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Twilight: A Review, Part 3

September 13, 2008

5. Obviously these are young adult books, primarily marketed towards young girls. Do you think these are books teenage girls should be reading?

Gretchen: Sure, I don’t see why not. Parents should definitely discuss the concepts of love and sex with their kids, and I think these are good books to spark discussion. Like Meyer, I’m LDS and I liked how she kept her values of no premarital sex. The pre-marriage stuff was mild and relatively tactful, but the wedding stuff was much too over-the-top. Issues like teen sex aside, there are much worse books out there that I think girls can read. The real question is, “are these books that women my mom’s age should be reading and obsessing over?” Frankly, this concerns me more.

Jen: I wonder exactly what age category “Young Adult” constitutes. There’s not a snowball’s chance that I’d let a “tween” read these, but I’d be okay with an older adolescent. Hopefully, by the time they hit the age of the characters in the story, they’ve realized that a crush on a boy does not necessarily lead to becoming a smokin’ vampire with a mind-reading baby and nights full of red-hot vampire lovin’. If not, that might be an indication of a whole new set of problems….

Marva:  NO! And yes. I think these are books that teenage girls should be discussing. This is coming from the girl who only ever broke one of her parents’ rules, and that was that I wasn’t allowed to read certain adult books when I was young. Guess who sneaked around at night pulling books off the top shelves? Anyhoo, I think that the messages in the series are terrible. Bella gave up everything, her family, her friends, her education, for a guy. Not to say I didn’t think Edward was hot. He was. But I feel that there’s even a bit of difference in me thinking Edward was hot, and her doing so. I think he’s hot, because in addition to being beautiful, he’s strong, likes good music, has good taste in cars, and generally has the most common sense of anyone in any of the books. I think Bella thought he was hot because he was physically attractive. I mean, they even talk about how he’s made to entrap humans – and I think that’s what happened. She liked him because he was sparkly. And she gave up everything for him. While I’m aware that she ended up getting some things back, like her father, she still cut herself off from life for him. CRAZY.

Does the world need teenage girls thinking that’s normal? No. Should they be aware of the fact that bad things happen when you get too obsessive? Sure. Should they be allowed to read whatever they want? Yeah. Should they emulate Bella, or character in this series? No. …Now that I’m thinking about it, it’s kind of funny. Everyone in that town is suffering from an obsessive amount of love. It’s funny that really, nothing else is going on there. Sure, there’s the vampire problems and the werewolf problems, but mostly, everyone is sitting around thinking about how they can’t live without someone. No one really does anything.

Megan: I think they give girls unrealistic expectations about what love is and how relationships are. Nothing is as perfect as Edward, and I just don’t think relationships are that intense. On top of that, they aren’t particularly well written. Of course, I think it’s good when people read anything, as most people are illiterate, but do these books really make girls think about anything? I don’t think so.

6. Twilight or Harry Potter?

Gretchen: Harry Potter, no battle. I was extremely depressed to have Harry Potter end, but actually relieved to finish the Twlight saga. Also, in terms of copies sold and international acclaim, Harry Potter has the market cornered. I could go on and on about why I love Harry Potter, but this is a Twilight-discussion.

Jen: Harry Potter. Don’t get me wrong – they were both nice for their own reasons. I just thought that overall, Potter was a stronger series.

Marva: Oh Harry Potter. I mean, there’s another case where I didn’t care much for the main character but liked the others. But amplified. I would read about Harry over Bella any day. I would read about Weasley Twins over Bella’s human family any day. I would read about Dumbledore and Snape and Deatheaters and Voldemort over the all the rest of the characters in Twilight anyday. But Edward, I’m probably more interested in than Harry. Overall, Harry Potter’s world is richer and makes more sense, and J.K. never took the easy path. So, better series overall.

Megan: Harry Potter x1000.  I think Stephanie Meyer’s writing makes J.K. Rowling look like Faulkner. Maybe that’s being overly harsh, but I think Harry Potter was consistently more interesting, thought-provoking and suspenseful, not to mention well told. Maybe it’s just that Harry Potter was a story of good v. evil and heroism, while Twilight was a story of…a whiny girl getting a fairy tale ending.

7. You’re a lonely stay at home mother and you want to write a series of young adult novels that will turn you into an instant celebrity and put you on Forbes’ list. Pitch your idea.

Gretchen: I wrote an outline a couple years back about this acting troupe that also had magic powers. (Hollywood-style drama and they’d also overthrow the tyrannical government.) It would combine the best elements of Harry Potter, Gossip Girl, and Perez Hilton. I’m convinced this is how I will put my kids through college.

Jen: Golden Girls – The Novel. I think the youth of today could learn a little something from Dorothy, Blanche,  Rose and Sophia. Thank you for being a friend! Really? I’d write a horror or mystery novel, and that would never pass. It’d probably involve growing up in London during the time of Jack the Ripper, or some other macabre scenario. Any takers?

Marva: My honors thesis at ASU was Fat Girls Fight Zombies, and I think that this is exactly what I would write for young adult novels. It would be a trilogy. Fat Girls Fight Zombies, Fat Girls Hunt Werewolves, and Fat Girls Save the Universe. Each of the novels would end in triumph for our Fat Girls, Sam and Penny, despite their weight problems. And though the books would promote the message that anyone is capable of saving the universe, it would not glorify unhealthy lifestyles, as it is their unhealthy lifestyles that generally make saving the universe more difficult. They’d rely a lot on quick thinking, and probably not get the guys they crush on at various points in highschool and college. But at the end of the day, they’ll have done great things.

Megan: I do like fantasy a lot, which I think is especially suited for young adult novels. Wizardry, vampires, and dragons are pretty much taken, but I think if I were to write a series it would be (now I don’t know if I want to give my idea away…) about time travel. There was a book I read called “The Egypt Game” which was sort of a time travel book and it was awe-some. So something along those lines. An adventure series involving time travel.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 13, 2008 8:31 pm

    This was lots of fun–thanks for putting it together!

  2. November 28, 2008 3:57 pm

    What an interesting way to discuss the series! These books are so popular–I am shocked how many people have an opinion on them (and now the film, too). Even people who are unhappy with the books want to talk about them. You asked interesting questions, and your panel provided unique, insightful answers.

    It is hard to review series like this one and Harry Potter. I think it was smart to offer a cross section of opinion.


  1. Twilight the Movie, A Review « Megan Goes to Hollywood

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