I may not be a young adult but "Vampire Academy" is a book I could definitely sink my teeth into. It's the first in a series by Richelle Mead. The author puts a new and unique spin on the vampire legends of old. Forbidden love, friendship, loyalty, romance, intrigue, this one has it all.
St. Vladimir's Academy in Montana is no ordinary school. It's a boarding school for vampires where they are taught magic and teens who are half human, half vampire are trained to protect them. Lissa is a mortal Moroi Vampire Princess and her best friend and bodyguard is Rose Hathaway, a Dhampir, who is trained to combat the immortal Strigoi, who are dangerous rogue Moroi. Two years ago Lissa and Rose ran away but they were found and brought back in disgrace. The academy has become a dangerous place for them. Gossip, peer pressure and forbidden romance are the least of their problems. Lissa has secret powers that are growing and affecting her in different ways. Now she is getting anonymous warnings from someone who knows her secret.
Rose and Lissa have a great relationship and it's the focus of the story. The plot starts when the girls are caught and returned to the academy and it takes off from there. Good secondary characters and intriguing subplots make the pages fly. There's a forbidden romance between Rose and Dimitri which adds another dimension to the story. Mead doesn't talk down to her readers. She describes a dark contemporary setting and includes some strong language and sexual content that some readers might find offensive. It might be a supernatural tale but it deals with teenage issues that are relevant to most teens. If you like "Twilight" and "House of Night" you'll probably like this series as well. It's an engaging mystery with an unpredictable ending and it is definitely worth a read.
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: Razorbill (August 16, 2007)
Gail Pruszkowski reviews for "Romantic Times BOOKreviews" magazine and her work has been published in the "Cup of Comfort" Anthologies.