Vampire High

Vampire High

4.2 48
by Douglas Rees

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It doesn’t take long for Cody Elliot to realize that his new high school is a little different. The other students are supernaturally strong, don’t like the sunlight, and are always placing orders at the local blood bank. When his new friend shows him his fangs, Cody doesn’t need any more clues—these kids are vampires! As Cody struggles to fit


It doesn’t take long for Cody Elliot to realize that his new high school is a little different. The other students are supernaturally strong, don’t like the sunlight, and are always placing orders at the local blood bank. When his new friend shows him his fangs, Cody doesn’t need any more clues—these kids are vampires! As Cody struggles to fit into this secretive community, he disrupts centuries of human-vampire segregation, with some serious—and some seriously funny—consequences.

In sharp, humorous, and insightful prose, Douglas Rees creates a world of vampires where the real issue for humans is not the fear of being bitten, but the need to get along.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Rees (Lightning Time) sinks his teeth into teenage satire with this witty and original vampire novel. The narrator, 15-year-old Cody Elliot, is rebelling against his family's move from California to New Sodom, Mass., mostly by failing at school. His parents transfer him to what they are told is a public magnet school, Vlad Dracul. With bold, almost hyperbolic humor, the author describes a lavish campus, impossibly erudite students (nearly all of whom are tall, pale and raven-haired) and ludicrously difficult assignments. As the title suggests, the school proves to be almost entirely populated by vampires (or "jenti," the term these vampires prefer), a premise Rees exploits with aplomb. Cody, along with the six other "gadje" (non-jenti) students, has been accepted only to fill out the state-required water polo team (jenti, of course, are deathly afraid of water), and no one cares about his schoolwork-he is to get automatic A's. Unlike his numbskull teammates and their sodden coach, however, Cody refuses to accept his free ride. Friendship with a bullied jenti and a tentative romantic interest in a jenti aristocrat prompt Cody to probe the boundaries of jenti/gadje relations, an effort which, in this author's hands, also translates to an exploration of classic teen tensions between wishing to belong and maintaining individuality. The resolution is marred by some oddities in narrative logic (suddenly vampires are related to selkies), but on balance the story is fluid and fun. Ages 12-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
To quote from the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, September 2003: Angry over his family's move from California to New Sodom, Massachusetts, Cody acts out by flunking all his courses—even homeroom. His parents search out an alternative school, and offer him a choice between Our Lady of Perpetual Homework and Vlad Dracul Magnet School, which has a gorgeous campus and a great reputation, though it's a little unusual. For instance, the principal has a pet wolf, and most of the students look similar—tall and pale, with dark eyes and black hair, and Rumanian names. Cody is admitted to Vlad Dracul immediately, on condition that he joins the water polo team. It turns out, of course, that the other students are vampires, who abhor water. When he comes to the aid of a fellow student who is being bullied, Cody makes some friends, including a lovely vampire princess, but also some enemies, and he starts to learn more about vampire culture. His forthrightness ends up bringing about changes in the relations between vampires and non-vampires, with surprising and happy results. Snappy dialog and the age-old appeal of the vampire make this comedy a winner. Action, romance, literature and humor all play a role, and the result is an entertaining romp that middle school and junior high students will enjoy. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 2003, Random House, Dell Laurel Leaf, 226p., Ages 12 to 15.
—Paula Rohrlick
Cody is not succeeding in school. In fact, he is even flunking homework. He has two choices for a new school-Our Lady of Perpetual Homework or Vlad Dracul Magnet School. He chooses the latter, but soon notices that things are different. The students are vampires. The school must retain a water polo team so that they are not shut down. Vampires cannot swim. Cody and a few other jentis (this title's version of muggles) are allowed to attend this school, receiving automatic As and advancing to college as long as they play on the team. At first the silliness-the principal tells him he should go back to California-and lack of reality seem to create a story with no values. Soon, however, Cody decides he would rather earn his grades. He also gives his own blood to save a friend. In some ways, this novel is like Harry Potter. Its magical world of jentis (muggles) and vampires (wizards) exists with the focus on school and friendships with a little sport or water polo (quidditch) added. Fans of vampire fiction will not find the traditional darkness, blood and gore, and transformations. Although the characters are in high school, they seem a little younger, especially because Cody and his friends play a game involving dolls. This story will surely be appreciated by reluctant male readers who enjoy the writing of J. K. Rowling or Lemony Snicket. Readers will find humor and reality along with the fantasy. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2003, Delacorte, 226p., and PLB Ages 11 to 18.
