The reason for starting with vampires in YA fiction is two-fold – the impact of Twilight and the influence it has had on YA, and vampires are a classic “monster” in YA fiction. From soulless killers, to vampires that sparkle, to high school vampires – as a literary trope, they have been explored and celebrated.
Adult fiction that has led to the adoption of vampires in YA novels must include such authors as Anne Rice, Laurell K Hamilton, Bram Stoker and Richard Matheson.
The TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer introduced teenagers to the idea of, not only slaying the undead, but falling in love with them. The Lost Boys film gave us the slogan “Sleep all day. Party all night. Never grow old. Never die. It’s fun to be a vampire.”
1) Stephenie Meyer
The series of vampire novels written by Stephenie Meyer – comprising Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn – have been a literary phenomenon. The love story of Bella Swan and Edward Cullen has captured the minds of teens everywhere, leading to film adaptations, bestseller status and a swathe of imitations.
2) L J Smith
This is the author of the Vampire Diaries, which has been televised, but a couple of her other lesser-known series also involve vampires. One is the Nightworld series that kicks off with Secret Vampire, and the other is the trilogy called Dark Visions which involves psychic vampirism.
3) Darren Shan
Shan’s novels take us away from vampires as romantic leads and back into the realms of creatures of the night. They have been enormously popular with both boys and girls, and are perhaps directed at middle grade through to YA, rather than the older readers attracted into vampire fiction by Twilight. A movie (called Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant) based on the first three books in the series was released.
4) P C and Kristin Cast
The Casts are a mother and daughter writing team, who have produced the House of Night series about Zoey Redbird. She is Marked by a vampire and heads off to the House of Night, a boarding school for all those who have been Marked and will be undergoing the Change into fully-fledged vampires. The House of Night novels are loaded with teen speak, and tap into those readers who enjoyed the school aspect of Harry Potter. As with the Twilight books, these have been reissued with coloured pages and have proved enormously popular, with over seven million printed in the States alone.
5) Annette Curtis Klause
We include this author, even though she has written only one vampire novel, to our knowledge – but it is a rather beautiful book and is often recommended to those seeking YA vampire tales. This novel is The Silver Kiss.
6) Will Hill
This gent exploded onto the scene in 2011 with Department 19, a book which combined vampires with an official (and secret!) government department that aims to combat their threat. These vampires are deadly and rather terrifying! The second novel is due in 2012, building on the success of the first which was the best-selling YA hardback for a debut author in 2011.
7) Rachel Caine
Caine is absolutely prolific, and her work includes the Morganville Vampire series, which begins with Glass Houses. The novels feature Claire Danvers, a student at Texas Prairie University, and her housemates in the vampire-controlled city of Morganville, Texas. There are currently 11 novels in print, and Caine is contracted for a further four, bringing the total in the series to 15. The rights have also been sold for TV/film.
8) Christopher Pike
Pike’s series of novels about Sita, the last vampire, was first published in the early 90s – there are six in the series, which begins with The Last Vampire. Some of the individual novels can be a little hard to source now, since they have been out of print, but the omnibus editions are readily available and well worth a read.
9) Richelle Mead
Mead (as with Caine) is also known for her adult urban fantasy novels. She has written the six volume series Vampire Academy: “Two races of vampires walk our world. One, the Moroi, are alive and wield elemental magical. The other, the Strigoi, are undead and evil–feeding on the innocent to survive.” There is also a spin-off series, the first of which is called Bloodlines.
10) Melissa de la Cruz
Our last author on this list wrote the ongoing Blue Bloods series: “Within New York City’s most elite families, there lurks a secret society of celebrated Americans whose ancestors sailed on the Mayflower. They are the powerful and the wealthy—and in fact, they are not human. They are the Blue Bloods, an ancient group of vampires. ” This has a different approach to vampires, and combines them with high society, in a series that would appeal to anyone who has enjoyed TV shows such as Gossip Girls.
There is our list of ten authors who have or are writing vampire YA novels.
Now we would love some input from our readers:
- Which of the authors above have you read? Which did you enjoy the most?
- Which authors have we missed from our ten that you think is a glaring omission?
- Do you still enjoy YA novels about vampires or do you think that this literary trope is a little tired?