In Young Adult literature, the science fiction & fantasy genre has become increasingly popular in the past decade. It all started when J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone reached the top of the New York Times Bestsellers list in 1999, staying close to the top of that list for most of 1999 and 2000.
Rowling went on to publish six more books in the series, the final one in July of 2007. The Harry Potter series tells the story of a young boy by the same name who one day learns that he is a wizard who has been marked as the arch-rival of a powerful evil wizard named Lord Voldemort.
In recent years, it seems that teens’ taste in fantasy fiction has switched gears, becoming darker and edgier than their taste for Harry Potter’s battle against evil, their fascination moving toward literature that is more sexually-charged and bloodthirsty, literature that celebrates the universal human desire to stay young and beautiful forever, namely vampire fiction.
Lately vampires have become a popular part of Young Adult fiction; some people have gone so far as to refer to the new vampire craze as a “phenomenon.” If you too have bought into the vampire phenomenon, you might want to sink your teeth into these novels:
1. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer – Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few years, you have probably heard of the popular book series (and now popular movie series) known as the Twilight saga. The modern day Romeo and Juliet-esqe vampire love story chronicles seventeen-year-old Bella Swan’s relationship with her gorgeous vampire boyfriend, Edward Cullen.
2. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead – Putting a different spin on the typical vampire novel, the Vampire Academy series is told from the point-of-view of Rose Hathaway, a half-vampire, half-human girl (known as a “dhampir”). The books chronicle her life and adventures at St. Vladimir’s Academy, where she is training to become her best friend (who happens to be a vampire) Lissa Dragomir’s body guard, while simultaneously falling for her handsome instructor, Dimitri Belikov.
3. Marked by P. C. Cast & Kristin Cast – Told from the point-of-view of Zoey Redbird, a teenage fledgling vampyre, the House of Night series talks about how Zoey juggles boys, her friends, her social life, and dealing with the forces of evil at the House of Night, a special school for vampyres located in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
4. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris – While not exactly considered a YA book series, the Southern Vampire Mysteries are definitely popular with both teen and adult readers, having inspired the widely-popular HBO TV series, True Blood. Narrated by Sookie Stackhouse, a telepathic waitress, the novels are about Sookie's life in Bon Temps, Louisiana and how her life completely turns upside down when she falls for her vampire neighbor, Bill Compton.
5. The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening by L. J. Smith – This popular book series inspired the popular TV drama, The Vampire Diaries. It chronicles the life of Elena Gilbert, a pretty and popular high school student who becomes the object of affection of two vampire brothers, Stefan and Damon Salvatore. Elena begins to date and fall in love with Stefan, but she cannot deny the attraction she feels for his evil brother, Damon.