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The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening



Sexually violent book is nothing like the TV show.

What parents need to know

Educational value
Not applicable
Positive messages

Elena is not a strong or likable girl. She lies to get what she wants. The vampires have no self-control (no joke). The violence is graphic. Parents are mostly absent. No one has any remorse, no redemption.

Positive role models

Elena, the main character, seems to be completely self-centered. She is beautiful and spoiled and obsessed with Stefan, the vampire character. Both have tragic pasts, yet neither is sympathetic. Stefan ruthlessly murders to feed himself, as does his brother vampire, Damon. Parents are absent . One girl claims to be descended from Druids; and psychic. These vampires are ruthless and unrepentant.


The vampires feed on wild animals and humans alike, including a beloved pet dog. Graphic descriptions of killing and feeding upon the kills. A homeless person and a high school teacher are murdered. A vampire in another century commits suicide. The main character is assaulted and nearly raped by a drunken student; a girl she is with is brutally raped. The rapes are violent but without graphic details. The biting and “turning” into vampires could be seen as violent.


A girl has implied sex with her boyfriend in a graveyard. The two main characters spend a night in his rented room clearly having sex, without graphic details and no reference to protection. They are obsessed with each other.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

One scene of students drunk at a school dance; one drunken boy attempts to rape the main character and a drunk girl is raped by someone else.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this book, first published in 1991, has been loosely made into a TV show. It bears no resemblance to the vampire sensation Twilight (other than that a vampire poses as a new high school student and a local girl falls for him). In fact the TV show and Twilight actually seem more similar. The book is very dated and pretty sexist. It is much more a horror story than a romance with graphic violence, including descriptions of the vampire murders of people and animals such as a pet dog. There is an attempted rape of the main character and a brutal rape of another girl. Main characters have sex, barely described.The female characters are not strong, independent, or otherwise positive characters. Unlike more recent depictions, these vampires have no remorse.

What's the story?

A mysterious new student (Stefan) arrives at a high school and the most popular girl in school (Elena) becomes obsessed with him, especially when he tries to ignore her. She uses everyone around her to get him to notice her. Meanwhile murders of animals, pets, and humans start happening around town -- not the time to use the local graveyard as a hook-up spot. When tragedy strikes and Elena and another girl are assaulted it finally gets Stefan's attention.

Is it any good?


This is definitely not a Twilight wannabe. Instead of tons of pining and talk of handsome otherworldy characters and their allure there are almost lurid descriptions of vampires hunting and feeding on animals -- including beloved pets and humans. Gratuitous assaults and a rape do not enhance a story that is basically about life in high school 20 years ago; no cell phones, no Internet, no strong femal characters. And the main characters find true love but don’t find any self-awareness or gain any emotional maturity by the story’s end.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about  whether reading horror or scary stories helps readers to face fear in real life.

  • How can you tell this book was written nearly 20 years ago?

  • Are vampires criminals?

  • Why do people let Elena treat them badly?

Book details

Author:L. J. Smith
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:September 1, 2009
Number of pages:253
Publisher's recommended age(s):12 - 17

This review of The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 14 years old Written byVampire_Princess320 January 18, 2011

Great series!

The books are nothing like the show, at least as far as I know. But both the show and the books are amazing, but I would have to say the show is better, because I've seen all the episodes so far. I haven't finished reading the book series yet though. But since were talking about the books, I would have to say their amazing. "The Fury", which is the third book, is my favorite so far, because it has more action. But this first book, I would have to say is kind of boring, since I didn't find any real interest in it, but that's because it's introducing the characters. Most books are like that in the beginning of a series. But the book is really good. It's gets better and better throughout the series. I'm sure you'll like it. :)
What other families should know
Great messages
Teen, 13 years old Written byhotpink78681 January 7, 2011

The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening

I LOVE the Vampire Diaries! Its about true love but also has its dark side!!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages
Adult Written byChrissy505 October 17, 2009

Really good but a bit inappropriate.

I actually really like this book. Read it its way better than common sense makes it sound. Just because the characters are more complex, and have good and bad sides doesn't mean they are evil.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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