The world has a love/hate relationship with Twilight. Half the world loves it, the other half hates it. And I guess there are some people who are indifferent to the whole vampire phenomenon, like my parents. I, of course, have read all the books. I love young adult books, especially when they fall under the paranormal romance genre. I can’t help it; I always have. So it was only a matter of time before I got my hands on Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series.
My sister had read the first book and, after I found out the first movie was coming out soon, I borrowed the book from her. I had just had my baby and all I was doing was nursing, so I had plenty of time to get some reading done. And – I admit – I tore through that book. I was hooked from the first angsty paragraph, and as soon as I read the last sentence, I had to get the second one.
Unfortunately, I didn’t tear through the last three books as quickly as the first. I think I wanted to get through the rest just so I could say I read the whole series. But to be honest, I just didn’t get into the rest of them. They didn’t grab me like the first one, and I think I was just sick of vampires at that point. All I really remember about the last three books was Jacob suddenly got hot and a freaky-ass baby child was born in a really gruesome way.
And now with the popularity of the movies, backlash for Twilight and Stephenie Meyer has hit in a huge way. But I will never diss Meyer or the series, because I think because of it, reading amongst teens has risen dramatically. You can see its influence in bookstores where shelves are filled with paranormal books. Barnes and Noble even has a section called Teen Paranormal Romance. The genre is hot, and it has no signs of slowing down any time soon.
I’m not saying that is a new genre in young adult literature. Vampires have always had some sort of appeal with people, ever since that Bram Stoker guy wrote that one book. You know the one.
And while lots of people thought author L.J. Smith was jumping on the vampire bandwagon by writing the series The Vampire Diaries (thus resulting in an awesome show on the CW), Smith actually wrote those books way back in 1991. I even read them back then, too, when I was 13 years old. This was my copy:
And here’s the updated cover, which probably never would have happened had it not been for the Twilight phenomenon:
Lots of books about vampires were written before Twilight, but because nothing had ever been as big as Twilight. I don’t even think Stephenie Meyer thought it was going to be big. But because it was, it was only natural that everyone else wanted to write about vampires, too. But writers quickly learned that it was hard to write something original regarding vampires after it’s all been done before. So what did YA writers do? They branched out. Now in addition to vampires, we get to read about werewolves, faeries, angels, and witches. Some books, like Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series, deals with all of them. And we love these books because the really good authors make these unworldly creatures seem so real. They’re teens just like us (well, not me anymore, but you know what I mean), and they’re going through the same crazy shit that all teens go through. Even though they happen to have a vampire for a boyfriend, or a father who’s actually a faerie.
So balk all you want at Stephenie Meyer and her sparkly vampires. The writing wasn’t perfect, and the story has been done before. But it obviously struck a chord with millions of people, and it’s turned even the most reluctant teens into avid readers, even if all they’re reading about is a werewolf who misses homecoming because it just happens to be the same night as a full moon.
So thank you, Bella, Edward, and Jacob for giving me something more entertaining to read than books about humans. Because reading about paranormal activity is waaaaaay more interesting.
Bored with reality? Check out these great teen paranormal books:
1. Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr (Faeries)
2. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (Wolves)
3. House of Night by P.C. & Kristin Cast (Vampires)
4. Fallen by Lauren Kate (Angels)
5. Balefire by Cate Tiernan (Witches)
I’m currently in a faerie phase and hope to get through the Faeriewalker series and the Iron Queen series as soon as I find it.