The first book in the Vampire High
series, Douglas Rees’s paranormal fantasy novel for teenagers, Vampire High
(2003), introduces a teenage boy who finds out that his new high school is an academy for supernatural creatures. In 2008, the book was nominated for the California Young Readers Medal for its humorous prose, its sharp insights, and its fresh take on the supernatural genre. A bestselling novelist, Rees writes for children and teenagers. He grew up in airbases across Germany and the USA.Vampire High
is set in Massachusetts. Cody Elliot lives with his father, a prominent attorney. A high school freshman, Cody recently moved to Massachusetts from California so his father could pursue a promotion. More than anything, Cody wants to go home. He feels that he doesn’t fit in with his new classmates; he doesn’t have any friends.
Wanting to punish his father for uprooting his life, Cody deliberately flunks all his classes. His father puts up with this for a while, but when Cody gets another straight-F report card, he pulls Cody out of school, telling him that he is transferring. He gives Cody two options— Our Lady of Perpetual Homework, a strict Catholic school or Vlad Dracul Magnet School.
Cody hates the idea of endless homework, and the Vlad Dracul campus looks awesome. The principal tells Cody that he may join Vlad Dracul whenever he wants, on the condition that he joins the water polo team. Cody loves sports, and he signs up immediately. However, all is not as it seems at Vlad Dracul.
Cody notices that every student looks the same. They all have black hair and pale skin, they wear sunglasses all day, and they stay inside whenever possible. They love sports because they are all supernaturally strong and fast, and they are incredibly smart. Cody feels completely out of his depth, but his father thinks he needs the challenge.
One day, Cody sees his classmates visiting a local blood bank. They are not donating blood—they’re taking it. Thinking this is weird, Cody decides to investigate. One of his classmates shows him his fangs and tells Cody that he is a vampire. At first, Cody doesn’t believe him, but when he thinks about it, everything makes sense: That’s why they don’t like the daylight and they’re uncannily strong.
Although vampires are athletic and fast, they cannot stand water. The principal accepted Cody into the school because they need a player to complete their water polo team. The other players are selkies. They are friendly and harmless. As long as Cody stays on the water polo team and plays with the selkies, he will get straight As. Cody hates being the only human at school, but in the water, he feels at home.
Before long, Cody makes new friends. He asks them about their heritage and whether they believe in werewolves. The students claim that there is no such thing as werewolves, but Cody finds out that they are lying. The vampires can turn into werewolves whenever they want.
This revelation terrifies Cody at first, but he realizes that the vampires don’t want to hurt anyone; they can’t help what they are. The vampires teach Cody that there is no need to kill humans for blood. They visit the blood bank so they don’t hurt anyone. Admiring their compassion, Cody decides to donate his own blood to his friends. However, he soon discovers that this is a mistake.
Suddenly, all the vampires want Cody’s blood. Donating blood weakens Cody and he struggles to keep up with water polo. When his father finds out what Cody is doing, he’s furious. He tells Cody to stop being so friendly with vampires and focus on the team. Cody reminds his father that he is the only human at school and he needs friends. There is nothing wrong with vampires, whatever his father thinks.
Cody finds out that there is a tense history between humans and vampires. They don’t get along. Once, the vampires killed humans. Now, having promised not to harm humans, there is an uneasy peace between them. Cody didn’t know life could be so complicated, and now, he feels that he is the only person who can ease the tensions between humans and vampires forever.
Cody decides to rebel against everyone. He doesn’t want to cruise by at school. He asks the principal to grade him fairly like everyone else. He trains hard so that he can be the best water polo player on the team. Everyone admires his efforts, seeing a different side of human nature.
At the end of the school year, Cody’s team plays against a rival human school. When the humans find out they were playing against selkies, they demand a rematch. Cody’s father tells them that the selkies did nothing wrong and they won the match fairly. Cody’s team wins the day, and Cody sees a new, more pleasant side of his father.