Monday, January 30, 2006

We are back from a fruitless attempt to get in for a massage today. Three tries and I was ready to come back home to my heating pad! But Steve was so wonderful to drive me all over the island checking for openings. We should have known better during high season. It seemed to take forever to get back home as traffic is terrible this time of year. We were chuckling about the woman walking back from KMart pulling an empty suitcase with the labels still on it. Guess she got carried away with her shopping. :-)

While at Midwinter I went to the teen input session of the Best Books for Young Adults Committee meeting. There were 75 teens there from ages 12 to 17. It was surprising to see so many older teens as it is often a group of younger teens. Many of them were extremely articulate and had strong reasons for liking or disliking particular titles. I had not read yet read Stephanie Meyer's Twilight, but after listening to the teen input I knew I had to. My wonderful fellow YALSA member and friend Julie Scordato had sent me an ARC when it first came out but she got the envelope back - empty. Someone else had a great reading experience! So when I stopped at the Little Brown booth Victoria Stapleton gave me a copy of it. Now I know why the teens and most of the YA librarians I have talked to loved this book. What wonderful vampire romance. I didn't think any vampire book could topple Annette Curtis Klause's The Silver Kiss from the top of my list, but Twilight did.

Bella moves to Forks to live with her father even though she hates the cloudy and rainy NW weather. She loves the dry heat of Phoenix, but with her mother remarried to a baseball player who travels she knows she is in the way so she moves in with her quiet father, who is the chief of police. Bella makes new friends and has three guys wanting to go out with her, but she is fascinated by Edward Cullen, her incredibly attractive and remote biology partner. At first he acts like he is furious with her. He looks at her with eyes so black they are bottomless - eyes filled with anger and hatred. Bella is totally taken aback, but still strangely attracted to him. Edward is gone for days and when he returns he begrudgingly begins to talk to her. But it is when he saves her from being crushed by an out of control car in the HS parking lot that Bella realizes that there is something very different about Edward. Instead of killing him, the van that hit him is dented from where he held it back from crushing them. It doesn't take long for Bella to put the legends of local natives together with the knowledge that Edward does not eat to detetmine that he is not human. Even when he admits he is a vampire Bella does not run in terror. Yes, Edward is a vampire, but she is in love with him. Their relationship slowly grows as Bella learns more about Edward and his family. Some critics have said the middle part of the book drags a bit. If you are reading this as a vampire tale only, it does. But, if you are reading it as a romance as well, it doesn't. Edward and Bella have to form a strong enough love and bond to keep them together when the Tracker finds Bella and Edward must save her, without killing her himself. At 498 pages this is not a quick read but it is still on Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers and I agree that it should be there. Reluctant readers can read, they choose not, but a book like this will get even the most reluctant teen reader involved.

All for now.