Read The Radleys by Matt Haig Online


The Radleys are an everyday family who juggle dysfunctional lives. Except, as Peter and Helen Radley know, but their children have yet to find out, the Radleys happen to be a family of abstaining vampires. When one night Clara finds herself driven to commit a bloodthirsty act, her parents decide to explain a few things....

Title : The Radleys
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781847678607
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 341 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Radleys Reviews

  • Kelly (and the Book Boar)
    2018-12-27 13:16

    Find all of my reviews at: was looking for a scary vampire story. You’re probably thinking, “duh, Salem’s Lot, you idiot!” Well smartypantses, that was my first choice too . . . and then “The Cloud” ate it. Whoever decided we should put our faith in clouds anyway? They aren’t very stable. Anywho, since the geniuses at Amazon (all hail Amazon!) couldn’t solve my problem all lickity splitty like I demanded (don’t they know who I am? I have fives of followers who want to know what I’m reading), I decided to pick up another vampire book and prepared to get all scurrrrred with The Radleys. Jokes on me! This one wasn’t scary at all . . . but it was awesome. The Radleys take all of the redonkulous things there are to complain about when it comes to vampire stories and turns them on their ear. To begin with, the Radley family members are vegetarians . . . .No, not that kind. You know what I’m talking about. The dreaded vampire vegetarian . . . No blood, no foul, right? Well, it was up until the Radley teens started pubing out and discovered some of their buddies might actually be “their own personal brand of heroin” . . . Ahhhh, if only everyone could be as restrained as Edward Cullen and be satisfied to simply stalk the girl of their dreams . . . Such is not the case with the Radleys, however, and a little accident happens . . . . Leading the Radley parents to seek some outside help in order to cover up explain what’s going on with the children. Enter Uncle Will – who for whatever reason I pictured as something kinda like this . . . Well, without the extra face on the back of his head and all that jazz. Thank you, brain! Wes Bentley? Good right?Wait, where was I? Oh yeah, making a picturebook. So anyway, Uncle Will arrives to save the day introduce us to some more vampire clichés . . . and eventually all the skeletons (figuratively, not literally) come tumbling out of the closet, resulting in a most delightful twist on a book about family. Highly recommended to anyone looking for a different kind of vampire story.

  • Cyna
    2019-01-04 17:18

    The Radleys is not exactly a paranormal romance. Both the back of the book and the introductory letter (in our ARC) by Free Press Senior Editor Amber Qureshi call it a 'domestic drama', or as Amber says, more of an American Beauty than a Twilight. This is an accurate description (I think - I barely remember American Beauty), and exactly the reason I fell in love with The Radleys by the end of the first chapter.The writing here is solid. It flows, it's quick, light, and - oh God you have no idea how much of a wonderful relief this is - it's intelligent. There's no pandering, no painfully awkward witty exchanges that are trying too hard (and often failing) to be funny. The dialog is natural, and the characters speak the way normal people speak. In England, anyway. I can't emphasize enough how wonderful it is to read a vampire book with a tone that isn't dumbed down or soaked in angst, and doesn't take itself too seriously.But again, calling The Radleys a "vampire book" isn't fair. The vampirism here is really incidental. Being a vampire - and all the blood, biting, and changing that go with it - really only serve as a stand-in/allegory for everything from alcohol to the suppression of basic aspects of human nature for the sake of conformity. And it's kind of awesome.It's not perfect, though...Read more at You're Killing.Us

  • Nikoleta
    2019-01-04 12:19

    Το βιβλίο Ράντλεϋ δεν είναι ένα συνηθισμένο βιβλίο φαντασίας. Ο Haig εχει βάλει τους ήρωες του, μια οικογένεια βαμπίρ που προσπαθούν να γίνουν οι τέλειοι συνηθισμένοι συμβατικοί άνθρωποι, να ζουν στο τέλειο μικροαστικό περιβάλλον, ή τουλάχιστον να προσπαθούν να ζήσουν. Το ενδιαφέρον φυσικά είναι ότι όταν διάβαζα αυτό το βιβλίο, δεν είδα τους Ράντλεϋ ως βαμπίρ, αντιθέτως τους είδα σαν όλους εμάς…. Και με έπιασε μια μικρή θλίψη. Είναι γεγονός πως ο συγγραφέας δημιούργησε μια σάτιρα, κατά όλων αυτών των ανθρώπων που πάνε κόντρα στις προσωπικές τους επιθυμίες τόσο έντονα που μεταλλάσουν την ίδια την προσωπικότητα τους μέχρι στο τέλος αυτό που μένει να είναι τόσο κοινό και αδιάφορο που τίποτα πια δεν έχει σημασία…Στην αρχή σαν βιβλίο με εκνεύρισε πολύ, διότι τα κεφάλαια είναι πάρα πολύ μικρά, και το κάθε κεφάλαιο απευθύνεται σε διαφορετικό ήρωα, οπότε με το που έμπαινα στον κάθε ήρωα και στη συγκεκριμένη κατάσταση με έκοβε και με πέταγε έξω γιατί τελείωνε το κεφάλαιο κ πηγαίναμε σε άλλο με άλλον ήρωα και άντε πάλι από την αρχή, βέβαια κάποια στιγμή συνήθισα. Συνολικά το βρήκα πρωτότυπο και ενδιαφέρον σαν βιβλίο και ναι μου άρεσε αρκετά.3,5/5 αστεράκια