—Jennifer Bromann
Children's Literature
Cody Elliot is a bright but unmotivated youth who misses his former home and friends in California. Due to poor grades in his new Massachusetts school, his father forces him to attend Vlad Dracul, a private high school unlike any that Cody has imagined. With their tall, lean forms, jet black hair, and fair skin, most of the students look strikingly similar. They move quietly through the halls, generally ignoring him and his obviously different ways. He soon learns that he is attending a school for vampires, or jenti, as they prefer to be called. He is granted admission only due to his ability to enter water, a fear held by vampires, to compete on the school's water polo team. Without him and his fellow non-jenti students, the school would not meet accreditation standards and would thus be shut down. As a result, Cody does not have to do any homework or even attend class, a seeming paradise for a kid like him. Cody refuses to abide by this system, however, wanting to prove himself by completing the impossibly advanced homework assignments and earning at least his own self-respect. When he willingly donates his blood to a suffering jenti friend, he is called a hero, undercutting the school's attempts to maintain separation between jenti and non-jenti students. With the help of Justin and Ileana, two jentis who befriend him, he learns and helps teach others acceptance and trust. Cody's wry tone and perceptive observations lend incredible humor to the tale. Rees is keenly aware of the hypocrisy that inhabits teenage life. Although far-fetched, the idea of vampires works especially well as an alternate setting for teen (and human) woes that plague us all. With well-crafted details that answersuch questions as to why the school exists, where the vampires get their blood, etc., Rees creates a story that is believable despite the unusual premise. Fun and imaginative. 2003, Delacorte, Ages 12 to 16.
— Wendy Glenn
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-When Cody Elliot's parents receive his less-than-stellar report card, they decide it's time for a change. His options are Our Lady of Perpetual Homework and Vlad Dracul Magnet School, so the choice, for Cody, is obvious. After his interview with the headmaster at Vlad and meeting Charon, the school's yellow-eyed wolf, Cody knows there is something decidedly different about this place. He also learns why he gets admitted: most of the students are vampires and they will die if they get wet. State standards require a water-polo team, so the school takes in gadge (non-vampire) students for the team. Cody makes fast friends with two classmates by defending one of them against bullies, but eventually the differences in their vampire status cause friction. By the end, however, Cody finds a simple solution to meeting the state standards, and everyone lives happily ever after. Rees has created a very familiar plot in a less-than-familiar setting. The school is well described down to the marble foyer and the librarian who can morph into a wolf to control unruly students and wayward mice. Characters are more caricatures than well-drawn individuals, but that may work to the book's advantage. Some students will relish the familiar plot line and people, and the vampire angle is sure to attract a few readers.-Lynn Evarts, Sauk Prairie High School, Prairie du Sac, WI Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Cody Elliot’s plan to get his parents to return to California (Objective #1: fail all subjects in his new Massachusetts public high school) backfires when his not-so-doting dad transfers him to Vlad Dracula Magnet School. His new school is populated by persons of Romanian descent known among themselves as the Jenti--and guess who their honored ancestor was. Cody’s fresh mouth keeps him in trouble in his new school, while his two Jenti friends, Justin and Ileana, labor to incorporate him into the school culture. Rees presents amusing twists on the fantasy tropes about vampires, with funny and convincing details about their daily lives and living preferences. Although predictable, the ending will not bother teen readers one bit. The humor, engaging characters and need to find out what Cody is up to will carry them through a fast, satisfying read. Could Vlad Dracula still rule? Readers will love to find out. (Fiction. 12-14)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
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Age Range:
12 Years

Read an Excerpt


This all began on the day I came home with straight Fs. F in English, F in math, F in social studies, F in science. I'd even managed to get Fs in gym and homeroom. I was proud of that.

