Why Stephenie Meyer is a Gateway drug

For all the criticism Stephenie Meyer’s books have received, I beg of you to look at it like a gateway drug.  People are going to pick up this book because of the buzz surrounding it.  Personally I really enjoyed the books while reading them.  Afterwards I looked at it with a way more critical eye, and could see their faults, but the most astounding thing of it all is that I wanted more.  More YA.  I wanted the dramatic intense teenage emotion of do or die.  The end of the world and it all revolves around me.

Admittedly I think I picked up the wrong series to get my second hit in.  I picked of PC Cast and Kristin Cast, House of Night vampire books.  What I knew was that Stephenie Meyer had written a Vampire book series and I had loved its dramatic tension.  So I looked for much of the same, with the logic that I love Buffy as a teenager.  Needless to say, House of Night and me did not click.  After that horrendous Cast experience, I laid off of YA for awhile, sojourning back into my safe world of Fantasy, where sweeping story lines and authors I could trust fed me magic and world building.

Now here is the part where I go to my online library record to see what changed, because off the top of my head, I can’t really remember why I went back to YA.  Haven’t the faintest idea.

So according to the library it was Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Darkside, and I do know how I got to that novel.  It was through the Book Smugglers.  They where reviewing Molly Harper’s Vampire series and it sounded really cute and fun and then I blog stocked Molly and she recommended Beth Fantaskey.  But then there was a lull.  A returning back to Fantasy.

Then out of nowhere in the summer time I decided that I was going to give YA another chance.  I went to the library and took out the first book of a BUNCH of series.  I gave myself permission to not read the entire series (trust me, this is big), to just commit to reading one book of the beginning of each to find out what I liked and what I didn’t.  I had the feeling that I hadn’t given YA a fare chance, and from the great impression I had gotten from Beth Fantasky, I wanted to try it again.

From that point is where it tumbleweeded.  Book covers brought me to author websites which brought me to their blogs and their twitter feed, and sometime in their I find myself firmly entrenched in their world.

At first I brought my snobbery of Fantasy with me to YA.  I would not read it unless it has fantastical elements.  Which meant no contemporary.  But then I read Anna and the French Kiss, because Kiersten White (author of PARANORMALCY which I LOVED) recommended, because they are reading partners and all.  And while I found it harder to get into at first, it was really touching and sweet.  I made my Mom and sister read it.  Then I started exploring other contemporary, and I found Gayle Forman, Maureen Johnson, and Ally Carter.  I learnt that I do like contemporary, but mostly when it has a big concept attached to it.  I’m not a small quite kind of contemporary person.  But then again if you ever get to meet me, my personality is not small and quite either.  Sure I get awkward and shy at moments, but mostly I am kind of large and dramatic, talk with my hands, put my foot in my mouth and feel like a dumbass later kind of person.  And my book choices reflect this.  I like to laugh, I like to be happy, and mostly I LOVE to read.

So you see why you shouldn’t bash Meyer’s work.  Because it leads to this giant snowball effect, whereby one persnickety reader finds themselves a year later entrenched in YA and loving it.  Where one die hard Fantasy lover, decides that instead of epic scope of world building, she needs epic emotional drama.  Where by my bookshelves need their won bookshelves to house the offshoots I am starting to grow.

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