  • Stephanie
    2019-01-14 19:12

    Excellent little story of family secrets and what happens when a tightly woven lie begins to unravel.In this story, Peter and Helen Radley have moved out to a pleasant village in the English country-side to raise their children, Rowan and Clara. They wanted to escape their wild life in London and live a quiet, ordinary life with their children and live a peaceful, normal life... Well, as normal a life as you can have, when you are an Abstainer, a "non-practicing" vampire.Their quiet life takes a decidedly non-quiet turn when teenaged Clara is attacked at party by another teen boy and goes vamp on him and kills him. Her parents are now faced with explaining the family secret to the kids, who had no idea they were vamipres, and finding a way to cover-up this murder.Lots of fun, good family drama, and a nice resolution. Recommended for folks who like vampire stories but don't want all the Twilight teen drama or vampire paranormal romance.

  • SJ
    2019-01-19 16:00

    Let's get one thing straight here, shall we? This isn't a book about vampires.Okay, yes. It's a book which has vampire characters. I won't dispute that. But the book itself...that's not what it's about. Not the way I see it.This is, instead, a book about family and relationships and love and how we love the people who hurt us, and hurt the people we love. It's a book about the blurry lines between our intrinsic nature and desires the way that we cope with those things. And it's about how you play the hand you were dealt. All this is wrapped up in a clever, well-written, sharp voice with just enough hints of gore to keep you a little sick, but not so much that it ever over shadows the relationships in the story.I'll admit, I found this to be something of an emotional ride. It was just SO. DARN. times. I thought for sure it would end as low as it started. The ending was a real surprise for me, and worth the wait. This book really reminds me why I am an adult who reads young adult fiction.

  • Jennifer
    2018-12-22 15:27

    "Twilight" eat your heart out : )In this immensely satisfying read Matt Haig presents us with the Radleys- a typical middle class English family that just happens to want to drink your blood. But like good Britons they are fighting against their baser instincts and leading an upstanding existence in a quaint country town. Having recently read Ian McEwan's "On Chesil Beach" the portrait of the, yet again, typically repressed Brits was especially on point. But more than poking fun at the English stiff upper lip it was nice to see a vamipre story with some actual blood in it's veins- one that gets down to the nitty gritty of what it would mean to actually be a vampire with out romanticizing it *too* much.Ultimately, "The Radleys" was able to take this well-worn genre and have an entirely fresh take on it. It calls to mind something like what "The Sopranos" did for Mafia films or even a touch of "Shawn of the Dead"So of course the next question is, sequel Mr. Haig?note: this book was a Goodreads First Readhttp://sometimesjenniferreads.wordpre...

  • Jackie
    2019-01-11 18:05

    Yes, it's true. It IS another vampire book. But with some interesting new ideas about "abstaining" vampires (they don't drink blood anymore--just eat a whole lot of rare meat) and mixing in with society that keep it fun and fresh and the pages flying by. It's a British novel, so there are some interesting quirks there, as well. The basic premise is that two abstaining vampires--one a born vampire, one converted--have become your basic suburban couple with two teenagers--two vampire teenagers who have no idea they are vampires. Their pale skin and sunlight issues have been variously explained away to them. Until one night at a party when a boy tries to attack Clara, and she ends up pretty much eating him. Then the blood really hits the fan and 17 years of secrets start coming out. I found it quite entertaining, with bits of mystery, love story, and action/horror. But NC17 I'd say--not for Twilight teeny-boppers.

  • Tressa
    2018-12-23 18:13

    I thought I was tired of the vampire genre, but obviously not, not if the subject is treated as interestingly as in Matt Haig's The Radleys.The Radleys is about a well-off suburban family living in England whose Bible is the Abstainer's Handbook. Helen and Peter have chosen to eschew blood so that they can live as a "normal" family. Their children, Clara and Rowan, are pale, anemic, and prone to skin irritations. They have no idea they're part of a vampire clan, until Clara is attacked one night by a lout from her high school. When she fights back and gets a taste of blood, she learns what she is. A nice vampire tale.

