Not all of these books contain kick ass women (well, okay, about 90% do) or vampires with cheekbones you’d sacrifice your soul for, and only one takes place in an American high school. But Buffy is more than just those things. It’s sensitive portrayals of female adolescence, a hilarious portrait of high school life, and, okay, a lot of vampires with gorgeous cheekbones and kick ass young women punching them. If you love those things, you need to get your hands on these books.
A 90s vampire novel split between two parties, a group of vampires doing all the fun things you would do if gifted with eternal youth, and the teenage misfits on a journey to find them. Set between New Orelans bars and small town clubs that play nothing but morbid rock music, this book is so goth it probably sacked Rome. Imagine a novel set in Sunnydale’s own Sunset Club – kind of like that.
Werewolves, not vampires, but this has oodles of teenage angst and a sorceress whose fashion addiction would give Cordelia a run for her Sunnydale Mall rewards card. The titular character Kalix is a werewolf princess on the run in London. She’s the fiercest fighter in her clan, but her strength is what isolates her. With the help of a few hapless humans she slowly manages to find her place in the world. Sound familiar?
3. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
Not everyone can be the Chosen One. And most of us, if faced by a hoard of zombies/soul-sucking demons/evil incarnate, would get the hell away. That’s Mikey. He doesn’t want to save the world, he just wants to graduate high school and go to prom before someone blows up the school. Again. The Rest of Us Just Live Here is kind of like Buffy… from the perspective of the people who can’t kill a vampire with their bare hands.
4. Interview With The Vampire by Anne Rice
Now, I love Dracula but this (to me) will always be the classic vampire novel. Why? Because I’m not primarily interested in killing vampires, I just want to hear about their feelings. This, the first book in Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, takes the form of an interview with Louis de Pointe du Lac. He tells a reporter about the trials and tribulations of his 200-year-old life, from the swamps of Louisiana to the catacombs of Paris. Picture Angel (in full woeful possession of his soul) writing an autobiography – it’s that mopey and brilliant.
5. The Finishing School Series by Gail Carriger
Imagine if Buffy were set in 19th century Britain, aboard a dirigible and the Scooby Gang included a steam powered dachshund. Okay, so this is a bit of a departure but a series about a group of girls training to be assassins in a school staffed by werewolves and vampires is right up my dark, vampire-infested alley.
Like Buffy, Aileana is a chosen one gifted with superhuman powers that allow her to stop the forces from evil. Unlike Buffy, she lives in 18th century Scotland and has to spend a lot of time at balls. But every night she strips back her aristocratic facade, grabs a pistol and goes hunting. Sometimes with a tall dark stranger who may or may not be the enemy. *swoon*
7. The Moth Diaries by Rachel Klein
Set in an elite girl’s boarding school, The Moth Diaries follows the diary of a 16-year-old girl whose best friend becomes obsessed with a mysterious vampiric new girl. There’s no vampire slayer to save them and, as fear spreads, school life turns into a waking nightmare.