I See a Little (Twi)light

twilight_book_cover I’ve got YA books on the mind. Probably because I spent the better part of a week –and-a-half plowing through the “Twilight” book series. Here is my quick take on these books:

Twilight – Loved it. For the most part. Kind of lost me at the vampire baseball game (I can only suspend my disbelief for so long), but after reading all four I’ve decided this is my favorite.

New Moon– Mostly liked it but OMG really depressing to read for hundreds of pages about the hole in Bella’s chest. It did make me want to go to Italy, though.

Eclipse: Fight scene will be much better on film. Too much exposition.

Breaking Dawn: WTF?

I admit, I got kind of obsessed about the series while reading it. I had a feeling that would happen, which is why I tried really hard to avoid the books. In fact, as an alternative my pal Kate suggested I read “The Hunger Games” instead, but more on that in a minute.

I’m glad I read them. There is something fun in reading about teenage romance as an adult. First and foremost, I’ve been married for five years, and I was with the husband for six years before that. That’s 11 years for those of you not interested in doing the math. While I love and adore him, that new relationship, crazy-in-love thing … well let’s be honest, it kind of fades when you find yourself permanently sleep-deprived and out of time because there is a child (whom you also love and adore) that needs a lot of attention. With a fun read like this you get to re-live it in a sense. It’s similar to what the husband thought was an unhealthy fascination that I had with the series Dawson’s Creek (which, don’t know if I’ve mentioned before or not, does NOT stand the test of time). Oh I had such a crush on Joey and Pacey. And I think I did because it came at a time when I was missing those weird, awkward high-school years. Watching the series gave me that fix. And so the same goes with Twilight.

In addition to that guilty pleasure, now I get what the Team Edward/Team Jacob thing is all about. This pop-culture phenomenon is no longer lost on me. No, I won’t be visiting Forks, Wash. anytime soon, but at least I feel like I’m in on the jokes. I am not interested in figuring out the High School Musical/Hannah Montana/Jonas Brothers nonsense. But at least now I get Twilight.

Beyond the fan sites, there is a lot of talk about Edward & Bella’s relationship. One: Is Edward a stalker? Two: Is this actually an abusive relationship? Three: Is Bella’s “damsel-in-distress” character a poor role model for the young girls who are obsessed with these books? (I am waiting for college thesis papers to cover this topic, if they haven’t already) Four: Are you FOR REAL??

C’mon people. These are novels. Fiction. If I had a choice between my future tweenage daughter reading these FICTION novels and in the process discovering what eventually becomes a lifelong love of literature (please, please let my daughter become a bookworm!), or watching REALITY TV garbage like the Kardashians or Real Housewives, the choice is obvious.

Give the kids credit to recognize healthy and unhealthy relationships. Or, be ready to talk about them when the time comes. Twenty years ago it they would have been crazy about New Kids on the Block. Ten years ago it would have been N Sync or the Backstreet Boys. At least now these girls get some reading in alongside their swooning. And, they will grow out of it. We always do.

More importantly, when my daughter is done with Twilight, I have the opportunity to introduce to her a role model that I can be proud of. Maybe it’s Harry Potter and Hermione Granger. Or maybe it’s…

Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games! Now there is a kick-ass girl that I can stand behind. For those of you who haven’t read it, this futuristic view of a post-apocalyptic country pits teenager against teenager in a gladiator-type game. Social-class issues, love triangles, and yes, that confused I’m-a-teenager-what-the-heck-is-going-on type of situations arise. It is so easy to root for Katniss, the female heroine in this series because she is smart, independent, strong, and a fighter to the end. While some might consider Bella selfless (in that she makes choices to protect her parents and loved ones but are detrimental to her); Katniss truly is selfless, risking death to save her sister (as opposed to wanting to die to live forever with her vampire boyfriend).

As much as I loved reading Twilight and am looking forward to the movies (hey, I am also hooked on the Harry Potter and have been for nearly a decade), it’s the final book of The Hunger Games trilogy that I really can’t wait for. August 2010 can’t come soon enough. When push comes to shove, if I need to recommend a teenage girl one series, it won’t be Twilight. It will be The Hunger Games.

Some fun links I ran into while obsessing about Twilight:

Midnight Sun: Stephanie Meyer’s draft of 12 chapters of Twlight, as seen in Edward’s perspective.

Why Breaking Dawn Must Be Made Into  a Movie: A funny (and accurate) – and R-rated- synopsis of “Breaking Dawn”

Vanity Fair article on RPattz. I read it (before reading Twilight) and actually got nervous for him. I began picturing a dim future for him a la River Phoenix. But Cathy assured me he’s grounded enough and that if it gets too crazy he’ll just leave Hollywood. Phew.

Next topic: Why all the talk about Team Edward & Team Jacob & Team Bella? Where is Team Alice? Of all the characters from that series, I want Alice as my BFF. For reals.

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