Vampire Academy

Book review by
Julie A. Carlson, Common Sense Media
Vampire Academy Book Poster Image
Popular with kids
Sexy, mean-girl vampire story has strong language, bullying.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 24 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

A bit about Russian folkore and Catholic and Greek Orthodox religions.

Positive Messages

Messasges about the importance of friendship and how strong bonds can be, forgiving people when they've done wrong, finding the strength in yourself to admit when you're wrong, sticking up for others, and not bullying people or calling them names.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Most of the characters in the novel are bitter and egoistical. Though Rose Hathaway's a good friend and will do anything to protect her friend, Lissa, she's extremely nasty to her peers and the adults around her. She's vain, complains constantly, uses her looks and body to get what she wants from the boys at school, and talks back to everyone. For instance she says, "I liked flirting, I liked groups, and I liked making smartass comments in class." Not very positive. Lissa is having a hard time adjusting to her life as a princess and a vampire with magical powers, not to mention high school at St. Vladimir's Academy. She's often a depressing and lonely character. The one thing that's somewhat positive about Rose is that she's a fighter and trains to protect Lissa from the evil characters.


Neck biting, hand-to-hand combat.


Flirting, kissing, caressing, sexual situations, and mentions of sex. Rose talks about her breasts and getting naked with boys.


"Ass," "bitch," "f--k," "dumbass," "pissed," "badass," "slut," "whore," "bastard" -- all littered throughout the book. Also verbal abuse and name calling.


BCBG jeans.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Rose and Lissa drink alcohol. Blood drunk from humans and other vampires is considered intoxicating like drugs.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Vampire Academy is the first book in a popular series by Richelle Mead, featuring two girls at St. Vladimir's Academy: Lissa, who discovers she's a vampire princess, and Rose, a vampire guardian committed to protecting her. A movie adaptation hits theaters in February 2014. While the trailer for the movie makes it looks like a comedy, the novel's dark and full of Mean Girls-style high school bullying. The characters bicker from beginning to end, especially Rose. And there's violence (neck biting, hand-to-hand combat), drinking, sex, and lots of strong language, including "a--hole," "dumbass," "badass," "bitch," "f--k," "pissed," "slut," "whore," and "bastard."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byhelsingmusique November 5, 2014

I really loved this book as a teenager

I haven't read it in a few years, but it was a good book, an interesting story. Things were well explained and it was not difficult to get into a book, I t... Continue reading
Adult Written byBookworm1020 February 4, 2021
Teen, 13 years old Written byLouis91 January 23, 2015

Its very deep.

Its a good book and its VERY relatable to how I think. I dont know about everyone but i can relate to how rose feels which i think is very important in a book.... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byAries March 5, 2014

Vampire academy

This book series is great! It explains the drama of high-school and how to get through it with a fun vampire twist. I found that there wasn't many good rol... Continue reading

What's the story?

Rose and Lissa are on the run for some mysterious reason. Readers soon find out why when Rose, a dhamphir (guardian to the Moroi vampires) and Lissa, a Moroi vampire princess, must return to St. Vladimir's Academy. At school they discover more mysterious and secrets within St. Vladimir's walls. Rose and Lissa encounter something else at the academy, too: forbidden romance.

Is it any good?

VAMPIRE ACADEMY imagines a different kind of vampire, but the story is pretty much Mean Girls meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Rose thinks she has a sarcastic wit but it comes off more nasty than funny. She's extremely vain about her looks and thinks about boys 24/7. Her only redeeming quality is that she truly cares for her best friend, Lissa, and wants to protect her at any cost. Yet, her "I'm better than you" attitude's hard to get past. Granted Rose has some kick-butt fighting skills, but there are plenty of terrific heroines in other YA books. Vampire Academy seems more about high school life with vampires and a mystery thrown in the mix -- not much to sink your teeth into.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Do you plan to see the movie version of Vampire Academy? Why do you think the filmmakers chose to give it a more comedic tone than the novel?   

  • Did you figure out the mystery of the novel -- why Rose and Lissa ran away from St. Vladimir's? What makes a good mystery? 

  • What are your thoughts on Rose's sarcastic attitude toward everyone?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love Vampires and fantasy romance

Themes & Topics

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