Book Review: The Radleys by Matt Haig

The Radleys by Matt HaigWhen I heard about this book on Knitting and Sundries I was immediately interested. Julie held a giveaway, I entered, and I won! When I received the book, a beautiful hardback, I knew this was going to be good.

The Radleys: What it is about

The Radleys are a normal family, a GP father (family doctor), a mother, and two teenage kids. Rowan is being bullied at school while Clara has just one friend, new girl Eve. They are all pale, prefer the shade, and have problems sleeping at night (though not during the day!).

Clara has recently turned vegan but doesn’t feel well, and so after a party, she goes home alone. When a boy tries to force himself onto her, she commits a terrible act. Terribly… satisfying, actually.

Then Rowan and Clara are told by their parents that they are a family of abstaining vampires. Their uncle Will (whom they’d never heard of) comes to help out the family.But he’s a practising vampire and not welcome.

Rowan and Clara have to deal with knowing that they are vampires. In a way, this helps Rowan in his (romantic!) pursuit of Eve, Clara’s friend. Clara has to get her blood-thirst under control and the parents need to find a way to keep Clara out of prison. Uncle Will comes to their rescue, but not in the way he was expecting!

The Radleys: What I thought

This book was great! The writing is funny and the story is so real! I mean, it could really happen like that, a very believable story if you can say that about a story with vampires.

The Radleys could be my neighbours. They seem normal people, if a bit pale. I liked it that they lived near York, as I used to live there for several years. I even vaguely remember Bishopthorpe, the village they live in. The only odd thing was, if you live a few miles from York, why go to Thirsk (much, much further away) to go to the cinema (which Rowan and Eve do)?

I loved uncle Will. Well, he was overpowering and scary, as well as a smooth talker. But totally without a conscience – he killed many people during the years. He was a kind of hippy in his camper van.

The mother’s secret from the past was interesting, if a little old hat. The solution to keeping Clara out of prison was a little weak, I thought. I had expected a twist in the plot to solve this.

It was fun to see how relaxed and happy the family was at the end of the story. It shows that your children can live with the fact that they are vampires, as long as you handle it right.

Absolutely delightful book, I read it in just over a day. If you like a book about a normal English family: read it!

Rating: 5/5

I got this book: from a giveaway by Julie at Knitting and Sundries

I read this in: English, the original language

Number of pages: 384

First published: 2010

Genre: paranormal, fantasy, adult fiction

About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

29 Responses to Book Review: The Radleys by Matt Haig

  1. Cindy says:

    Another vampire book? Gosh, it really is the trending genre!

  2. I have a review copy of this book at home – i really must read it. Love that it is set in Yorkshire too 🙂

  3. I am really drawn to this book, but I have hated every other vampire story I’ve ever read. People keep telling me it isn’t like the others, but they said that about The Passage too. I know your taste is similar to mine so your positive review is swaying me towards trying it. I’m just worried I’m setting myself up for another fall.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Ha ha, Jackie. In this case, I don’t know what to tell you. Yes, it IS not like the others. And, well, I loved The Passage too. But this is not a post-apocalyptic book like The Passage. We’re talking about an average family who happen to be vampires. They don’t do all kinds of awful things in the middle of the night and certainly don’t sleep in coffins. They are pale and hate garlic but can handle crucifixes (they even go to church).

      So, if there is one vampire book that you might enjoy, it would be this one, I think. I do think, aside from the topic, that it is your sort of book.

  4. LOVE this: “your children can live with the fact that they are vampires, as long as you handle it right.”

    This was a very fun read; I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  5. Louise says:

    I’m so glad you reveiwed this today as i’ve had my eye on this for a while…. off to Amazon now 🙂

  6. Kristi says:

    I don’t read much vampire fiction, but this sounds like something I would enjoy. Based on your review, it doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously. I’ll have to see if I can find it at my library.

  7. Ellie says:

    This is trying to evade me! A package from Canongate turned up today and it said on the outside it contained The Radleys…but nope, not in there. I’m hoping it’ll be in another envelope arriving another day…otherwise I will just be patient and…eek…buy it! 😉

  8. Uniflame says:

    I am not really into the whole Vampire hype to be honest, and I was a bit surprised to see a book about Vampires on your blog, haha. I surely didn’t expect that!

    • Leeswammes says:

      Well no, Uniflame. You’re right, I’m not the vampire type. But then, this book is really quite different. It’s more like a literary fiction book that happens to be about vampires. On the other hand, I did read and enjoy Soulless (Gail Carriger) too. So, maybe you’ll find more vampy stuff here in future! 🙂

  9. Trisha says:

    I really enjoy books about vampires that put them in “real” situations; I like shows like this too. It’s fun.

  10. shelleyrae@ Book'd Out says:

    I like the sound of this one, thanks for bringing it to my attention!

  11. Julie P says:

    I’ve heard about this one before but I wasn’t really sure. You’re great review tipped the scales though! I am adding it to my wishlist….

  12. Susan says:

    Add me to the list of readers who aren’t generally vampire fans. Nevertheless, I too have had this galley literally sitting by my bedside for months. It did look appealing, but I just didn’t want to read a vamp book. You may have finally put me over the edge. Thanks!

    • Leeswammes says:

      Susan, I think you will enjoy The Radleys. I think we do like similar books, so go for it. It’s a quick read anyway, but I can’t imagine you won’t like it.

  13. Tes says:

    I love Vampire stories.. this sounds interesting! I will definitely pick this up from the book store 🙂

  14. Pingback: The Radleys by Matt Haig – Farm Lane Books Blog

  15. Matthew says:

    Wow, 5/5 – you obviously really enjoyed The Radleys! I have to admit I was not quite as positive ( I look forward to the movie coming out, sounds like they have some good people working on that already.

  16. Carin says:

    Sounds like a fun book. I will put this on my TBR. Nice review, Judith! I need some fun reading in my life right now and this sounds like it could be just what I need!

  17. Pingback: Review: The Radleys by Matt Haig « book'd out

  18. Pingback: Book review: The Radleys - Matt Haig - Always Cooking up Something

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