  • Anne
    2019-01-07 16:21

    4.5 stars. The Radleys is an awesome story if you're looking for something a little out of the ordinary. Which I was. The plot is pretty crazy in the way that only something in a suburbanish setting can be. Think, American Beauty, but with fangs. Cute, huh?It's about the lies that you tell your spouse, the lies that you tell your kids, and the lies that you tell yourself. Mostly, though, it's about the consequences of repressing yourself just to fit in. I mean, there's got to be a happy medium, right?

  • Jessi
    2019-01-18 18:11

    The Radleys is a different look at the young adult Vampire situation that today’s literature has going on. The Radleys are a mundane young couple with 2 teenage children living in a cute exceptionally boring village. Helen Radley is the mum, she seems to only tolerate her husband, has a bit more patience for the children and little to no interest in the emotional sanity of her family. To be honest Helen seems a bit distracted.Peter Radley, the Dad and Doctor. He is sharp and useless and comes across as possibly the meekest character in the book or ever. That's right he is a scared red panda or the human form of it.The children Clara and Rowan I found endearing and interesting, every ailment -they have it, they are never comfortable in their own skin and are exhausted everyday of their young lives, but they persevere and love each other. So when it comes out that Helen and Peter are vampires and have been living a life of abstinence (no blood at all) since they found out they were to become parents. Suddenly all the children’s hellish health issues make sense. They believed drinking blood was wrong and they made their children suffer for it.This instantly causes me to hate the parents which I am not sure if that was the authors intention here.I guess the neighbors should be happy I mean none of them have gone missing.Right? Until one does and this is where the story gets good, a bit of gore and tension and then in a panic Peter calls his mysterious older brother Will to fix a sticky situation, Will is kind of a badass vampire. He has to be extremely good looking because he scores a lot of hot chicks… in a camper van. I mean I would think twice if like Chris Hemsworth pulled up in a caravan and said “lets get out of here” I mean I would still go but there would be some hesitation. So Will is a very strong vampire who does not get the abstaining nonsense and encourages the children to be true to themselves and they are the better for it. So I immediately like him he is improving the childen's way of life and they are actually happy and not in pain for the first time in their lives. So he is the hero! Nope, he is still the villain. But I’ll not lie I like em bad.

  • Susan (aka Just My Op)
    2019-01-15 13:14

    There are way too many vampire/zombie/living dead books available right now, but The Radleys presented itself to me as a fun book about a funny and warm family of reformed vampires, including a vegan. So I bit, pun intended. And I made it to about 150 pages before I gave up.For me, this book was neither funny nor warm-hearted.I've read some conflicting information - was this first published as a YA book and now there is an adult version? Or the opposite? The writing, especially in the beginning, seemed written for a young, or at least immature, audience, but too graphic for younger teens. That got a bit better as it went on. The characters seemed more like caricatures, too much like other, better known vampire characters. I still didn't like the characters after 150 pages and, more importantly, the plot was still boring me. Vegan daughter most definitely eats something not in her diet, family rallies around her, bad vampires, good vampires. And a mom who says things like “Now, me and your dad have been talking” and “Me and Peter want you to go.” Is there a reason for such poor grammar? Not as far as I read. She is married to a doctor (who doesn't care about his patients); you'd think she would be able to string together a proper sentence.I am sure there will be an audience for this book, but for those wanting a light and entertaining read rather than wanting yet another vampire book that takes itself too seriously, don't bother.Two stars instead of one because I didn't finish it and it may be wonderful in the end. Also because it was something totally different than I was expecting, which is due to hype rather than the book itself. I was given a copy of this book from the publisher.

  • Nina
    2018-12-31 13:13

    You've got your suffocating suburbs with white picket fences and book clubs, and you've got your average blood-sucking family. Boom. (bnr. More of a worrying sizzle with a smell of burning flesh.)Nice exploration of the issue (you can clearly see the issue, can't you?), but I could have done with some more in depth character development wrt the kids (who, as always, become overdramatic, simple-minded cardboard slabs when in the hands of a non-YA literary fiction writer) and Peter and less dillydallying on Helen's part (I have a hard time with middle-aged female characters unless they are badass bitches who shoot and high-kick people in the face, okay?), but that would have inevitably turned this into a 600-page tome, and not everyone is into that. (I am.)Still a fun, engaging and sharply written novel to pass a couple days with. It won't take more, because it begs to be gobbled up quickly. I'm not a beach reader because I'm not a beach person, but I think this would make for a great beach read.(I'm into parentheses today.)

