Thursday, May 26, 2011

Twilight Betterthans

Anyone who has every worked with teens, and kids (too) will get this question: If I liked Twilight, what else might I like to read? I even got asked this question by a co-worker at the daycare I currently work at.  (Little tidbits about me: I work in childcare, I volunteer at a library, and I’m applying for library jobs).
Anyway, I don’t feel like tackling the Twilight topic quite yet. Eventually, I will make a post dedicated solely on my opinions of the books, the movies, and the fad. I mean how could I have a YA blog that never discussed it? At the moment, I would like to just share the books I recommend to people who liked Stephenie Meyer’s books. A lot of librarians would call this list Twilight Read Alikes. My own Nori-coined phrase is Betterthans.  I’m not a Twilight hater, but all of these books I’m about to list are definitely better. Also, all of the books listed are the first in a YA series, so when I keep talking about books (in the plural tense) it’s because I am talking about the whole series.
1) The Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

I read these books faster than I read any of the Twilight books. And it’s not because they were short. I read two in a row on one train ride (from Pittsburgh to NYC). And when I got to NYC to see my ex, I made my ex (boyfriend at the time) drive me to Barnes and Noble, so I could buy the next two in the series. The last two weren’t out yet. They are addictive. There’s vampires, there’s those who are chosen to guard the vampires, there’s love triangles, there’s royalty, there’s insane fight scenes, there’s magic, there’s politics, and best of all, the main character kicks serious butt. She’s brave, strong, independent, and the best friend a girl could hope for. Rose is kind of like a modern day, violent version of Elizabeth Bennet. She always questions the rules that mark anyone as inferior. Even if you did not like Twilight, but love YA, by any means possible, pick up these books!
2) City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

I have already reviewed the latest one in this series and discussed one of the covers in this series in my favorite YA book covers entry. Clare’s writing style can easily be compared to Meyer’s and that’s not a huge compliment…yet, for me and a lot of YA readers that’s not the most important thing. I mean come on, I apparently can’t stop blogging about the woman’s work, one way or another.  Clary (the main character in the series) is more like Bella than Rose is; however, by the last book I reviewed in the series, Clary has developed into a much stronger leading lady. These books are great for all the city dwellers out there. It’s amazing urban fantasy. And I highly recommend it to any fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The books are loaded with vampires, werewolves, fairies, demons, and all sorts of creatures living in NYC.  The romance sort of reads like a junior high Manga, but even that gets better as the books go along. Cassandra Clare grows as a writer with each book.
3) Blue Bloods by Melissa De La Cruz

This series (not to be confused with the HBO show, True Bloods) was published less than a year after Twilight first came out. I had read both of the first books in this series around the same time. I really enjoyed both, but liked this one more! This was before Twilight was a movie, became a fad, or even was much of a series yet. Again, this one takes place in NYC and it tells of a different kind of vampire. One that is reincarnated throughout time and that is connected to fallen angels. It mixes Dante, mythology, history, and vampire books all together. It’s creative, and the romance throughout the series is fantastic! This book even beat the next YA craze: fallen angels. There’s upper class NYC teens, amazing dances, murders, ancient history, and even explanations for why all the famous people of the world are as beautiful as they are (they’re vampires…duh).
4) Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

These books are more focused on the romance element than anything and switch points of view between the guy and the girl. They focus on werewolves (not vampires), but I think what I love most about these books (2 so far) is how real the characters are. Edward and the Cullens were fascinating to me, but almost too fascinating. There was a (most likely purposeful) separation from them and the average teen. The characters in Shiver, werewolf or human, just feel like people you know, people you could be friends with. These books were a little less action packed than the others, but definitely weren’t boring. Maybe this helped add to the real-feeling factor.
5) Shadowland by Meg Cabot

It’s been a long time since I read these books (The Mediator series). But like all of the others I have listed, I have read them all multiple times. They involve a girl who can see ghosts. She sees her dad’s ghost. And she sees ghosts all the time; it sort of becomes her job to help them find peace, while simultaneously trying to pass high school. How is this romantic? Well, she kind of falls hard for the ghost who haunts her house (originally her bedroom), and eventually a love triangle happens with another mediator. There are spooky moments, murders solved, and eventually time traveling. I recently had a discussion with one of my friends from library school (Christina), about why everyone loved Cabot’s Princess Diaries books so much more than these...We just don’t know why. Though, it probably has a lot to do with the Disney movies. These books are amazing and have been published a few times, so most libraries should have one publication or another.

1 comment:

  1. So much love for the Mediator. The others aren't necessarily my favorites, but most of them are addictive (see the Cassandra Clare series).