Everybody knows what happens in Twilight, right? Bella is an angsty sixteen year old who is pale and clumsy and Edward is an angsty 80 year old vampire who is pale but swift and strong and sparkles in the sun like a marble statue of diamonds, or words to that effect. They meet when Bella moves to Forks, Washington, where Edward and his “family” live because it’s so cloudy all the time that the sun can’t reveal their true sparkly identities…And they hunt bears and mountain lions rather than people. Bella and Edward develop an intense connection, but this might endanger her life because…he is a vampire who may not be able to resist his…urges.
Things I like about Twilight: Bella and Edward have conversations. They may seem trivial, but they are genuinely interested in each other and they like talking to each other and finding out about each other, which is refreshing considering in how many YA and other romance novels love at first sight happens and then there’s a complication and then things end happily and then you realise that the protagonists have barely spoken two words to each other EVER or been in the same room without exchanging a couple of cute lines and then jumping into bed together / cut to complication and separate angsting until the reunion as the end credits roll and you picture them like Elaine Robinson and Dustin Hoffman sitting on the bus staring into space as it rolls into the sunset all “right, what now? Will this ever not be awkward?” In the films, of course, the conversation was replaced with moody looks and lip-biting and stupid music.
Things I don’t like: HE WATCHES HER SLEEP AND LISTENS TO HER SLEEPTALK WITHOUT HER KNOWING HE IS THERE. So wrong.
Stuff that’s supposed to come across as romantic but is actually creepy as hell is perhaps endemic to a certain kind of YA literature – consider all the random fistfights and possessiveness in which Elizabeth Wakefield and Todd Wilkins were enmeshed in the Sweet Valley High series, for instance. Anyone else have any other examples? I’d be really interested. Or examples of the opposite, well-crafted and realistic and non-creepy relationships in YA lit? And if no one else has read SVH…I’ll get me coat.