My parents, however, weren't.

"What is this?" my father raged when I showed him my grades.

"A report card," I said. "They put these letters down on it, see, and it tells you what grade you got."

"I see the letters," he said. "And the comments with them. 'Cody has turned in no homework at all for nine weeks.' 'Cody has been absent or tardy every day this quarter.' Oh, this one's a classic. 'Cody has spent every day in class trying to prove that Sir Isaac Newton was mistaken about the law of gravity. These experiments have consisted of repeatedly jumping off my desk and flapping his arms. This is distracting to the other students. He has done no other work.' And homeroom. There is no comment from your homeroom teacher, so I suppose I'll have to ask you--how on God's green earth did you manage to flunk homeroom?"

"Easy. I never went," I said.

"And what's this?" said Dad. "A special note from the principal? Yes. 'Your son has shown the intellectual development of an illiterate hurdy-gurdy grinder and the attention span of his monkey. It is impossible to evaluate his work as he has not done any. He is lazy, sly, and generally useless. I confidently predict he will be spending the rest of his life in ninth grade. I only hope it will be at some other school. Go back to California.'"

That last part sounded like good advice to me. But I doubted Dad would take it.

We glared at each other in that way we'd developed ever since he'd moved us from home to this dump of a town, New Sodom, Massachusetts. He wouldn't drop his eyes and I wouldn't drop mine.

This was Mom's cue to stop making terrified little gasps and whimpers and start making excuses for me. I liked this part.

"It's not his fault, Jack," she said.


"It's this place."

Right again.

"He's been miserable ever since we moved here."

Three rights. Dad's out.

But Dad didn't know he was out.

"Beth, he's cutting off his nose to spite his face," he said. "I can't accept that."

Yeah. And you can't do anything about it, either.

Dad threw back his head like he was about to explain to a jury why only an idiot wouldn't see things his way and give his client what he wanted.

"Now, look here, young man," he said. "This move is the best thing that's ever happened to us. I was going nowhere at Billings, Billings and Billings. Jack Elliot was good enough to handle their really tough cases, but not good enough to promote. No, my name wasn't Billings, so that was that. When this opportunity opened up at Leach, Swindol and Twist, I knew it was the best chance I'd ever get to have the career I wanted. So here we are. And here we stay. And you'd better get used to it."

Fine. And I will go right on flunking. And you can get used to that.

I didn't say it. I only thought it. But I meant it.

Dad looked at my report card again.

"Homeroom," he said softly. "My son flunked homeroom."

Mom came over and put her arms around me.

"It won't do any good to get mad, Jack," she said. "These grades are a cry for help. Cody needs something in his life to connect to. He needs something to love."

Good idea, Mom. I would love to go home.

"Extracurricular activities, perhaps," Dad said. "Working on a road gang after school. Freelance garbage collection. He needs to acquire a skill with which he can support himself, since college will obviously be out of the question."

"That's not fair," Mom said. "You dragged us three thousand miles from home to further your career and you expect us both to accept it as though nothing has happened. Well, that's not realistic."

Now it was "us." This was sounding pretty good. Better than usual. Maybe enough "us" would get me back to California. I thought about doing the stare again but dropped my head instead.

"And another thing," Dad said. "That hat is an obscenity."

He must have thought Mom had made a good point. He was changing the subject.

"That hat goes," he said. "At least don't wear it in the house."

This was my Black Death baseball cap, which I always wore backward because Dad hates baseball caps worn backward.

"Don't change the subject," Mom said. "You're not in court now. Cody needs something in his life to care about."

"All right, all right," Dad sighed. "Tell us, Cody, can you think of anything you want that would make you happier?"


Dad crumpled up my report card.

