Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Book review: The Radleys by Matt Haig

I wanted to share a few of the covers made for this novel. Leave a comment and let me know which one that ticks your box! I have to say that I don't think the "girl in a dress"-trend is suitable for every story...
The Radleys is trying to live life like a normal middle class family in a small English town. They have their problems just like any other normal family, but some problems are way out of normal.

Clara is on her way home from a party when she commits a cruel murder. Shortly after the murder an, until now, unknown uncle shows up at the Radleys to save the day. Helen and Peter, the parents, can no longer hide the dark family secret from their children....

My thoughts:
Among all the vampire novels out there I felt that The Radleys was a little treasure, it was different. This is a vampire story about being a family and accepting who and what you are. There is a bit of romance but the real thrill of the story is whether or not the family will go all dark side on us. Matt Haig's writing style was somehow very calming, making me relax and enjoying every second I was with the Radleys. All the characters are believable and you want to know what happens to them. My very favorite character was 'uncle Will', the dangerous guy with some serious issues.

The chapters in this book were fairly short, some of them no longer than tre-four pages. Each chapter starts with a quote from The Abstainers Handbook(second edition), the Radleys try their very best to be like everyone else(the humans).

The Radleys was a fun and entertaining read, it was a bit darker than some of the vampire stories we all have read in the past years but I feel that this was yet another thing that was very positive about this story. 
Some of you draw parallels to Twilight when reading my review but rest assured the only thing the vampires in the two stories have in common is their choice of lifestyle. I strongly believe that this book has a higher appeal to both genders than Stephenie Mayer's Twilight saga has.

I'm sure many of you instantly thought of Harper Lee's infamous novel To Kill A Mockingbird you noticed the title of this book. Let me tell you that there was no error in making that connection because Matt Haig said in an interview with Publishers Weekly that Boo Radley was his initial inspiration for writing this story:

Were you influenced by Boo Radley of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird?
Yes, Boo, pale-faced, misunderstood suburban outsider, was definitely my inspiration, though I later discovered Radley means "of the red meadow," which can have vampire connotations.

The Radleys is kind of a crossover novel between YA and adult, I know some countries has published both a YA and adult edition of the book.

A book that is well worth a few hour of your time! Before you go I have to tell you that a movie adaptation is in the works and the producer is Alfonso CuarĂ³n. Alfonso is known, among other things, for having directed Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Book trailer:

My favorite one would be the German cover, the one with the tea cup. My least favorite is the girl in a dress cover.

My rating of this book:
- You should read it!

Want a second opinion?
Susan K.Mann 
The Book Smugglers

Want to know more?
Add The Radleys to your Goodreads wish list.
Follow Matt on Twitter 

Full disclosure: Review copy from the Norwegian publisher.

This book can be purchased from a number of local retailers and on-line book stores such as Amazon or The Book Depository (I'm not an affiliate of either). The latter store does by the way have free shipping to about 100 countries.


  1. This is now on my to read- and wishlist:-) I prefer the cover with the bloody picket fence which is also the one they used on the norwegian version.

  2. You have convinced me, I really want to read this now! It sounds like it offers something different and refreshing compared to most vampire novels I've read and I like that it has crossover appeal.

    Ha, yes, I did wonder if there was any relation to To Kill A Mockingbird with the title. And I'm intrigued to hear there's a movie in the works. Clearly another reason for me to read this before it comes out!

    Fantastic review, Mari! The dress looks like it's creeping up a little too high on the cover with the girl haha. I think I like the first and third best.

  3. Silje: I'm glad to be adding to your wishlist :D I like the UK/NOR cover as well but I just love the German one.

    Brodie:Thanks :D I believe the third cover actually is the one on the UK YA edition of The Radleys.

    I'm sure this will be a wonderful movie!

  4. Lol, it confused me at first, I thought what a funny looking cover *headdesk* Yes where is that brain when you need it

  5. I was looking forward to reading this until I read the things Mark Radley put on Twitter on Remembrance Day. He was extremely nasty about our soldiers and war veterans and since then I am quite turned off by this book.

  6. I think that it might all be a misunderstanding. Matt tweeted about numerology but some people thought it was Remembrance Day. I understood that he was annoyed over people who saw some special significance in dates like 10.10.10 and 11.11.11 and so on :)

    It was a lot of tweeting about it and I noticed that Matt wrote:"@jade_tweets @TheaTweets There are people who get excited about dates. 11/11/11 and in 2 wks 20/11/2011. They are idiots. That's my point."

    So I'm hoping Remembrance Day wasn't it.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts =)