The Awakening is the first book in The Vampire Diaries series. It was published in 1991.
The first book introduces the reader to Elena Gilbert, a beautiful and popular high school student in the small town of Fell's 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 and best friend, Matt, who is a football star, when school starts (they were not together over the summer). They were the golden couple; she was blonde and popular, but she felt that there were no fireworks in their relationship, and she wanted more. As their senior year begins, Elena pursues the mysterious new guy in town, Stefan Salvatore. He is staying in Mrs. Flowers' old remote boarding house. Stefan rejects Elena's advances, and as the school's most popular girl, she makes up an imaginary boyfriend named "Jean-Claude" who 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 in love, strange attacks begin to happen in the town while a dark and seductive stranger appears to Elena. He is eventually revealed to be Stefan's older brother, Damon. In Renaissance Italy, the brothers both fell in love with a young vampire named Katherine von Shwartzchild, 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, turning them both vampires. Fueled with rage, the brothers killed each other but 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 during the Halloween Haunted House, and the strange attacks.
The Struggle is the second book in the Vampire Diaries series. It was first published in 1991.
The second book picks up where The Awakening left off, and delves further into Damon's ongoing attempts to win Elena's affections and Stefan's struggle to survive. When Stefan went missing, Elena seeks out Damon and confronts him in the graveyard, knowing that it will be dangerous. Damon claims he killed Stefan the previous night. Elena and her friends find Stefan in a well, near death, after Bonnie has a vision. Elena saves Stefan by giving him some of her blood. Elena also exchanges blood with Damon, making a secret deal with him she kept hidden from Stefan, knowing he would disapprove, tying herself to both brothers as Katherine did centuries ago. While waiting for Stefan one night, Elena feels as if a presence inside a storm is coming for her, and she frantically tries to escape by crossing the bridge over a river. The car, which she has borrowed from Matt, veers off the road and into the river, and she drowns.
The Fury is the third book in The Vampire Diaries series. It was first published in 1991.
The third book deals with Elena's adjustment to her vampirism, as well as her confusion at loving both brothers. Stefan finds Elena dead, and believes that the force that was chasing Elena was Damon. They fight, and in the middle of it, Elena awakens, and attacks Stefan— as Damon had given Elena more of his blood in the exchange and as such viewed Stefan as a threat to her creator. They stop the fight, Stefan is broken-hearted assuming that her attack on him meant she loved Damon more, and Damon tries to clear everything up, being very nice and rational to Elena.
Still caring for Elena whether she loved him or not, Stefan convinced Matt to feed Elena blood to help her, leaving Matt in shock because of what she had become, as well from discovering Stefan had almost killed Tyler and his buddies, leaving Caroline unharmed. Damon left Elena in the attic of Robert E. Lee's history teacher for her safety and she awoke days later to stumble across her own funeral reception. After reading her diary, Elena's memories returned clearly and was overjoyed and relieved when Stefan forgave her. But the Other Power was taking control of the animals in Fell's Church, driving many to dispose of their pets. Elena convinces the brothers to work together to stop this powerful force.
While having to stay out of the way of the town's new vampire hunter (the new teacher, Alaric Saltzman), Stefan, Damon, Elena and her friends search for the source of the dark presence that has overtaken the town and which they also suspect to be behind Elena's death. They find the answer in Honoria Fell's tomb, and it turns out to be Katherine, who in fact did not die centuries before as the brothers had thought. Instead, she had faked her death, having her maid bring ashes from the kitchen, lay them out on her dress, and put her lapis lazuli ring on top, while she had another forged, making it looked as if she had killed herself. Since then, Stefan has lived with the guilt of her death, while Katherine has spent that time seething with anger. She decides to take revenge, and is jealous of Elena for "stealing" both brothers' love. Katherine reveals that she is the one who attacked Vicki and ran Elena off the bridge. They are all tortured brutally, and Elena ends this by knocking Katherine into the light of the tomb, while unsuccessfully getting herself out of the sunshine fast enough. She dies in the end, saying that she wants both brothers' words that they would take care of each other because Damon is often misunderstood, and she wants the fraternal rivalry to end, also telling Stefan that she loved him, and that she did not want this to happen, causing pain for him as Katherine had.
Dark Reunion is the fourth book in The Vampire Diaries series, first published in 1992.
The fourth book begins six months after Elena's death. This book is told primarily from Bonnie's point of view. At a surprise birthday party for Meredith Sulez from Bonnie McCullough, Caroline Forbes, Sue Carson and Vickie Bennett, they contact Elena using a Ouija board after Bonnie admits that Elena contacted her in a dream. Elena warns them there is evil in town with them, and that they are all in danger. She tells them they need to summon someone but gets interrupted, presumably by an evil spirit, before telling the girls to run. Before all of the girls can get out of the house, Sue is thrown from the second floor balcony and dies. Vickie goes insane after the ordeal. With Matt's help, Bonnie and Meredith perform a spell to summon Stefan, who arrives back in town with Damon. Tyler Smallwood is revealed to be a werewolf in league with this dark force and Stefan faces it alone after failing to save Vickie. And after a battle with the evil, Elena comes back. An angel, as it seems, whose blood is irresistible to all vampires.