Sunday, July 06, 2008

A little late to jump on the Stephenie Meyer Bandwagon

For months (years?) we've been experiencing a phenomenon of unprecedented dimensions in library world. A teen novel. A romance. A vampire romance, has captured the imagination of teen female readers, and more exceptionally teen male readers, in incredible masses. We need to keep ordering more copies of the books. All three have huge waiting lists. The kids are asking for more of the same, and going out to buy the books if they don't want to wait for the 50 people ahead of them on the list to read the books. So what is this miraculous series?

Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse, by Stephenie Meyer

Twilight opens as Bella, the main character, experiences her first day at a new high school, in a new town. She's moved to Forks, Washington, one of the rainiest places in the world, to live with her father because her mother has remarried. Bella isn't too happy, and doesn't feel like she's going to fit in. Then she walks into the cafeteria and sees the most beautiful boy she has ever seen, and he is looking at her as if he might kill her. What is that? What can she possibly have done to offend him? Worse, when she gets to her next class, she finds that she's going to be stuck as his biology lab partner. A typical introduction to an epic romance, you say? Perhaps. The entire situation is a bit of a romance cliche. I felt myself scoffing at first. Wondering how this thing could possibly be as popular as it is.

Then I got to know Edward a little better, and read a little further, and understood what was so compelling. Bella I could take or leave, but our hero has something to him that keeps you reading. And it isn't all for the romance. The adventure is gripping. The character's struggles keep drawing you on to see what he will do next. You have to put up with the narration of an extremely angsty heroine to find out what he's up to, but it is worth it. In the second and third book we get to spend a significant amount of time with another incredibly compelling character called Jacob. At first he seems like a lovely normal boy, but there is something a little out of the ordinary about him too, and his own struggles are wonderful to watch. I read the first book in two days, the second book in one night, and the third book in three days. The third one I borrowed from one of the teenagers who works at the library and has never showed any interest in conversing with me until we got talking about these books. It is a phenomenon.

So yes. I am now on the Stephenie Meyer bandwagon. As a teenlitophile I can't believe it took me so long to read these. I guess the problem is that Stephenie Meyer isn't Canadian, and there is only so much non-Canadian teen lit I get around to. And these didn't really need a sales pitch for them to get them checked out of the library. So there wasn't really an impetus. And now, I'm rather glad I waited. The wait for book four, Breaking Dawn, won't be nearly so long. It is coming out in less than a month! Even better news, there's going to be a fifth book called Midnight Sun, which tells the story of Twilight from Edward's perspective! Joy! Maybe now I'll finally understand what he sees in Bella!

Read them!


Deranged Squirrel said...

I started Twilight at the cottage and ended up reading until 2 a.m. last night finishing it (despite saying to myself that I would just read two chapters before bed). It was so suspenseful and I found myself completely drawn in by the romance which is pretty uncharacteristic for me.

faerie-writer said...

Hahaha. That's always been my big questions too - what does he see in Bella?! But even my jaded 40+ old bones LOVES the romance! ;)

MadJenny said...

The more I think about it, the more I can't figure out why these books work so well. Everything about the premise and plot scream cliche and schlock. But really they don't come off that way. It must be the actual writing that does it. Now. That said, I can't see myself going back to read these again and again. They totally stand up to a voracious preliminary read, but I'm not sure if they are going to stand the test of time with people doing reread after reread.