  • Wealhtheow
    2019-01-06 19:26

    The Radleys are a normal suburban family with the typical problems such families have in novels: the parents live meaningless and boring lives and feel trapped and stifled by their marriage but don't have the courage to do anything about it, while their teenagers are disaffected and self-absorbed. They're also vampires, which I thought would add excitement and interest. 174 pages in, and this hope was not met. Instead it was page after page of characters' boring internal workings as they wish for connection and excitement. I skimmed the rest of the book; a lot of stuff apparently happens, but none of it gripped me. And I was disappointed that (view spoiler)[each of the Radleys end up embracing their vampire sides and giving up on being abstainers. (hide spoiler)]People who like literary fiction would probably like this book a lot more than I did. As fantasy stories go, I found it completely unsatisfying. I didn't care about the characters, I didn't like the minutia-obsessed writing style, and I didn't like the undercurrent of disdain for normal life that I felt running through it.

  • Mizuki
    2019-01-11 18:07

    The Radleys is an enjoyable comedy about a family of vampires who tried hard to deny and hide their nature, but as their two children coming of age, keeping those kids ignorant is an impossible thing to do and the parents' denial and lies are backing fire...with a bloody, messy result. I enjoy the book, but I don't really like how in the end the blame has been put entirely on the 'evil, selfish vampires' and the supposedly 'good, conforming' vampires get off the hook without much soul-searching or moral dilemma. Guess what The Radleys reminds me of? It's a B-rated movie called The Hamiltons (2006) LINK︰ Chinese description on The Hamiltons (wrote by me):《咸美頓一家》是一部很有趣的小品電影。因為正在看《雷德利一族》這本小說,所以又想起這部電影。話說在某小鎮住了一家人,這一家的父母業已雙亡,只餘下長兄支撐家計,底下有一對放浪形骸的雙胞胎弟妹,以及正在跟已身天性掙扎的三弟,還有一個被關在地下室的神秘么弟。隨著越來越多鎮民離奇死亡或失踪,矛頭開始指向形跡可疑的咸美頓一家…結局算是出人意表。

  • Denny
    2019-01-16 15:04

    I've read many vampire novels (excluding the teen ones) that I felt I could not do anymore. However the Radleys renewed my faith that an original one could still be written. I usually shudder at pop culture references but this was so good I didn't even mind them.

  • Mariana
    2019-01-04 17:13

    Ναι ωραία οι Ράντλευ βρήκαν το νόημα της ζωής όλα ωραία και καλά ζουν τώρα ακολουθώντας τους στίχους του τραγουδιού ''Σε όποιον αρέσουμε για τους άλλους δεν θα μπορέσουμε'' αλλά με την μάνα αυτού του παιδιού που κατασπάραξε η μικρή κορούλα των Ράντλευ τί ακριβώς έγινε;;; Τί συνέβη με αυτήν την οικογένεια;; Ο γιόκας της δεν ήταν κανένας άγιος και για αυτό που πήγε να κάνει ήθελε κρέμασμα αλλά μια μάνα έχασε το παιδί της. Τί της είπαν;; Θα μείνει για πάντα εξαφανισμένο και μια ζωή θα βασανίζεται με τη σκέψη τί συνέβη στο παιδί της κι αν είναι κάπου εκεί έξω ζωντανό;; Μήπως κατασκεύασε η αστυνομία καμιά παράξενη ιστορία;; Αλλά πώς δικαιολόγησε το κατακρεουργημένο σώμα και την ύπαρξη του DNA της κοπελιάς;; Ναι ωραία δεν ήταν αυτό το βασικό θέμα του βιβλίου ούτε η μάνα αυτή ο βασικός χαρακτήρας ούτε καν διάλογο δεν είχε από άλλους μάθαμε για εκείνη αλλά υπήρχε στο βιβλίο η ιστορίας της, ήταν μέρος της υπόθεσης δεν γίνεται να με αφήνεις με τόσα αναπάντητα ερωτηματικά μόνο και μόνο γιατί δεν είναι το πρόσωπο που μας ενδιαφέρει εδώ!

  • Chance Lee
    2018-12-28 13:02

    There is not enough time and too many books to read for me to finish this one. Dull, dull, dull. I haven't too many books that have received the Alex Award for an adult book that's also good for teens, and if this is any indication of what to expect, I doubt I will read anymore.Here's what you get from The Radleys:1. Juvenile adults acting like teenagers. It seems that the entirety of Peter and Helen Radley's problems have to do from their loveless marriage. Get a divorce or get some real problems and get back to me. 2. Arbitrary vampire rules. A "real problem" occurs when their daughter, Clara, realizes she's a vampire and eats a boy. That was pretty neat. The horror aspects of the novel were well done, but too few and far between. The vampire mythology was a little lazy, though. Changing classic vampire mythos is fine, as long as there's a reason for it and not just to make a flimsy plot go smoother.3. Present-tense writing that only serves to emphasize how goddamn boring everything is. Present-tense should be reserved for action, suspense, heightened senses. Not for eating toast and wallowing in middle-class malaise.4. A terrible paperback cover. Not the author's fault, but seriously, WTF is going on in the paperback cover?I skimmed from 200 to the end, and it seems like it might have had an interesting development near the very end, but I just didn't care about any of the characters.

  • Megan
    2019-01-10 15:10

    The Radleys is an amazing, quirky and thought provoking story. It features (what else?) the Radley family, struggling to live as normal a life as possible in small town England. Like every family, the Radleys have their skeletons in the closet; in this case they are all “abstaining” vampires. But this book is about so much more than vamps. It is about abstinence and gluttony and maintaining a healthy balance between what you desire and what you need. It is about self-confidence vs. insecurity and jealousy. It is about accepting who you are and what you can live with. And of course, The Radleys is about family bonds, and all of the guilt and dysfunction that can accompany them. Author Matt Haig wrote an incredibly fast paced book with multiple points of view and brief one to two page chapters. Normally, this is a writing trick which causes me to lose interest within pages. Here it is not a trick, but a tool which Haig has used to tell a well-rounded tale and keep the plot moving. This is a book I can’t recommend enough. Those of you who are sick of vamps or wary of the paranormal shouldn’t be put off. Although this is an awesome little vamp story, it really can’t be described as such. As I said, The Radleys is about so very much more than vamps. I loved the ideas put forth in this book and definitely plan on reading more by Matt Haig.

  • Astrid Langeveld
    2019-01-16 18:01

    Ik was erg benieuwd! Het is gelukkig geen afgezaagd verhaal over vampieren. Het leest heerlijk weg!

  • Darren Hartwell
    2018-12-23 14:25

    Over the last few years I have become infeasibly bored of vampires. Those blood-sucking garlic-phobes are everywhere and I rarely go out of my way to read a YA vampire story these days. For some reason though this one grabbed my attention. The cover is a triumph of graphic design and the synopsis made it sound a little different from the usual post-Twilight drivel that has been flooding the market, so I decided to give it a go, and so should you.Before I go any further, a word of warning. This book was, I believe, originally written for the adult market, but has been repackaged by Walker Books who are marketing it as a Young Adult novel. It therefore has a more adult feel to it than many of the books I review on this site: there are a considerable number of swear word throughout the book, scenes of a sexual nature and it deals with themes like repression that even despite its occasional light tone may be a little too much for younger readers. I am very much against age banding but a PG ratiing on this would be justified and I wouldn't recommend it for readers under the age of 15 (and if you look very carefully on the back cover you will see the words 'Includes some adult content' printed in small letter just above the barcode).Having grown up watching reruns of The Munsters and The Addams Family I guess I was expecting a 21st Century version of these stories: a family of vampires trying to live a normal life in modern day small-town Britain, and the initial light-hearted tone of the book did not do anything to dispel these expectations. However, I was soon proved very wrong - there are laugh-out-loud moments in this book but its overall tone is considerably darker than these shows ever were. In my opinion the book is all the better for this as I really do not think it would have had the same impact on me if it had been written as a comedy. Although this book is very obviously about vampires, for me this is just the plot element used to make the Radley family different from everyone else. This story is really all about trying to fit in and live an ordinary life against all the odds. Forty plus years ago the Radley parents could have been Russian sleeper agents living a deep cover existance in 1960s suburban USA, instead the year is 2010 and they are vampires who feel that the traditional vampire traits are immoral and therefore they are abstainers - blood is certainly not on the menu. They are trying to bring up their unknowing children to live a normal life, although they are hindered by son Rowan's 'allergy' to sunlight that requires him to slather himself woth Factor 60 ever morning, and his sister Clara's need to engage in some form of teenage rebellion, in this case by becoming a vegan. Yes, it does sound like the makings of a dreadful ITV sitcom, but please believe me when I say that Matt Haig has the talent to make this work deliciously; he is certainly a master of finding the right balance between light and dark, and this becomes increasingly important as the kids find out the truth about their ancestory and then blood drinking Uncle Will appears on the scene.If you have ever sat at your bedroom window watching the world go by, and wondering if the occasional odd things your neighbours do are just the tip of a sinister iceberg then this book might be just the thing for you. If you also like vampire stories but want a change from the recent Twilight copycats then this book is dfinitely the thing for you; it is the sort of book could defy all your preconceptions regarding the vampire genre.

