the ultimate whiny teenager. Her parents are divorced, she doesn’t like her stepmother, her father doesn’t understand her, her little half brother is a pain, and why doesn’t anyone love her? She’s so alone. Until Vincent comes to her father’s inn on the coast of Maine and requests a room. He’s older, devilishly handsome, intelligent, a poet, and best of all? He understands how hard life is for Cynda. How unloved she is. Sounds pathetic, right? Not at all. Take an afternoon and read to find out how Cynda gets her dues…

companion“Companions of the Night” by Vivian Vande Velde

There’s nothing like getting mistaken for a vampire when you’re just trying to save a stranger trapped in a laundromat and being attacked by crazy vigilantes. That’s how Kerry’s adventure with Ethan begins. I love this story because Kerry has a great head on her shoulders. She’s smart and even though she’s attracted to Ethan, she doesn’t let herself get swept up in a sappy story of immortal adoration. The story is great, the action ever-changing, and the humor falls when you least expect it. Truly, the wit abounds.

forests“The Den of Shadows Series” by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

I’m playing a bit of catch up now with her most recent three books, but this is in reference to the first four she wrote: In the Forests of the Night, Demon in My View, Shattered Mirror, and Midnight Predator.

These stories are rather short and, looking back, I’d love to see Amelia take a turn at a longer, more detailed tale. That being said I have always enjoyed the little glimpses into this world that she gives us. Each book is a stand alone piece, but they all connect in some way within the universe she has created. Despite being individual stories, I do recommend reading them in order. Demon in My View and Shattered Mirror tie for my favorites from this series, for different reasons. The first being inspired by the life of the author herself, or at least the life her readers know, and touched with some flights of fancy; the second having outstanding characters I thoroughly enjoyed. For short afternoon reads, I really recommend any of her books!

Final Thought:

I read these back when finding vampire books for teens wasn’t much easier than finding needles in haystacks. Now they are even less than a dime a dozen and the real hunt is to find GOOD books. I avoid so much of it now because I’ve read so much bad I admit I’m a little jaded. (One great exception being the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. No, I have not seen the movie. I’m kind of afraid to see how badly the series was treated.)

Do you have any favorite vampire YA books? I’m always looking for great recommendations!

(Fun tidbit I did not realize until writing this post… but everyone has three names! Was this a prerequisite to write vamp lit once up on a time? Hmm. I wonder.)

4 thoughts on “Vampires… Before They Were ‘Cool’

  1. Oh good this is very interesting. I love vampires since before sparkling vampires myself…I actually was outraged! My first book was Dracula, I’m more for the classics. But you hooked me with these titles! Thanks for sharing!

  2. In a previous post I made the comment: “I will not apologize for enjoying sexy vampires”, and I stand by that. lol I do love monsters, and if I were to choose between the two I would definitely prefer the scary beasts of the night who tear their victims to shreds over the lovey-dovey kissy types. That said, I can’t say that I haven’t enjoyed the wave of vampire romances a LITTLE.

    As for favorites, since you already mentioned Vampire Academy, I’m going to mention House of Night. The thing is, I think you have to have a particular kind of taste to be able to enjoy this particular series. It changes up vampire mythos in some pretty odd ways that may delight one person and disgust the next. Also, depending on what kind of a reader you are, the writing might be difficult to stomach. They’re written from the point of view of teenagers, after all, and there’s a lot of teen speak and semi-shameless references. That said, I can honestly say that I’ve been enjoying the series and can’t wait to find out how it ends.

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