Since I’ve written about some books for little kids and some for grade school/middle school kids, we’re up to teenagers. My tentative plan with this series is to cycle through the age groups each month with room for a miscellaneous post for whatever strikes my fancy.
When talking about teen fiction these days the subject of “Twilight” is hard to avoid, so I won’t. I read “Twilight.” It had lit up the book community with a Potter-like wildfire, so I gave it a try. It was weird. Not the book, but my reaction to it. Normally I read a book pretty quickly, it’s rare for a book to last more than a day or two, three if I’m busy. “Twilight” took me about a week and a half. Not because of it’s complexities, it doesn’t really have much in the way of food for thought, but because I just didn’t care that much about finishing it. When I was actively reading the book, I couldn’t put it down. I would read a hundred pages in one sitting. But when I did actually put it down, I didn’t feel any need to pick it up again. I’d read another book instead. When it was done I’d think “Well, I guess I can finish ‘Twilight.'” I think I read three other books before I finally finished it. When I was done I was interested enough to google a spoiler for how the series ended, but I had no desire to buy the buy the books and read them for myself.
I have two main objections to the series. First, the whole vampire/werewolf/human dynamic is very similar to the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris and, frankly, Harris does it better. Her books have more depth and a sense of humor. Second, Bella. I remember being an obsessive teen-age girl. It’s not healthy and I don’t like the way Stephenie Meyer encourages her attitude. It made me uncomfortable.
So, if you are looking for an alternative, or something “Twilight” lovers might enjoy reading next, here are a couple of options.
The Mortal Instruments
By Cassandra Clare
The Mortal Instruments series includes “City of Bones,” “City of Ashes,” “City of Glass” and the soon to be published “City of Fallen Angels.” They have vampires, warlocks, demons, angels and faeries, as well as plot twists, surprises and mysteries. Clare creates believable characters in unbelievable situations, except by the end even the bizarre situations seem possible. And she really knows her mythology, which scores big points with me. She has also started the “Infernal Devices” series with “Clockwork Angel.” It’s a steampunky prequel to “The Mortal Instruments” and quite good so far.
By Daniel Nayeri and Dina Nayeri
“Another Faust” has nothing to do with vampires, but it is supernatural, spooky and interesting. Instead of one Faust, this book has five. Five teenagers are granted their hearts’ desire and let loose in an exclusive prep school. It’s a pretty creepy book, the main viewpoint jumps from character to character so you get to see some of them descend further and further into power hungry madness while you watch others pull themselves out bit by bit. The Nayeri siblings have followed up with “Another Pan” which I will be reading shortly. (I was disappointed to find out that it was Peter Pan, not the greek god Pan, but I’m still looking forward to it.)
If you have any questions, suggestions or requests (or if you just want to tell me why I am wrong about “Twilight,”) you can e-mail me at SaraB@persephonemagazine.com