  • Suvi
    2018-12-31 12:29

    On the outside, the Radleys are a normal middle-class family. Parents Peter and Helen struggle with their marriage that has started to taste like cardboard, and their children Rowan and Clara struggle with teenage problems in a small town community. The kind of small town I personally have experience from: growing older, you start to escape from it in different ways, until you realize buses and internet connections are in danger of diluting your life into a half existence. You can never come and go as you please, because the bus connections are scarce, but you can't spend the rest of your life lying in bed reading books either, and certainly not spending time in town events (if there are any, usually there aren't) with small-minded and gossipy people."Drinking wine is just another thing designed to make them feel like normal human beings, when really it only proves the opposite. Helen insists they drink it for the taste, but he’s not even sure he likes the taste."Behind the ordinary facade, however, Peter and Helen are harbouring a secret. They are vampires, but the children don't know yet. Until a tragedy occurs. The bland existence of the Radleys can never be the same again. Blood is passion, truth, temptation, excitement, and everything what the Radleys are trying to suffocate in themselves. When the urges begin to surface, Peter remembers the old days with Helen and his brother Will. The wild blood red days of night club lights and recklessness. As a contrast, the scene where Peter and Helen dine with their neighbours appears as hilarious. Mark rambles on and on about his job, Lorna's playing footsie with Peter, and Helen is completely off planet Earth. None of them truly happy.The demented Will is of course a bad influence, but he does manage to break the bubble the Radleys have built for themselves. The masks of quiet respectability have only managed to hide the ripples, and Haig's subtle approach to violence only emphasizes the problems that the characters are facing. I wasn't particularly interested in what was happening with the kids, nor was I that enthusiastic about the love thingy, but the way blood and vampirism were mixed with family life was intriguing and satisfying. For me, the excitement was whether the Radleys would find the balance between living in hiding and being true to themselves. After all, loosening up a bit never hurt anyone, but suppression only makes way for an explosion.Very different than the gritty vampires I usually prefer, but I'm glad I gave this a chance. Despite being a fairly light read (at least for me), Haig packs a lot of hefty stuff between the lines and never underestimates his readers. If you want to know why I hate self-help books, read The Radleys."Confine your imagination. Do not lose yourself to dangerous daydreams. Do not sit and ponder and dwell on a life you are not living. Do something active. Exercise. Work harder. Answer your emails. Fill your diary with harmless social activities. By doing, we stop ourselves imagining. And imagining for us is a fast-moving car heading towards a cliff. The Abstainer’s Handbook (second edition), p.83"

  • Karen
    2019-01-10 17:01

    I fear I am going to put off some readers when I say this is a book about vampires, but for those of you anti-vamp readers, give this novel a chance. Because this is also a novel about family relationships, love, and disappointment.Our main characters are the Radleys, a family of vampires living a false life as "unbloods" in suburban Manchester. The parents are abstainers, those who have chosen not to murder and live off human blood, and they have taken pains to hide their "otherness" and meld (as much as possible) into suburbia. Their two socially outcast children, a teenage boy and girl, don't even know what they are because their parents haven't told them. They only know that they are different somehow, that animals run away from them, that exposure to the sun wreaks havoc on their skin, and that they cannot be accepted by the majority of their classmates. For Clara, life is a lttle easier. She at least has one friend, the new-to-town, Eve, whom her brother, Rowan, worships from afar. But Rowan is endlessly bullied. Their parents' marriage is falling apart, and each member of the family looks for some meaning in their lives, with little success. Then Clara, nearly date-raped by a boy at a party in the woods, gives in to bloodlust. Without knowing why, a seemingly gentle teenage girl find herself covered in blood, a body at her feet, one she has ripped apart with her own teeth. And just like that the family secret is out. Enter Will Radley, the cool uncle--hedonistic, blood-lusting, unapologetically murderous, and secretly in love with the mother of the family, his brother's wife. Ah, betrayal. But the family needs Will to manage the police, who are closing in on Clara. As the teenagers grapple with their new reality, Mr. and Mrs. Radley grapple with their on-the-rocks marriage and the secret that's been between them for decades.I really liked this, mostly for the family relationships, the humor (especially amusing are quoted passages from "The Abstainer's Handbook" sprinkled throughout the novel), and the author's deft writing. I recommend it both to fans of vampire tales and readers who enjoy stories about relationships and the ennui of suburbia.

