And Now I Share My Thoughts on Popular YA Fiction

I try not to give reviews on things EVERYONE is talking about. But I feel the need to get one thing out of the way: Twilight. Okay, two things: Twilight and The Hunger Games.

Hey, I’ll admit it: I went through the Twilight phase in seventh and eighth grade. I wanted to be Bella Swan just like every other pre-adolescent girl around me. In fact, my best friends and I went to the release party for Breaking Dawn. I grew out of that phase. It got old. Really really really old. Like, geriatric and wrinkly. Assisted-living-old. Get the picture?

Now, I’m sure Ms. (Mrs.?) Meyer was not initially trying to create a sell-out of a franchise. However, by the time the third book had been released, she probably changed her mind. Remember, I did love Twilight. I would defend it like I now defend my love of Joss Whedon’s work. But I look at these novels and think, Why are these popular? Remember my scathing criticism of Stepmother? Yeah, that pales in comparison to how I feel about the Twilight saga. I feel that these books are poorly written, weakly constructed, and nightmarishly characterized.

Point: Bella Swan is written in a bland way that makes her perfectly relatable to any adolescent girl who wants to be the heroine. Where’s the fun in a heroine who has no individual personality? There’s nothing memorable about Bella except that she b*tches about everything, and she does really stupid things.

Point: The adults are either living in blissful (and willful) oblivion, or they’re really really really stupid. For instance, Charlie Swan, chief of police in Forks. How did he earn this title when he can’t even keep his own DAUGHTER from jetting off to Italy after a suicide attempt and he can’t manage to set up some sort of cautionary protective measures when there are MONSTERS attacking his town? I would not put my safety in this man’s hands. And who the heck lets their teenage daughter treat him the way Bella treats her dad? That girl needs a time-out.

Point: There are very few LIKEABLE characters. Alice is kind of my favorite because at least she doesn’t take sh*t from anyone. But everyone else, I kinda wish they’d all go cliff-diving like Bella, but with more fatal results.

Point: The novels do not display a healthy relationship. Forget the fact that Edward is, like, seventy-something years Bella’s senior and a deadly creature of the night. He doesn’t respect her. He’s patronizing, kind of standoffish, and can be menacing. This is not okay. Ladies, take note: If your boyfriend treats you like Edward treats Bella, dump his butt. You’re better off single. And didn’t he basically bribe her into marrying him? Shouldn’t marriage be an act of love?

Point: This is a terrible franchise. See above points.

The Hunger Games trilogy, however, I supremely enjoyed. Yeah, okay, Katniss occasionally p*sses me off, but for the most part, I love this series. I truly want Katniss to win, I want the guy to get the girl, the love triangle doesn’t make me want to hurl, I cry when characters meet an unfortunate end (if I liked them) and cheer when they succeed. Suzanne Collins’ trilogy is an enjoyable reading experience in which I partake again and again.

Point: Katniss has actual struggles. Guys, her dad died, her mom is sick, her family’s poor, and she has to illegally hunt to provide for her mother and sister. And then her sister basically gets volunteered for death, and her best friend might be kind of in love with her, but she has to fake being in love with another guy with whom she may actually be starting to like. PLUS, she fights her own battles. Girl’s got some guts. She gets up off her rear and fights.

Point: Our hero is funny, charming, and can go out in the sunlight without looking like Tiffany & Co. Peeta is one of the good guys. He rarely (if ever) talks down to Katniss, and when he gets mad at her, he still pretends he’s her beau in the public eye so as to not throw them both under the bus. He’s also, you know, human. Big bonus!

Point: The battles are exciting and not all the same. Each battle has me feeling the urgency that comes in fighting for one’s life without a trusty backup team who can really do all the fighting for you. Enough said, no?

Point: I love the cast of supporting characters as much and sometimes more than the main characters. My favorites are Cinna and Rue. Especially Cinna. I kind of constantly want to give Cinna a hug.

Pointlette: I’m actually really really pleased with the casting for this movie and excited to see the movie.

I believe my points have been made. Conclusion? The Hunger Games trilogy kicks the Twilight saga’s butt. In my humble opinion.

DISCLAIMER: I in no way mean to offend anyone affiliated with either franchise. I do, in fact, think it takes a monumental amount of courage to publish a series of novels in the face of scorn, and respect Stephenie Meyer for doing so. These are just my opinions on two series of novels about which people talk frequently.

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