The Awakening
Author L.J Smith
Publication date 1991
Published by HarperTeen
Publication Order
Preceded by
Followed by
The Struggle

The Awakening is the first book of The Vampire Diaries by L.J Smith.


Stefan and Damon, two vampire brothers, compete for the love of Elena Gilbert, a beautiful high school senior who is searching for excitement.


The first book introduces the reader to Elena Gilbert, a beautiful and popular high school student in the small town of Fells Church, Virginia and her friends Bonnie McCullough, Meredith Sulez, Matt Honeycutt, and Caroline Forbes. Caroline is Elena's old friend and is now her competition. Elena breaks up with her boyfriend, first love and best friend, Matt, who is a football star and quarterback on the high school football team, when school starts. Matt and Elena were described to be the golden couple; he was tall, athletic, blond and popular, but she felt that there were no sparks or intensity in their relationship, and she felt as if she was always yearning for something more. As their senior year begins, Elena fatefully meets a new foreign student from Italy, Stefan Salvatore, whom she is instantly, indescribably and undeniably drawn to. What Elena doesn't know is Stefan's deepest, darkest centuries old secret; Stefan is a centuries old vampire. He is staying at Mrs. Flower's old remote boarding house. In the beginning, although Stefan is strongly magnetically drawn to her, Stefan repeatedly rejects Elena's advances due to the fact that Elena coincidentally happens to be the uncanny look alike of his first, past love who was a vampire, Katherine Von Swarzschild. Elena, as the school's most popular girl with a reputation to uphold, makes up an imaginary boyfriend named "Jean-Claude" whom she met over the summer, later explaining to Matt that it was made up; he was the handsome married gardener. Elena also hangs out at the cemetery at her parents' grave site. Stefan's resistance is met with Elena's determination, and she eventually discovers his secret: Stefan is a centuries-old vampire. As Elena and Stefan fall deeply and passionately in love, strange attacks begin to happen in the town of Fells Church while a dark, dangerous and seductive stranger appears to Elena. He is eventually revealed to be Stefan's older malevolent brother, Damon, who had followed Stefan to Fells Church in order to make Stefan's life miserable. In Renaissance Italy, the brothers both fell in love with a young vampire named Katherine von Swartzchild, who later committed suicide after the two brothers turned against each other. They fought for her love and she decided to choose them both as lovers and exchanged blood with them intending to transform both the Salvatores' into vampires. Fueled with rage, the brothers killed each other by sword fighting to the death, but eventually, both woke up as vampires. The Awakening ends with Elena seeking out Damon whom she believes to be the prime suspect for Stefan's disappearance after the townspeople begin to suspect the latter to be behind the recent murder of the school's social studies teacher, Mr. Tanner during the Halloween Haunted House, and the strange attacks.


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