Popular Books For Teenagers

Twilight
This book has been a huge deal this year, pretty much exploding onto the scene after being published in 2005. It focuses on Bella, the book's heroine, who moves to the small, rainy town of Forks to live with her dad as her flighty mother travels around with her baseball-playing husband. Almost immediately, Bella is intruiged by a boy named Edward, who apparently hates her guts. Edward is in fact a vampire, and the only reason he doesn't immediately attack Bella and her sweet-smelling blood is because he hasn't drank human blood for years. Then they fall in love, even though Edward warns her over and over and over again that if she was smart, she would stay away, and then Bella is hunted by a vampire, etc.
Twilight isn't particularily well-written. Stephen King compared JK Rowling and Stephenie Meyer, saying that both authors were "speaking directly to young people". "The real difference is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer and Stephenie Meyer can't write worth a darn. She's not very good," he told an interviewer from USA Weekend. A bit harsh? Maybe. After all, Stephenie Meyer has sold over 17 million copies of Twilight, which is not small feat, and her book was made into a movie. (How good the movie was is a whole other matter.) So what's the real appeal of Twilight?
Perhaps Stephen King does get it right when he says that Twilight addresses a "safe joining of love and sex" in her books. He says, "It's exciting and it's thrilling and it's not particularly threatening because they're not overtly sexual. A lot of the physical side of it is conveyed in things like the vampire will touch her forearm or run a hand over skin, and she just flushes all hot and cold. And for girls, that's a shorthand for all the feelings that they're not ready to deal with yet."

So what does Twilight teach us? Maybe that a book doesn't necessarily have to be brilliantly written to be good, or a magnificent piece of prose to sell millions of copies. So do we judge books by how good the writing is, or by how many people love to read them?

Click here to learn more about Stephen King's take on Twilight

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Books About Love

"There is never a time or place for true love. It happens accidentally, in a heartbeat, in a single flashing, throbbing moment."

— Sarah Dessen (The Truth About Forever)

A lot of books for teenagers deal with love. Whether it's true love, like Twilight, you-thought-you-were-in-love-but-the-guy's-all-wrong-for-you (similar to Someone Like You), love for your parents (also Someone Like You), or even love for yourself, which is evident in the book Speak, an excellent novel I would recommend for anyone.

I'm not saying these are excellent books. In fact, Someone Like You follows such a typical teen-drama plot at times that it's hard to roll your eyes as the best friend gets pregnant, the main character "falls in love" with the wrong guy, the main character also hates her mom who just doesn't understand her, and then the main character's boyfriend gets her in trouble. Meanwhile, the best friend decides to not get an abortion because it just wouldn't be right, and then finds a great guy who could be a stand-in father figure for her kid, becuase the real dad died in a motorcycle accident.

But one great thing about books like Someone Like You is that they will encourage teenage girls to read, something that does need to happen, and that there are snippets of truth and good writing throughout the book. And books about love are great for teenagers at a time when we're just starting to experience more poweful feelings.

So whether you're breaking out of a mold and taking control of your own life (Just Listen) or you're head-over-heels in love, there's always going to be a book for you.

Want more good books? Check out THIS SITE for some cool books for teens. It's a good site because there's a quick summary of each book, so you can figure out if you like it or not.

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