Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Heather's Low Down on YA Lit Part I - Vampires

I’ve read a ton this summer – consuming and chomping up books like they were chex mix, almost exclusively young adult novels. Through a rag tag combination of library, Half-Price Books, buying full price, and even Ebay, I have read everything popular, checked out some award winning books, chewed through series. I’ve read about vampires (of course, and almost all of them done poorly), werewolves, witches, faeries (so many faerie books lately!), demons, immortals, dream-walkers, and re-told old-fashioned fairy tales. Ok, this makes me want to rank them by creature and quality. Let’s start with the obvious, shall we?


  • Twilight Series – sorry folks, but Stephenie Meyer is the best story-teller of the bunch, even if I did have multiple ick moments with Book IV.
  • Vampire Academy Series – Rachelle Mead tells damn good stories. With a great mythology, and great also because the lead character isn’t even a vampire, but a vampire protector. Great thoughts about loyalty, sacrifice, self-denial. And a kick your guts in love story, which I’m hoping will somehow magically resolve itself in the book coming out on August 25th. Mead is going to be in town, so I’m going to a book signing for the release! Very excited, both about meeting her, and getting to finally read the next book.
  • Evernight Series by Claudia Gray. Again an academy, with cool plot twists. And she’s just a better writer than some of them out there – good flow between scenes, good dialogue and relationships. I’m surprised this one isn’t more popular. I really liked it.
  • House of Night Series – by P.C. and Kristen Cast. So. This one was a good enough read. Again with the boarding school thing, and the predictable ream of friends and dumb dialogue. But it had some interesting ideas in it.
  • Vampire Diaries – I barely remember what it was about. Interesting enough for a couple night’s reading, but nothing to write home about. Throw-away relationships between the kids, stupid dialogue. I think this one just got popular because of it’s timing – it was already published (in the late 90's) when Twilight first got popular, and was an easily go-to for people wanting more sexy teen vamps. And this one is coming out as a TV show on the CW.
  • Vampire Kisses Series by Ellen Schreiber – Didn't love it as much

While we are at it, I am SO tired of the same storyline over and over and over and over again. Either the protagonist moves to a new town, or new/mysterious boy arrives. (And in at least ten different series, the stupid male/female love leads meet because they are science lab partners!! Freakin' A! Get some imagination!) Immediate attraction, interest. Secrecy.

Ooooooooo, are you tingling in your bedspreads yet? Time for some sublimated sexual innuendo! Or, in some cases, like the House of Night series, your first introduction to a main character accidently walking in on him getting a blow job. Not to mention the book I just read tonight was about a secret teacher-teen sex ring! Maybe you can talk about sex in YA. In Perfect Chemistry, the author even talks about the dude’s “erection”. Sex is everywhere – or at least heavy, detailed foreplay, and then shut the curtain for the main event.

Tomorrow I’ll give you my run down on faeries. I generally don’t like the faerie books, with their throwback to the original faeries as gleefully murderous fey. You can never really like the faeries, and that can be a problem, when they are the freaking protagonist.

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