A few years ago, a thick book appeared in the hands of many of my students. It had a black cover featuring pale white hands holding a scarlet apple. I wasn't interested. It looked like the typical teen angst book to me... not my style. I had no desire whatsoever to read Twilight. It came out right at a time when some more risque books were making waves in young adult fiction, and in my mind, I guess I lumped them all together. The more students recommended it to me, the less I wanted to read it. Then I found out it was about vampires! Definitely not my thing. Other than Harry Potter, I'm not into fantasy books at all, and V.C. Andrews books when I was 14 are about as close as I ever got to the horror genre.
Well, this year I caved. I did it partly because my Delta Kappa Gamma book club decided to read it, but I also was curious to see what all the hype was about. I'm glad I gave in. I was delightfully surprised. It hooked me almost instantly. I almost forgot it was about vampires. I just really got into the story and the characters. I like it when books surprise me, and this one definitely did.
I know people are analyzing the series... it's written by a Mormon author named Stephanie Meyer. I've heard people say the message is abstinence. I've heard people worry that it conveys the message that women should be subservient to men. I've heard of conservative Christian parents not letting their kids read it. I've heard it all. I don't know what the author intended, but personally, I just found it an entertaining read. Despite it being a really thick book, it reads so quickly. It was also surprisingly tame. The writing was so accessible that even just a kiss between Edward and Bella (and that's as far as it ever goes) quickened my pulse a bit. It took me back to being a teenager and those feelings of first love, but it's definitely PG. I expected a vampire romance book to be a lot more graphic. It just wasn't. And as a teacher, I love it when kids get excited about reading. It's hard to pry these books out of the kids' hands.
Now, I'm reading the third book in the series, and like all my students, I can't wait to see the movie. When you can't beat 'em, join 'em, I guess. :)