Friday, May 23, 2008

Confession Time!

As a Teen Librarian, part of my job is to keep up with what's new and cool. Basically, I try to keep tabs, in my middle-aged way, on what teens like and don't like. And for the most part, I would say that teens have pretty good taste.

However, there are some things that the teens who hang out at the library like, that I don't get at all.

For example, the band Flyleaf. Especially the song "I'm So Sick." Whenever we play Rock Band at the Game Labs, this song gets played over and over and over again. Why? She's screaming. Not really singing... just... screaming. A lot. And I get headaches.

I also don't get The Hills. Do the people on that show do anything? Because it doesn't seem like they do. It seems like they talk about each other behind each other's backs and get their picture taken. I don't understand why that is entertaining.

And finally, I must confess that I don't get Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. I'm sure that Karen and Kristin will be all over me for this one, but, really, what's the big deal? I read Twilight when it first came out, and thought it was O.K. Not good, not bad, just... O.K. I could understand why some girls might really groove on the whole forbidden romance thing, but honestly, I didn't expect it to become the phenomenon it has.

Recently, I went back and skimmed Twilight again, thinking that maybe I missed something. The second time I read it, some things about it really bothered me. Namely, how passive Bella is. In college-lit speak, Bella has no agency -- which is just a way of saying that she doesn't act on her own, circumstances or other characters act for her. She's just sort of there, damsel-in-distress style.

However, I do know that I am in the minority, and that there is an almost constant demand for "Books Like Twilight". So, to all those looking for something to read while they wait for Breaking Dawn, I'd like to recommend Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr.

Like most teenagers, Aislinn (Ash to her friends) has to keep to a very specific set of rules. However, unlike most teenagers, she agrees with the rules her grandmother has set down, and knows that they are for her protection. Both Aislinn and her grandmother can see Faeries -- and they're not the princesses with wings that the cartoons would have you believe. Faeries are dangerous and cruel, and they really don't like it when mortals can see them. So Ash keeps her head down, trusting in the fey's aversion to iron to keep her safe.

But when Keenan, a gorgeous male faerie, begins following Ash, she doesn't know what to do. She wishes they would just go away, and leave her alone with her smokin' hot friend Seth. However, when Keenan tells Ash that she is his queen, and she must love him or die, Ash doesn't just accept that. She rebels against Keenan's high handed treatment of her, and uses her brains and instincts to find a solution that she can live with. She also doesn't let herself become a victim of Keenan's mother, the Winter Queen, who wants Ash to remain powerless for her own reasons.

I liked this book because Marr does a great job of creating a believable world of faeries. She sets up realistic conflicts between Keenan and the Winter Queen and between Keenan and Ash. But mostly I liked it be Aislinn isn't willing to swoon into Keenan's arms and give up everything she wants for him. Nor does she go the Daphne from Scooby-Doo route, getting herself into danger and waiting to be rescued. She thinks, and she acts.
Not everything about this book is perfect. Seth, Ash's best "friend" is a little too perfect to be real, and the ending feels sort of rushed. However, if you're dying for a little supernatural romance, Wicked Lovely is a great bet.


Karen said...

If you're middle-aged then I must be downright elderly. Ack! No-no-no, we are both young, beautiful and vital. And well-read.

Kristin said...

I actually agree with Merideth about Bella in Twilight. She is a passive character that drives me crazy. But I think that the reason she drives me crazy are adult reasons and most teens don't mind it since they're not adults yet! It's also the reason me thinking that Jacob is better for Bella than Edward.