Several weeks ago I was reading in our local paper an article about what people are reading now that the Harry Potter series has concluded. Having read the entier Potter series (and facing a summer break in which I like to catch up on popular fiction), the article caught my eye. Several series were mentioned, but one in particular stood out to me as an alternative young adult fiction series that might rival the Potter franchise. It was the Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer. I read the first two books in the series, Twilight and New Moon, and they center on a teen who falls in love with a vampire and has to navigate various issues related to this love, including a friendship with a werewolf, who, as we all know, are mortal enemies of vampires. In any case, it is interesting to catch up with what teens are reading today. I am planning to read Eclipse in the next couple of weeks, as the fourth book, Breaking Dawn, is scheduled for release August 2, 2008. Entertainment Weekly has an article on the first (of presumably many) movies based on the series.
Why did I even get into this series? What was intriguing to me at the outset was that Stephanie Meyer is a Mormon. I am not certain the extent to which her faith impacts her writing, but the article I read suggested that her conservative religious background may have contributed to decisions made by key characters in to the series. For example, the central love relationship is one of romantic and sexual tension but not of sex per se; the fact that Edmund (vampire) resists the urge to devour (literally) Bella (human) means they cannot get too close. Some critics have found this to make for a bland novel/series, while others seem to appreciate the nod to chastity (of sorts). Also interesting is that the central vampire clan does not feed on humans but on animals; they fight their own nature to live within a value system their leader holds.
So there are some interesting twists here. The Twilight series does indeed appear to be the heir apparent to the Harry Potter series. I think a few people feared that reading among adolescents would once again slump once Potter wrapped up. But thanks to Stephanie Meyer and others, there are several options in young adult fiction for the summer and beyond.