  • Lyndz
    2018-12-26 17:07

    There was something about this book that bothered me and I couldn’t exactly put my finger on it until about halfway through it. I know I have read other books that have done this before but I can’t think of any off the top of my head. Let me give you an example:Chapter one ~ SallyAs I walked down the sidewalk on my way to work, I felt the cool crisp October air against my skin, so I adjusted my new scratchy green wool jacket up around my neck to protect me from the wind. Off to my right I see the Jones’s yellow cat Snickers walking proudly up his drive way with a freshly caught mouse in his mouth. ……Chapter two ~ TomAs I sit in my hard backed wooden chair up to my kitchen nook sipping on my too hot coffee, I watch intently out my window. There goes Sally on her way to work, she has on a nice new green wool coat that she seems to be uncomfortable with because she keeps playing with the collar. And there is that damned yellow cat of the Joneses, if it doesn’t leave the birds alone at my feeder I am going to call animal control. ….Chapter three ~ Snickers the catI love mice, I was hunting today at my neighbor’s bird feeder when I spotted this little beauty. I am taking this one straight home to leave it on my master’s shoe. Wow it is a cold October day, I am sure glad that I have a kitty door. Why is that crazy lady walking down the sidewalk in the green jacket staring at me? What is her problem? ….Do you get where I am going with this? As much fun as it is to get a different point of view for every single scene in the book, is it really necessary to hear that sally has a green jacket and it is nippy in October 3 times? I am probably being overly critical but after a while is really started to chafe me. If you are a vampire genre fan, I would not miss this book, it is definitely different than any other vamp book that I have read. It’s a good one to pick up if you are trying to get in the mood for Halloween.Thank you Free Press & goodreads for the free copy of this book and the opportunity to read it.

  • Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
    2019-01-11 17:00

    Won this book in the First Reads section. Looking forward to getting it and reading it. 09/06/11Never recieved this book in the mail... BOO FIRST READS GIVEAWAYS! 10/17/11Well I happened to be at the library and I noticed that this book was in. I went ahead and checked it out, even though it kind of left a sour taste in my mouth that I never recieved it nor had I heard word back from the email I sent on not recieving it either. But it's not the author's fault. At least I think.I liked how this one was different from all kinds of vampire books out there. I didn't feel like I was reading a couple of books thrown in together and you get another book out of it about vampires. This was a quick read and I will admit, I skimmed some pages but I didn't feel cheated out of it by far from doing it. Some stuff could have been left out but like I always say I didn't write it, I just read it.

  • Elizabeth
    2018-12-29 16:24

    Black comedy about abstaining vampires or blood addicts. Clever, that. The pokes at middle class life, a self-help guide, and teenage unpopularity? Spot-on. The ne'er do well uncle? So fun. And the moral ambiguity? Haig tries to explore it. A witty read. GO SUMMER.

  • CarolynStorer
    2019-01-08 15:00

    Helen and Peter Radley have a huge secret they really don't want to tell their children, as they want them to live a normal life as possible - but things aren't gong to plan.Rowan can't sleep at night and thinks it's a bad case of insomnia, he then wants to sleep all day. He's also allergic to the sun and has to apply factor 60 otherwise his skin gets covered in a sore itchy rash. He constantly gets bullied at school and is totally in love with a girl at school who's friends with his sister and is totally out of his league. Basically, Rowan hates his life.Clara doesn't have the same problems as her brother, but she does have her own. Clara is sick all the time, literally, and her parents keep telling her that she really should eat meat and stop this nonsense of becoming a vegan, but they just don't understand, although she doesn't get why she's so nauseous all the time, but her father, who's a doctor, keeps telling her it's probably just a virus. Animals also hate her, even though she's really nice to them, so she's become an advocate of several 'against animal cruelty' societies and covers her bedroom walls with their posters.But one fateful night, Clara is feeling worse and worse and then does something that changes her life and those of her family forever. Because of this, Helen and Peter are pressured into telling Clara and Rowan their secret; they are abstaining vampires and haven't tasted blood for seventeen years. In a fit of panic, Peter calls his brother for help, but for some reason calling Will fills Helen with dread, as she has even more secrets of her own, which she doesn't want even Peter to know about.Helen and Peter's relationship is full of tension and the strain of trying to be normal all the time is taking it's toll. Individually they reminisce about the days they drank human blood and how much they miss it. And when Will flies in to help, things just go from bad to worse.Over the course of the book, secrets are revealed, lives are turned upside down and The Radleys has an ending that had me completely enthralled.After reading the first few pages, I was expecting a more humorous story about a family of vampires but instead it's quite a dark tale. There is a slight tongue-in-cheek humour but it's not enough to lighten the book into a comedy. I suppose I assumed it would be something more a long the lines of The Adams Family. I wasn't disappointed, it just wasn't what I expected.The point of view changes throughout the book to all the different characters, which worked really well. It was great to hear what they were all thinking and feeling, it gave the book depth. All the characters were three-dimentional and I loved them all and had sympathy for them and their predicaments, even Will's (which I won't go into as it's Helen's secret to tell!).On a bit of a side note: The Radleys is being repackaged by Canongate Walker and is marketed as a young adult novel. However, I feel that this is definitely a YA/Adult crossover, with the emphasis on 'Adult'. This book has a very mature tone, more so than other young adult books I've read and although the press release states it's a "story about growing up, first and foremost", I believe that this is a bit misleading.The book does tell the story of Clara and Rowan, but it also tells the story of the adult characters, Helen, Peter and Will in equal measure. To me it is about the family as a whole and deals with the fallout of secrets revealed. There's also a significant amount of high-end swearing as well as scenes of a sexual nature that are written, in my opinion, with adults in mind, rather than children, and therefore I would only recommend this book 16+.VERDICT:The Radleys is a wonderfully written book. It's a fun, original concept I haven't seen anywhere else. The ending wraps things up nicely, but for me I would love a sequel - now the secret is out and all the family is "in-the-know", I can just see the Radleys getting into all sorts of trouble! I really enjoyed this book and I loved the authors writing style, I will definitely be checking out Haig's backlist.

