On the outside the Radleys are trying to appear as though they are a normal English family, but in reality they are keeping secrets even the kids don’t know. Peter is a local doctor and wife Helen a stay at home mother. Oldest son Rowan spends his days getting bullied and hiding his love for his younger sister’s best friend. Daughter Clara enjoys gossiping with friends and rebelling against her parents.
It isn’t until Clara goes too far in protecting herself from an overly amorous classmate that their parents share the family secret: they are all abstaining vampires. For seventeen years Peter and Helen have been protecting their family by abstaining from human and vampire blood alike and only satisfying their cravings with the occasional raw steak. But now with a body to dispose of, a nosy garbage man, a deputy commissioner and the return of Peter’s brother, life isn’t so simple for the Radleys anymore.
The Radley’s was actually a 2011 winner of the ALA Alex Award, an award given to books written for adults but which appeal to young adults, which is how I came to discover it. While recent trends in young adult fiction have romanticized vampires, The Radleys shows a family trying to separate themselves from who they are because they know they would not be perceived in a positive light.