The Radleys

By Matt Haig

14,430 ratings - 3.56* vote

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.

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Book details

Paperback, 341 pages
July 1st 2010 by Canongate Books Ltd
Original Title
The Radleys
1847678602 (ISBN13: 9781847678607)
Edition Language

Community Reviews


Suburbia, parents and 2 kids living in semi-detached house with a garden. Teen, Rowan has insomnia, rashes and has to wear Factor 60 sunblock; his sister has turned vegan but is now getting really sick; mid-life crisis heading GP dad is always thirsty; and mum holds it all together, as she tries to deny her heady past. Meet the Radleys... oh, and in case I forgot to mention, the parents are yet to tell the kids that they're all vampires! Behind this white picket fence lives a nest of reluctant vampires... this tenuous state is shaken up, when cool, reckless and exciting Uncle Will is called in to sort out a family crisis!

What if an abstinent vampire family lived a normal life in Middle England? At times darkly comedic, and at times darkly horrific, this book works to an extent, but also kind of fails because it's never quite sure what it wants to be a Young Adult fiction? A horror book? A look at contemporary life through a vampire lens? I can see what Matt wanted to achieve, but don't think he really gets it, but this still didn't stop me from enjoying this, surprisingly fun read! 7 out of 12.


Beautiful writing - nice choice of words!

"Your instincts are wrong. Animals rely on instincts for their daily survival, but we are not beasts. We are not lions or sharks or vultures. We are civilized, and civilization only works if instincts are suppressed. So do your bit for society and ignore those dark desires inside you."

"For 17 Orchard Lane is the home of the Radleys, and despite their very best efforts, they are anything but normal."

Kelly (and the Book Boar)

Find all of my reviews at:

I 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.

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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 . . . .

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No, not that kind. You know what I’m talking about. The dreaded vampire vegetarian . . .

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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” . . .

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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 . . . .

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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 . . .

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Well, without the extra face on the back of his head and all that jazz. Thank you, brain!

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Wes Bentley? Good right?

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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 . . .

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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.


Matt Haig is turning into my newest favourite author! I especially love that he is English and that one of the major scenes takes place in a cinema in Thirsk. I always like it when I can say "Been there"! I did not meet any vampires though. Not that I know of anyway.

I thought this was a very amusing book with a slightly different take on the vampire life style. I enjoyed our insights into the Radley family and their attempts to live a life without drinking blood. Some of the quotes from The Abstainer's Handbook were hilarious. I was entertained by all of characters as they struggled with all the issues of a normal life made worse by the added problems caused by denying their true being.

A thoroughly enjoyable book which could be read by anyone, not just readers who like the para normal or who are looking for horror. There are vampires, there is blood and a touch of horror but basically it is a book about families and the ties that bind. Very well worth reading.


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?


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


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.


Rating: 3 stars

Plot: 2.5
Characters: 3
Writing style: 3.5

Matt Haig's "The Radleys' - is a story about at first sight ordinary small town family that happen to be abstaining vampires. Their lives are changed forever after one bloody night - 17 years of secrets starts coming out.
It's not your typical book about vampires. I really enjoyed this fresh take on what it would really mean to be one. I wasn't the biggest fan of the plot and characters development though. The beggining of the book was very promising but later on it got choppy and a bit dull.

Įvertinimas: 3 žvaigždutės

Siužetas: 2.5
Veikėjai: 3
Rašymo stilius: 3.5

Matt Haig "Radliai" - tai istorija apie, iš pažiūros niekuo neišsiskiriančią, mažo miestielio šeimą, kurie iš tiesų yra "vegetarai" vampyrai. Jų gyvenimai negrįžtamai pasikeičia vieną "kruviną" naktį - 17 metų saugotos paslaptys pradeda atsiskleisti.
Ši knyga nėra tipinė vampyrų istorija. Patiko kitoks, naujas požiūris į tai, ką reikštų būti vampyru.
Deja, nesužavėjo siužeto ir veikėjų vystymas. Knygos pražia buvo puiki, bet vėliau istorija vietomis tapo nuobodoka, kai kurie skyriai pasirodė visai beprasmiai.


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.

Irina Elena

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.)