Have vampires invaded the world? Or just the young adult bookshelves?

Posted: July 5, 2010 in musings
Tags: ,

I grew up at a time when Young Adult fiction was dominated by average, white kids with perfect lives in suburban neighborhoods whose dilemmas ranged from finding a name to their baby-sitters’ club or losing a pet hamster or making a fool out of themselves in front of the boy/girl they liked or not knowing what to wear for Halloween.

Last I checked, vampires were part of the Halloween costumes lore.

These days though, when I find myself drifting into the young adult section of bookstores, I can’t help but feel agitated that most titles on these shelves have vampire or werewolf undertones. I lost track of the titles after Twilight—the covers all look the same to me anyway.

Surely, this is the new norm these days, right? Does this mean that the lives of the average kid have become too boring to be considered for fictional tales? Or that the times have really changed and kids these days now tend to be more escapist? Since when were vampires and werewolves romantic anyway? When I was a kid, they scared the daylights out of me.

Really, I do miss seeing titles like this:

Image credits: http://community.livejournal.com/1bruce1

Yeah, I do miss the Sweet Valley series and even The Baby-Sitters Club series. I remember swapping books with my friends back in Grade School and even asking my grandparents who were in the U.S. to send me the titles I couldn’t find in Manila. I remember crying my eyes out on all the Sweet Valley Saga titles. Ha, I even remember Blooey and I lining up to have our Sweet Valley books autographed by Cynthia and Brittany Daniel, who played Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield in a spin-off TV series. I was just reminded of this post when I saw my friend Dianne’s bookshelf in Tagaytay, lined up with her Sweet Valley Twins collection.

My only consolation these days is that most bookstores continue to carry the original Nancy Drew series, but Nancy Drew, in all her awesome sauciness, deserves a separate post from me.

  1. artseblis says:

    authors and publishers are cheating :P. maybe vampires are just euphemism for sex and the writers get around the puritanical sensibilities of parents through the remake of supernatural creatures into humanized characters. that these books successfully zero in on the hormone-driven fantasies of young adults is purely accidental. 😀

    • Mika says:

      Haha, good point on all these monsters as euphemisms for sex. Stephenie Meyer will never admit it, but that’s what Edward was. And really, she crafted a book that had its foundations on Bella wanting to have sex. Good grief.

      I might begin unearthing my old Sweet Valley books. The innocence would probably be refreshing—haha, I remember “Elizabeth’s First Kiss” from Todd was a kiss on the cheek, and that was a big deal back then.

      • artseblis says:

        even in the movie, bella was desperate to seduce edward! those scenes made me cringe. the scenes where the vampires were sniffing at bella were hilarious though. in fairness, the running-in-the woods scenes were very pretty.

        never went through a Sweet Valley phase, i’m afraid. i went straight to bloody horror and high fantasy. i actually love romances, if they are set in a mystery or adventure.

        i guess that’s why i’m into urban fantasy, which almost always have a secondary romance angle. also, no need to cheat in this genre, lol.

      • Mika says:

        Yeah, that was cringe-inducing. I wonder how parents of little girls watching the movie attempted to explain THAT. The action scenes made the movie much better than the book. (And really, it is hard to translate a book into a movie script, so kudos to Eclipse’s production team for making the movie more palatable.

        I just read Twilight to find out what the hoopla was all about, Robert Pattinson notwithstanding. Other than that, my choice of books have been fairly eclectic. I don’t read as much as Bloo (haha, that’s a high benchmark pa rin), but I’m happy with most of my choices naman. I really think I missed out on the romance boat. Does Nicholas Sparks fall under romance? A lot of my friends fawned over his stuff—I just got bored, for the most part.

  2. artseblis says:

    i avoid tearjerkers like the plague. i’ll read magic realism with drama but not family-centered dramas. as it is, i’m steeling myself to finally watch Hachiko, the dog who waited years for his master to come home until he died in the snow, still waiting.

    back to eclipse. the movie was eye candy and just like the book indulged the romantic yearnings of teenage girls while carefully keeping the virtue of the characters intact, making parents very happy.

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