Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Twilight Effect - Marilee's Rant

Oh I love a good rant - especially when I agree. Today I'm handing the post over to an author's champion and a friend of mine, Marilee Brothers . Marilee, who has written the acclaimed Unbidden Magic Series, is not a stranger, I interviewed her here when her romance Castle Ladyslipper came out. 
You probably know by now, YA is not normally my reading genre but Eclectic is my middle name and I made an exception with Moonstone, the first in the series and which rightly has been described as "Cross Twilight with a Stephanie Plum book and you get Moonstone." If you like YA literature - this is definitely for you.

However, now she's well into the series, Marilee believes that the Twilight series has had a detrimental effect on YA writing in general. Take a look at what she has to say and I'd love to hear what you think...

At the beginning of the Unbidden Magic Series, Allie Emerson is fifteen. In book five, Midnight Moon, Allie is seventeen. In the first book, Moonstone, she acquires her first sort of boyfriend, Junior Martinez. Nothing heavy. A few chaste kisses. In the second book, Moon Rise, Junior is among the missing. Allie is still fifteen and suffering from paralyzing guilt because she had to kill a bad guy in the first book. Her healer is a hot, half-demon teenager named Beck Bradford. Beck definitely wants more than a few chaste kisses. Allie does not. However they transition into a couple. In book three, Moon Spun, sixteen-year-old Allie is disgusted with the entire male gender, more specifically, Junior and Beck. Enter Ryker Matheson, bad boy biker/ faery prince. Let me make this perfectly clear. Allie does not consider Ryker to be boyfriend material even though he insists she is to become his bride in Boundless, aka faeryland. She is put into a position where she has to trust Ryker, but feels nothing for him but friendship.

Allow me to share some of the comments made by reviewers regarding Allie’s alliances. Bear in mind, we are talking about a teenage girl.

“My first thought on this novel is that Allie must have pheromones that smell like Godiva chocolate to boys. Brothers could be a billionaire if she bottled it up and sold it as perfume.”

“I didn't like that Allie was with a different guy in this book.”

“Another boyfriend? Oh, please! Is Allie turning into a skank?”

Okay, call me crazy, but I blame it on Bella and Edward. It’s the Twilight Effect. From the moment Bella first caught sight of Edward’s marble brow, it was true love. Forever love. Vampire-wedding-in-the-rain-forest-love. Consequently, we now have a bajillion readers of young adult fantasy who think teenage girl protagonists are supposed to fall in forever love with the first boy they meet and never look back.

My turn to say, “Oh, please!” Have teenage girls changed that much since I was fifteen? I don’t think so. I tried to portray Allie as a typical teenage girl with typical teenage angst. After spending many years as a high school teacher and counselor, it’s been my observation that most teenage girls change boyfriends regularly. There’s always the exception, of course, but if we’re going to keep it real, most girls aren’t labeled “skanks” if they don’t pick one guy and stay with him until Gabriel blows his horn. So, let’s give Allie a break and let her grow up before she picks a mate for life.

A former teacher, coach and school counselor, Marilee lives in Washington State
and writes full time.
Her books include Castle Ladyslipper, a medieval romance, The Rock and Roll Queen of Bedlam,
winner of the 2010 Booksellers Best award for romantic suspense, Moonstone, Moon Rise,
Moon Spun and Shadow Moon, the first four books in the young adult paranormal Unbidden
Magic series. Marilee is a member of the Romance Writers of America, Pacific Northwest
Writers Association and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
Visit her website at http://www.marileebrothers, her blog at
http://bookblatherblog.blogspot.com and
follow her on Twitter @marileeb
and Facebook, www.facebook.com/marilee.author.