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Booklist: Vamping It Up

Vampires have been haunting readers in poetry and prose for hundreds of years. Sink your teeth into a good book!

My favorite fangy fiction pieces include:

Individually, Christopher Golden and Tom Sniegoski rock. Put them together and you've got some extremely good times. The Menagerie series brings together legendary characters, making this an excellent recommendation for those who like The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. One of my favorite members of The Menagerie is Eve, who became a vampire after she fell from grace. She fights on the side of good now, and she is both ferocious and fashionable. The Menagerie is written for adults.

The Nimble Man
Tears of the Furies
Stones Unturned
Crashing Paradise

Now hear this: Christopher Golden's Shadow Saga is for adults. In the vein of gothic, gutsy vampire stories, it contains death, vengeance, adult language, adult situations, and violence. The Saga should be read in order, though you could easily read The Gathering Dark independently.

Of Saints and Shadows
Angel Souls and Devil Hearts
Of Masques and Martyrs
The Gathering Dark
Waking Nightmares
The Graves of Saints
King of Hell

There's another book I really love that's in the same vein, but because the revelation of the vampires is a big twist, I don't want to give it away. If you want to know the title of the book to which I'm referring, leave a comment below and I'll tell you.

Scott Westerfeld infuses horror, comedy, and science into a funny tale for teens called Peeps. (Click for my review.) Peeps is wicked tasty, people. Delicious. Its follow-up, The Last Days, is good, but Peeps is great.

There have been plenty of teen books released the past twenty years that vamp it up, and I could list those for days. They include but not limited to those by Richie Tankersley Cusick (recommended), Christopher Pike, R.L. Stine, L.J. Smith, Darren Shan, Carla Jablonski, Vivian Vande Velde, Ellen Schreiber, and Pete Hautman.

Also check out the original novels and short stories related to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Some are for teens, others for adults. I highly recommend those written by Christopher Golden and/or Tom Sniegoski, especially their BtVS/Angel crossover Monster Island and Golden's The Lost Slayer.

Try historical fiction. My Swordhand is Singing by Marcus Sedgwick, which is a nice take on ancient vampire legends. A woodcutter and his son deal with villagers, gypsies, and the newly risen dead.

Additional contemporary series for teens:

We all know about the basic star-crossed vampire romance in which a human girl falls for an immortal boy. Stephenie Meyer breathed fresh life into this storyline, and her books have become international bestsellers. Whether you like them or not, you can't ignore their success.

Twilight
New Moon
Eclipse
Breaking Dawn

Alyxandra Harvey has launched The Drake Chronicles, a series about two girls who are best friends. One of them, Solange, happens to be a vampire. The only daughter in a large family of vampires. The younger sister of seven brothers, one of which might be crushing on her human best friend, even though the two of them are ALWAYS at each other's throats. (Not literally.) Solange's 16th birthday is around the corner -- and, if the vampire queen or the vampire hunters have their way, it's not going to be sweet.

#1: Hearts at Stake
#2: Blood Feud (June 2010)

Check out Mari Mancusi's comedic trilogy about twin girls quasi-unwillingly become vampires and vampire slayers.

Boys That Bite
Stake That!
Girls That Growl
Bad Blood

Brace yourself for Serena Robar's comedic trilogy about a cheerleader who is made into a vampire. The first book takes place while she is in high school; the second and third books find her at college, in a very special sorority.

Braced2Bite
Fangs4Freaks
Dating4Demons

For Pre-Teens and Younger Readers

Looking for vampire books for middle school? How about a vampire who is IN middle school? The Chronicles of Vladmir Tod kicks off with Eighth Grade Bites, in which the thirteen-year-old half-vampire, half-human main character hides his fangs from his classmates (except for his best friend) and looks for his missing teacher. Read all about Vlad:

Eighth Grade Bites
Ninth Grade Slays
Tenth Grade Bleeds (not yet released)
Eleventh Grade Burns (not yet released)

Need something vampiric yet innocuous for a younger reader? You must pick up Bunnicula by James and Deborah Howe. The title character is a pet bunny. Instead of sucking blood, he sucks juice out of vegetables. The book is narrated by Harold the dog, who, along with Chester the cat, knows Bunnicula's secret. This book led to many more full-length books and short story collections. Here's the order of the novels:

Bunnicula
Howliday Inn
The Celery Stalks at Midnight
Nighty-Nightmare
Return to Howliday Inn

Vunce Upon a Time by Siobhan Vivian and J.otto Siebold is a fun picture book featuring a vegetarian vampire that has a sweet tooth - er, fang! Dagmar does not drink blood. He likes to eat vegetables instead. He also likes candy. No, he LOVES candy. When he learns that humans give out free candy on Halloween, he must muster up the courage to go out - and decide what costume to wear! I love Siobhan's YA novels A Little Friendly Advice and Same Difference, so I absolutely had to read Vunce Upon a Time. J.otto's illustrations are extremely colorful, as always, with lots of things to see. This book will amuse the entire family. The publisher has some neat extras at their site, including a video trailer and activities.

Also recommended for kids: the Oliver Nocturne series by Kevin Emerson. Oliver Nocturne is about thirteen in human years - but over sixty in vampire years! You see, vampires have been secretly co-existing with humans for years, living underground or in abandoned buildings, feeding on humans without hurting or killing them. The young vampires go to school at night when the human kids are asleep. Oliver is the youngest in his family, which consists of a businessman father, a sleek, sophisticated mother, and a trouble-making older brother.

Repeatedly, a young girl named Emalie sneaks into Oliver's house, camera in hand, ready to capture the unknown. Though Oliver and Emalie become friends, her cousin Dean is wary of Oliver. Emalie tries to develop a photograph of her new pal, but he keeps coming out blurry. The more Oliver talks to Emalie and the more he learns about humans, the more surprised he is - but nothing could prepare him for what he learns about himself and about his own origins. Is he really a full-blooded vampire? What role does he play in an ancient prophecy? With cliffhangers and continuing mysteries, this series is sure to hook young readers.

The Vampire's Photograph
Sunlight Slayings
Blood Ties
Demon Hunter
The Eternal Tomb

Vampire Island by Adele Griffin introduces readers to the Livingstones, a family of fruit bat vampire hybrids who are trying to lead "normal" lives in modern-day New York. Lexie, the oldest child, who likes to recite poetry; Maddy, the middle child and main character, who means well but often gets into tricky situations; and Hudson, the youngest, who can still morph into a bat and is fond of antiquated words and phrases. The family members are now trying to be vegan and are aging a year at a time, like mortals, after being around for hundreds of years. The series so far:

Vampire Island
The Knaveheart's Curse
V is for Vampire

Related Booklist: Go Gothic
Tags: #1, #2, articles, booklists, books, reviews
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