The Awakening by L.J. Smith is the first novel in "The Vampire Diaries" series. (I've looked it up, and I'm still not really clear on how many novels there are in the series.) I know that The Vampire Diaries has been a bit hit on TV lately, so I thought I would give the first book in the series a try. (Also note that I haven't really kept up on the TV show since the end of the first season.)
This novel seems to be the introduction to the concept of "The Vampire Diaries." Elena is a young girl who seems to be very popular and in demand among her male classmates. When Stefan moves to town, she chooses him, but for some reason, unlike every other boy in the area, he doesn't show any interest. Eventually, Elena and Stefan become a couple (once we figure out why he was avoiding her) and things seem to be going well, for the most part... Until weird things start happening around town and Stefan becomes the prime suspect.
In terms of plot, there wasn't all that much happening in this novel. I guess because it's part of a longer series, the relationships and characters are being developed to prepare for future novels. By the end of the book (spoiler alert), Elena basically finds out that Stefan is a vampire and that his brother, Damon, is also lurking around town somewhere. (For those who have seen even one episode of the TV show, this is no shocker.) That's all that happens. It's safe to say that I was a bit disappointed with the plot. The novel also leaves you without a real ending, so I can only assume that it must blend right into the second novel.
That all being said, my expectations could be a bit skewed. I've enjoyed what I've seen of the TV show, so maybe I was just expecting a little more from the novel. The show seems to bring weekly excitement, so I was expecting a little more action in the novel.
It was definitely a young adult book and I think that the content and writing style would appeal to a younger audience. (As an educator, I think that having books that appeal to a younger audience are important. And although there are many Young Adult books that I am also interested in, I do know that I'm not the target audience and there will be some, like this one, that don't really appeal to me.)
My recommendations for this book? If you're a pre-teen, or a young teen, you will probably enjoy it. As for everyone else, it's not on the top of recommended reads.