The Awakening (The Vampire Diaries #1) by L.J. Smith (1991; HarperTeen, 2009, 272pp.)
Elena, the queen bee of her high school, is confused when the new boy, Stefan, shows no interest in her whatsoever. What she doesn’t know is that although Stefan secretly carries a torch for her, he can’t bear for her to learn his terrible secret: he’s a centuries-old vampire! When Elena eventually finds out the truth herself, the two admit their feelings for each other and try to build up a relationship. Things get dicey when Stefan’s evil brother, Damon, shows up in town, and decides to steal our heroine away for himself. Sound familiar? Despite its Twilight undertones, The Vampire Diaries actually precedes Meyer’s sparkly vampires by at least a decade. Pushed into reprint by the rising interest in vampire literature, this book unfortunately offers nothing new to the genre. To make matters worse, it’s littered with characters that are both flat and uninteresting, and contains plot twists that the reader can see coming a mile away. However, teen readers looking to sink their teeth into more vampire romance will definitely find what they’re looking for here. Recommended for Ages 15-Up.