"I partially agree with you, Beth," he said. "Our son does need something new in his life. He needs a tougher school. Tomorrow I'll start making inquiries."

The next day I was so worried that Cotton Mather High started to look almost good to me. The cracked ceilings, the wooden floors that creaked like they were in pain; even the boys' bathroom, which was as dark as a grave and smelled worse. The thought that I might never see them again made them seem almost friendly. No, that wasn't true. It was just fear that, bad as this was, Dad was determined to find someplace even worse.

When he came home that night, he had a thin smile on his face and a couple of big manila envelopes in his hand.

"Seek and ye shall find," he said. "I have learned that there are not one, but two really hard schools in this excellent town. I've got all the information right here."

"You work fast," Mom said, crossing her arms.

"It turns out that there are other members of my law firm who have children in each one," Dad told us. "Clancy Kincaid has a son and daughter in Our Lady of Perpetual Homework. He speaks very well of it. And there's a public school that's just as good and even harder to get into--Vlad Dracul Magnet School. Hamilton

Antonescu's daughter goes there."

Our Lady of Perpetual Homework?

My stomach froze. I'd heard about that place. Every kid in town was afraid to be sent there.

From the Hardcover edition.

Meet the Author

Douglas Rees, a young adult librarian, once spent a year in Massachusetts near a town much like New Sodom.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Vampire High 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 49 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Cody Elliot has just moved to Massachusetts from California. He hates his new town of New Sodom and is proud of his report card full of F's (even in homeroom). His dad, not so proud. Cody gets sent to a new school, Vlad Dracul.

It doesn't take long for Cody to realize that something is different about his fellow students. They wear sunglasses inside, they are strangely silent, and seem to be super-smart. After he sees someone's fangs he realizes the obvious- his classmates are vampires.

Most people would be creeped out by this, but not Cody. As it turns out, going to school with vampires is pretty sweet. Cody doesn't have to do much of anything. He gets free A's, a free ride through college, a free ride through life basically. All he has to do is get in the pool and pretend to play water polo once and a while.

It's when Cody decides to try to get real grades, make some friends, and actually try to win a game of water polo that things start to get messy. Vampires don't like messy very much. For Cody, life is about to get really interesting.

This book was really good, very hard to put down. It had a great plot and is full of mystery. I would suggest it to anyone who is a fan of vampires.
Taylorraven More than 1 year ago
I picked this book up and read the first line and couldn't stop. I laughed so hard at the author's unique sense of humor coming from the teenagers point of view. The book is seriously a good read, I enjoyed it from the first to the last chapter. The plot line is simple, the characters are identifiable and it gives a great ending with how it should have ended not a bubble gum pop. I would recommend this book to young and old alike.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow! Everything that you need to learn about modern vampires and more are all in this book! This is mostly about a kid named Cody doing really bad at a public school and had to go to a private school! But soon cody starts to relize that there is more to this school mosltly everyone there looks similar to each other...other then the swim team! Soon he makes some friends in this school named Justin and Ileana. He soons discovers that this is a school full of blood sucking bats known as Vampires. Soon he starts to know them alot better and becomes pretty good friends with them. He notices that these vampires dont like alot of human beings because they lie about every single thing they know about Vampires. Cody wants the teachers to give him his actual grades not give him STRAIGH A'S because hes in the swim team...see Vampires cant swim!!! Well if you want to read this great book about how Cody goes to a school full of Vampires youll just have to read VAMPIRE HIGH!!!Belive its one of the best book i read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Vampire High was a good story. Usually when you think of vampires you think of bloody vicious sharp toothed monsters killing people.Vampire High was an entertaining, satisfying story. What really was cool was how the characters developed, and that one gadje boy, Cody Elliot, changed the world. I wouldn't give it a five star but this book was funny, the only minus was the dull kind of setting. It could have been a better setting. The beginning is dull, but it gets more exciting..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books i read
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bookreader94266 More than 1 year ago
It was really good. So interesting. A little boring in the beginning but it gets better.
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