A few months ago I received an email from my friend, Mindy, asking for suggestions of books that her 14-year-old daughter, Kate, would like. I easily came up with a few titles, but being more of a children's literature connoisseur than a young adult literature connoisseur, I went to the good ol' internet to do a bit more research. I found a great top-10-for-teens-list. One of the titles on the list was Twilight. After reading a synopsis of the book--something or other about a vampire--I decided not to recommend it to Mindy. I mean, let's get serious, who wants to read a book about a vampire?
About a month later, I was visiting my friend, Julie. Her 16-year-old daughter, Caitlyn, was there. There was a knock on the door. It was Caitlyn's friend, Lindsay, returing a book she had borrowed. It was Twilight. Not yet remembering my internet research about this book, I began questioning the girls about it. The conversation went something like this: Me: "What's that book?" Girls: "Twilight." Me: "I haven't seen that book before. What's it about?" Girls (in a state of utter shock and disbelief): "You haven't heard of Twilight?!!!" They then proceded to tell me all about it--how it's soooo good, and how the sequel is soooo great too, and how I HAD to read it, and how it's sooo romantic. Julie had read it as well, and told me it was really quite good. I was now officially curious, but not yet compelled to rush out and buy it. After all, it was a book about a vampire.
A couple more months passed, but suddenly, Twilight was all around me. It was brought up in the children's lit class I attended 2 weeks ago. The teacher talked about how hot it is right now (he ought to know, as the library director), and how the author, Stephenie Meyer, a fellow alumna of my alma mater, has already been approached about a movie. A few days later, my friend, Lori, somewhat abashedly revealed to her blog-audience that she--having received a tip from her librarian mother-in-law--was now reading Twilight. A few days later I was in Borders, and I overheard a girl talking to the store manager, as they stood next to a large display with dozens of copies of Twilight. "Oh yeah," he said. "It's very popular. We're selling about 70 copies a week." Whoa. I was starting to feel more compelled.
That week was my birthday. Do you know what is great about birthdays and other special occasions when you're a self-declared book enthusiast? People give you books!! That same lovely friend, Lori, gifted me with my very own copy of Twilight. And if you'll pardon the cheesy pun, I sunk my teeth right into it! Twilight is definitely a page-turner. It's mysterious and intriguing, and the kind of book you absolutely don't want to put down. Here's the basic premise: Bella, 17, transfers to a new school, and falls in love with Edward, a vampire. I know what you're thinking--come on, a teenage love story about a vampire? But even I, who swears off all fantasy except Harry Potter, LOVED IT. Here's why--it's something we can all relate to. Well, not the blood-thirsty vampire part, but the part about being an awkward teenager, just trying to fit in. And the part about having challenges in your family. And the part about being completely smitten with that dreamy boy (or girl) in Biology class. Here's what Meyer says about it: "I've always admired the ability of some authors to create situations of impossible fantasy, and then add characters that are so deeply human that their perspective makes the situation believable. I hope Twilight offers readers the same experience." And, Mrs. Cropper says, IT DOES. I wouldn't say it's amazing writing, but it's really good writing. Meyer uses foreshadowing well, introduces a fair amount of new vocabulary (remember, this is intended for a teen audience), and serves up a great big helping of character development. That is what I love most about it.
Here's why I am recommending this book: It's a great, entertaining, fast read. A great escape--for adults and teens alike. It is especially perfect for teens--partly because it's fairly good literature, partly because they love the romance (OK, I guess we're looking at a mainly female audience here--and by the way, the romance is clean and appropriate), and mostly because it gets them reading! So, yeah, let's get serious--I am whole-heartedly recommending that you read Twilight, a teenage love story about a vampire.
P.S. The sequel, New Moon, is also out. The third book, Eclipse, will be available August 6th.