  • Jo
    2019-01-20 13:00

    Sweet, domestic vampire drama. Really enjoyed this.

  • Catherine
    2018-12-24 13:04

    "I can control myself. Look, for God's sake. Look at everyone. Everyone represses everything. Do you think any of these 'normal' human beings really do exactly what they want to do all the time? 'Course not. It's just the same. We're middle class and we're British. Repression is in our veins."The Radleys is a book about a family of abstaining vampires, but it's not a vampire book. Mr and Mrs Radley (Peter & Helen) are very much aware they are vampires -- he being born into an old vampire family (because in this world, vampires can procreate and function relatively well in the normal human world), she being "converted" by him on their wedding night. They've been living a quiet village life for 17 years and their children, Rowan (my son's name!) and Clara, have no idea why they are "freaks" in the eyes of other kids. Then one night, the dormant lust for blood is awakened and the entire family must deal with the consequences. Add in Peter's older brother, Will, a wild-living, murderous vampire, and even more family secrets, and it's quite a wild week for a repressed family.Matt Haig treats an unusual storyline with humor and warmth, creating a family that is believable and mostly likable. The excerpts from The Abstainer's Handbook are particularly satirical and fun. Looking through the blurbs for his other books (a modern retelling of Hamlet, and an alien sent to live on earth particularly strike my fancy), Haig is an author I'd like to read more.

  • Eyehavenofilter
    2018-12-28 11:16

    These neighbors, living just next door, are having the usual family angst. some aching for the past...Peter, the dad, a family doctor is exhausted, just going through the motions, Helen, the mom, is withdrawn and feels like she is alone, Rowan, the son, cant stop scratching his rash, and is being bullied at school, Clara, the daughter, has become a vegan ( or is it anorexia?) and has just defended herself against an attack, lost control, and very gratifyingly ripped one of the bullies apart with her sharp pointy teeth, at an evening bonfire waterside party......Whaaaaaa?Oh, I forgot to tell you.... The Radleys ( Peter and Helen) have been abstaining from Vampire activity for 17 years ( their entire marriage) but they neglected to tell their 2 children, hence the attack......that was not their first mistake.....nor would it be their last.When Peter calls his very untrustworthy brother to help dispose of the body, deal with the police by Vampire mind tricks, and protect Clara by helping her understand the transition, all bets are off. It seems that everyone has secrets that they don't want exposed. Even the next door neighbors dog! (There were 2 chapters that were incredibly weak, the only reason I didn't give this 4 stars),( pages 335 -341)

  • Melinda Worfolk
    2018-12-25 13:09

    If we're going for accuracy, I'd say this is a 4.5 star book. I was not at all sure I'd like this as much as I liked the other book I'd read by this author, The Humans. But I liked it just as much, if not a tiny bit more. I thought the ending was better--less rushed and more satisfying. Books about vampires are generally not my thing, but I do enjoy books about people hiding their true background and trying to fit in somewhere else (e.g. people in witness protection having to assume a new identity; an alien trying to pretend he's human; or, in this case, a suburban family of vampires trying to act like they're just regular suburban Brits in a small village of snobby middle class gossips).Matt Haig is good at imbuing non-humans trying to pretend they are humans with, well, actual humanity. Obviously this book is not really about vampires, but, like The Humans, it is about what it actually means to be human: to care about other people, to be a good person, to understand the value of mortality and to live a life with meaning. I was not surprised to read of the author's real-life struggles with depression and mental health; it seems he has done a lot of thinking about why life is worth living, and what it means to really be an active participant and not just an observer in the parade of humanity.(There are some rather gory bits in the book, so if that puts you off you may want to give it a miss. There are comedic elements but there's also death and mutilations, so be warned.)