Exploring gay vampire YA novels

Unless you’ve recently been a teenager you likely didn’t grow up reading gay YA fiction and especially not featuring vampires. For one thing, there was nothing in that category. Thankfully progress marches on and the YA closet/coffin has been opened.

Recently I’ve been reading through some of the YA fiction that finally features gay male main characters and vampires. Since I spend a good amount of time googling for gay vampire books, some titles resurface again and again while I seem to continue ignoring them.

Actually it does seem there’s been a great surge in mainstream YA LGBTQ+ themed books in recent years exploring all themes including falling in love. This has given teens fictional role models, and most importantly fantasy stories they can relate to. Quite inspiring! This wave has brought more vampires.

Considering vampire fiction is deeply sexual, there’s an interesting balance being made without these books turning into erotica. And obviously because the queerness of vampires is so apparent, it’s an apt theme for YA LGBTQ+ fiction to explore.

Traditionally YA vampire fiction was been extremely heteronormative, especially any of the love stories. Growing up I book a few vampire YA books, and there was always something missing from those stories. It’s strange that so many stories around accepting the “other” never drew parallels with being queer. Maybe it’s too obvious a theme to explore. One amazing YA novel, Thirsty (by M.T. Anderson) does an amazing job relating vampirism to puberty. Some have drawn the link to growing up gay, but the main character is never expressively gay. Then again, most vampire fiction has gay and queer undertones.

Earlier YA gay vampire works came from indie publishers and direct from writers, some with provocative writing. The Vampire’s Heart and Golden (no longer available) come to mind.

While more recent works include The Fell of Dark by Caleb Roehrig, Carry On (Simon Snow series) by Rainbow Rowell, and Gemini Bites by Patrick Ryan. There are three books in the Simon Snow series, however I’ve so far only read the first book. I have a strong personal preference with how I want vampire stories to unfold, which can often be disappointing, and a delicate balance I’d not yet seen in YA gay vampire fiction. I will continue nagging my writer friends to write something suitable!

Now I have a strong preference for my ideal vampire story, and in this case I’d love to see a story from the point of view of a gay vampire teenager, or where a human successfully falls in love with a vampire (and maybe becomes a vampire himself).

Aside from the suggested books below, Wattpad has a good selection of indie written gay vampire stories, although a good deal of that is fanfic based (including a good number of Little Vampire gay love stories).

The Fell of Dark (2020)
Personally the best of these three books, Caleb’s book expands a world he created in the short story “What happens in the Closet” for the Out Now anthology. In a town plagued by vampires, our gay hero August struggling to find another boy to date, ends up with multiple vampire suitors. One comes with a warning, that Auggie’s body will be taken over by an evil entity and maybe bring about the end of the world, or allow vampire’s to rise up. Since the conflict is all related to the apocalypse, August’s love life takes second place. But we do get a really exciting rave scene with a pretty sexy dance featuring Auggie and two vampires who’ve fallen in love with him. Well-written, humorous and featuring a nerdy type boy, it was hard to put down as the twists kept coming up to the end. I do hope there will be a sequel, as almost hinted by August. But maybe focusing on the vampires this time.

Carry On (2015)
The first book in the Simon Snow series introduces us to our gay hero and his eventual vampire boyfriend Baz (that much is given away in the synopsis). Simon is an orphan and wizard who’s invited to attend a school for wizards and witches located in beautiful Watford which is north of London and happens to be the location of a certain WB studio that featured an orphaned wizard. At least in this series the main character is gay and there’s a vampire. Now in their final year after living together as roommates all through school, Baz finally shares his feelings for the cute wizard. There’s also some prophesy and the end of magic to create some conflict, but I was skipping to the vampire bits. So far I haven’t read the further books.

Gemini Bites (2011)
Kyle and Judy are sixteen-year-old fraternal twins who end up in a love triangle with a boy Kyle is convinced is a vampire. The story switches between Judy and Kyle’s perspective which is an interesting choice but takes away from our gay hero and his vampire crush. There’s a happy ending but not quite what you’d expect.

Leave a Reply