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Literature / Vampire High

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Vampire High is a novel written by Douglas Rees in 2003. It was followed by the novel Vampire High: Sophomore Year in 2010.

Cody Elliot is doing terribly in school; straight F's. His lawyer dad is sick of it, so Cody is forced to attend an alternative high school called Vlad Dracul Magnet School. His new classmates are creepy: they all wear sunglasses in winter, have pale skin and jet black hair, and they're all super smart. One kid shows Cody his fangs, and it becomes clear that all of his classmates are vampires. But they get offended if you use the word "vampire," so they call themselves "jenti" and the humans "gadje". Running water makes the jenti dissolve, so they need a few gadje to play water polo. Now, as long as Cody plays water polo, he's assured straight A's. But when Cody decides to get generous and donate some blood to his friend, the school becomes drastically changed.

Although the plot is well-tread, the first book managed to be surprisingly heartfelt, earning several YA book awards. The main theme of finding one's place in an unwelcoming, alien environment, without caving to pressure and losing oneself in the process, spoke well to its audience—there may have been a happy ending, but it was hard-earned, and despite the fantastic elements, the characters and plot were entirely realistic. The sequel was...not nearly as good.

Not related to the Canadian TV series of the same title.

Vampire High contains examples of:

  • Amoral Attorney: Zig-zagged. While Cody's lawyer father butts heads with him often, he's still a nice guy. At the end of the story, he tells the opposing water polo team that if they sue for the selkies playing (perfectly legal, as the selkies are students at the school), he will counter sue on their behalf, pro bono. This is enough to get them all to back down.. That said, he did uproot his family for the sake of his ambition, which both Cody and his mom comment on more than once. At the book's end, Cody matures enough to see past his dad's faults, while remaining painfully aware that they do exist, and may always.
  • Angry Fist-Shake: When Cody brushes off Gregor's threat at Ileana's birthday party, Gregor shakes his fist in Cody's face. Lampshaded by Cody's narration.
    Gregor clenched his fist and shook it in my face. He really did. Then he spun around and went back to his friends.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Justin, a vampire, tells Cody that there is no such thing as werewolves. Though he does add that it's as far as he knows.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Cody makes snarky remarks on things, both in dialogue and in narration.
      "What are you doing here?" [Gregor] growled. "You cannot be invited."
      I didn't say anything. I just looked him up and down like I thought his mother had dressed him funny.
      "Show me your invitation!" he demanded.
      "Show me yours. Or are you here to help with the dishes?"
      Gregor loomed over me. "Gadje, whatever Ileana may say, you do not belong here. If you go into that house, then whether you are marked or not, I will find a way to be revenged."
      I held out my hand and studied my nails. "Look at that. Sheer terror," I said.
    • Cody apparently inherited his snark from his father.
      Mr. Elliot: Now I really feel like a New Englander. I have a birch tree in the yard, a wood stove in the kitchen, and a mad relative in the attic. I wonder if I can chain her up?
  • Fantastic Racism: Humans and vampires generally don't trust each other. They generally try to ignore each other, though there's hints that things weren't so great in the past.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: These guys aren't killers. Their blood is delivered to them in pints.
  • I Should Write a Book About This: In the end, it turns out the entire novel was a homework assignment.
  • Leave the Two Lovebirds Alone: After Cody and Ileana have gotten together at the end, they walk back together with Justin, who walks ahead to give them privacy. Cody is internally appreciative of this.
  • Our Vampires Are Different:
    • These vampires can turn into wolves, they are mortals, and they can go in the sun. Definitely different.
    • Certain ones also turn into otter-like creatures in water. These vampires are called selkies, and are speculated to be some genetic offshoot.
  • Quote-to-Quote Combat: The school principal disapproves of Cody mingling with the jenti, quoting Robert Frost's "Mending Wall" at him: "Good fences make good neighbors." Cody retorts by pointing out that the poem also says, "Something there is that doesn't love a wall".
  • Selkies and Wereseals: Selkies are a type of vampire that can turn into an otter, and enjoy playing water polo.
  • Shipper on Deck: Justin seems pretty determined to help patch things up between Cody and Ileana.
  • The Simple Gesture Wins: Ileana, at her birthday, receives many expensive gifts. Cody's gift is a personalized scrapbook, which most of the crowd look down on, but it's that which touches her the most.
  • Stranger in a Strange School
  • Took a Level in Badass: Justin goes from picked on weakling to respected, after he learns he's one of the few vampires who can submerge themselves in water without harm which in turn lets him figure out that he can transform into something a bit different than most of his classmates.
  • Vampire Doctor: The vampires basically run the blood bank and handle blood donations, treating the bank like a supermarket.
  • Vegetarian Vampire: For dinner, they eat potato soup, salad, and apple pie. No blood anywhere.
  • Your Mom: Cody insults Gregor with "your mother is so fat" jokes as retaliation for him embarrassing Justin.

Vampire High: Sophomore Year contains examples of:

  • Genius Bruiser: Gregor, who can toss people like Frisbees and writes poetry in his spare time.
  • Meaningful Name: Mercy Anne Warner, last queen of the Mercian vampires