#1 Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. Little, Brown and Company, 2005. ISBN: 9780316015844, 235 pp.
Publisher’s Description: Isabella Swan’s move to Forks, a small, perpetually rainy town in Washington, could have been the most boring move she ever made. But once she meets the mysterious and alluring Edward Cullen, Isabella’s life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. Up until now, Edward has managed to keep his vampire identity a secret in the small community he lives in, but now nobody is safe, especially Isabella, the person Edward holds most dear. The lovers find themselves balanced precariously on the point of a knife-between desire and danger.
Quotes from Readers: “Romance for teens that is thrilling and safe.”
“The most popular title for teens since 2005″
“This title caused busy teenage girls to stop and read.”
Online reviews: Goodreads, LibraryThing, Shelfari, TeenReads, TeensReadToo.
Awards: Georgia Peach Book Award (2007), Kentucky Bluegrass Award for 9-12 (2007), An ALA/YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers (2006), Prijs van de Kinder- en Jeugdjury Vlaanderen (2008), Books I Loved Best Yearly (BILBY) Awards for Older Readers (2009); West Australian Young Readers’ Book Award (WAYRBA) for Older Reader Award (2008), South Carolina Book Award for Young Adult Book Award (2008), Grand Canyon Reader Award for Teen Book (2008), Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Book Award for High School (2007), Gateway Awards (2007), Golden Sower Award for Young Adult (2009), Nevada Young Readers’ Award for Young Adult Category (2007), The Flume: New Hampshire Teen Reader’s Choice Award (2007), Garden State Teen Book Award for Fiction (Grades 9-12) (2008), Pennsylvania Young Readers’ Choice Award for Young Adult (2008), Rhode Island Teen Book Award (2007), Evergreen Young Adult Book Award (2008), ALA Teens’ Top Ten (2006), Michigan Library Association Thumbs Up! Award Nominee (2006), Teen Read Award Nominee for Best All-Time-Fave (2010), Iowa High School Book Award (2008), ALA’s Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults (2006), Abraham Lincoln Award (2008)
Diane’s note: Romance lives on and takes the #1 slot for Top Teen Titles. This makes sense when you consider the factors that make a Top Teen list as opposed to a children’s book list. Look at the complete list to see the themes of growing up, realistic fiction, drama, and fantasy as a higher level.
Twilight continues to woo new readers every year. Romance became popular again when Twilight was released. Would you believe the http://thetwilightsaga.com/ page has 503,149 members? I can recall trying to find romance as a teen and giving up. I read Harlequin Romances, Silhouettes, and more from seventh grade on. My grandmother received hers in the mail so I knew I could always borrow 20-30 a week to read and get me through study hall. I can recall blushing a few times and giggling out loud.
As an adult, there are many titles of paranormal romance available not suitable for early teens. I’ve just recently finished reading 23 books in one series by Christine Feehan and I am a big fan of Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan series. But when teens would ask me for romance books, I’d struggle to find something that didn’t focus on the sexuality as much as the romance. Twilight was an answer to prayers for romance reader’s guidance. Since Twilight, publishers embraced romance again with a twist for teens like the Harlequin Teen series.
When Twilight was released, I read and enjoyed Bella’s story because Bella was not a perfect heroine. She may even be clumsier than I am (those of you who suffered playing volleyball, basketball, and softball with me at Willow High School may disagree), but Bella has a maturity that I admired.
Twilight has been criticized by some people who feel Bella is helpless and passive, needing someone to save her. “Perhaps it was because I was a novelty here, where novelties were few and far between. Possibly my crushing clumsiness was seen as endearing rather than pathetic, casting me as a damsel in distress.”
Since I was able to put Twilight on my lovely Kindle for only $0.99 one day, I have enjoyed searching for words like damsel (occurs once), helpless (four times), and saved (8 times). I knew eventually I’d get to the phrase I remembered.
While in the hospital Bella is telling Edward that a man and woman have to be somewhat equal in a relationship without one of them always “swooping in and saving the other one. They have to save each other equally.” Bella insists she doesn’t want to always be Lois Lane, but wants to be Superman, too.
So for those of you who claim Bella is too passive, just wait because she has her own superpowers still to be released. Much like our teenagers have so much more to reveal in the future.
The detractors from Twilight just don’t get that this is an unusual vampire story and a romance without too much smut or mushiness. Boys and girls have enjoyed reading Twilight. My male middle school students wrote as many positive reviews as the girls did.
The Wrap-up Two years ago I surveyed teachers, librarians, students, and many others asking them to submit their top 3 choices of titles that should be in a teen collection. Little did I know that after I compiled the list and began writing about them, that I would have to go back and re-read all 100 of the top teen titles (plus many of their sequels) and some of them more than one time. It was exhausting, exhilarating, and exasperating to try to write just a little bit about each title, and to hopefully convince others of the merit of these titles.
Did I like every book? No, thank you very much, but then a perfect collection will have something for everyone to like and to dislike. If the survey was taken now, I wonder how drastically it would change. Would the Twilight and Harry Potter series still rank as high? Would Hunger Games score higher now that the movie has been released? How about the new titles that have been released in the past two years? I’m thinking of the YALSA Notable lists, the CYBILS, the Printz award winners, and new series that have captured the attention of our teens. While some of the titles are bound to change rankings, it has been fascinating the chart the interest in the Top Teen Titles.
The Complete List: