Where in the world do I start with this one? And before I start…this was not a YA book nor was it an intentionally humorous book but it was full of lots of sort of tongue in cheek humor. It was sort of a serious book about the vampires who live among us…or rather in the case of The Radley’s…they live in Bishopthorpe… which is in England. Peter and Helen Radley appear to be quite normal…Peter is the village doctor and Helen belongs to a book club and keeps her house lovely and full of food (MEAT) and raises her son Rowan and her daughter Clara. And Helen paints apple trees with apples…over and over and over again.
Rowan doesn’t get why he has to wear a 60 sun block and Clara doesn’t get why being a vegetarian is so appalling to her parents…until…hmm…I will get to that in a moment. The Radley’s…Peter and Helen are abstainers. They follow an Abstainers Handbook and have not tasted blood for years…but they do eat a lot of meat…deli meat.
Clara is at a party with her friend Eve…she and Rowan are in high school and Clara is sort of nondescript…in other words…she is not a hottie. While at the party…Clara is sort of attacked by a classmate and …let’s just say that Clara will not be a vegetarian anymore.
Thus begins the unraveling of The Radley’s and it is fascinating to watch. Clara and Rowan are both shocked to realize what their parents have been hiding from them for all of their lives…
Then…due to Clara’s mishap with that classmate… Uncle Will is called to town to help them solve their dilemma. He can “bloodmind” people into doing his will and this is what Helen needs him to do to the police to get Clara out of trouble. Uncle Will is an old fashioned sort of vampire with tons of bottles of blood in his camper and a penchant for neck biting both vampires and unbloods. (non vampires )
Clara and Rowan sip some blood and become healthier and more beautiful and stronger. Clara is afraid that Rowan will not be able to stop himself from becoming the kind of vampire that Uncle Will is…this discussion occurs as they are walking to school and Rowan is contemplating asking out Eve, a classmate. He has a bottle of vampire blood in his backpack to
give him courage. I love his response to his sister… which is…We are middleclass and we live in England…repression runs in our veins.
However…it sort of doesn’t. There is actually a very cool surprise ending in this very clever book.
I can’t compare it to anything. It is fresh and new and funny…not out loud funny but rather sort of tongue in cheek funny. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Oh…and everyone in The Radleys has a story. Peter and Helen are having marital issues, Rowan is being bullyied…but that is taken care of rather nicely…Clara is in trouble with the police…Uncle Will is totally messed up…and yet…it sort of all comes together in this amazing way.