Sparkle for Twilight: Blog Update!
I have this dirty secret, and it involves me and Harry Potter
--and it's not what you think. People are always shocked when they find out I've never read Harry Potter
. I have access to the collection of books in my house, and I've seen all the movies (which I think are great), but the books themselves never felt compulsory. After years of the occasional request that I read the books, I finally got around to cracking one open. And here's where my secret lies: I didn't see the big deal.
, I never really read books. The only books I could recall
buying in the three years prior were all cookbooks, aside from mandatory college texts. I only read recreationally here and there, only by friend recommendations (heck, that's how Twilight
fell into my life), and I was never one to seek books to read. There were always better things to do, like read magazines for one. I realize that sounds very superficial and illiterate of me, but I like to think that between my own wild imaginations and fanciful daydreams, I didn't need books to get lost in.
, I rekindled my relationship with the library card my parents acquired for me when I was five years old. The library has been my boyfriend since, and we're going almost one year strong. (And don't libraries make the best boyfriends?)
Like many of you, after Twilight
, I was like an addict looking for my next fix. So this is what it feels like to fall in love with a book
, I thought. I'd never read a book before and had it stay with me for days. Sure, A Walk to Remember
and The Notebook
lingered a little, but never in the lie-awake-at-night-rerunning-the-words-through-my-mind kind of linger.
I did my research to find my next young-adult romantic fiction. This proved to be quite difficult because I didn't just want to necessarily read another vampire novel. It wasn't about the vampires. Or the werewolves. I wanted to read another story that had living, breathing characters that could be as real to me as the people I interact with every day. Characters that you felt emotions for--pain, sorrow, love, regret, happiness, compassion, empathy. I wanted to read another love story--compelling, dramatic, live-or-die, epic.
What girl doesn't want to fall in love right along with the protagonists? Or know what it's like to love, whether it's for the first time or whether it's to relive that moment again?
The very first book I read after Twilight
(and mind you, I only discovered Twilight
about nine months ago), was If I Stay
. I'd read this was Catherine Hardwicke's next project, so of course I was interested. It paled in comparison to the caliber of emotion that Twilight
brought. Or maybe it's because I didn't relate as much to the musical theme.
Then there was The Forest of Hands and Teeth
. It had been freshly released that month and I read reviews that promised a heroine among dark circumstances, with a setup for romance. For me, it fell short. Later, I read that reviews for the movie adaptation plan to "do for zombies what Twilight
did for vampires" and I'm skeptical.
Another was Wings
and it didn't do it for me, either. If I were still twelve years old, it definitely would have, but I'm not anymore and I needed more substance. Despite Stephenie's line of approval printed right on its debut cover, a lot didn't feel real
to me. While I give the author credit for coming up with a clever little segway to the first kiss, I thought Laurel (the main character) was a little flat.
Almost two dozen, thoughtfully-selected and intimately-read books later, all that I could conclude was that The Hunger Games
was a fantastic piece of literature. And this is where my Harry Potter
confession comes in again. While I recognize the undeniable talent of authors like Suzanne Collins and J.K. Rowling (and I fully appreciate the gratuitous, decadent, and mouth-watering descriptions of food and drink they both write in), their stories didn't leave me dying
to find out more. There I said it.
I really wanted to be fervently crossing the days until Catching Fire
, but there on my nightstand, the copy that I had to be waitlisted for at the library for two and a half months, still sits unopened for the last two weeks. For Harry Potter
, I read half of the first book and put it down to do something else, and never picked it back up again. I'd rather tell people that I still haven't read them at all, then admit to the fact I tried but I wasn't hooked.
It's like this: all of these books were really pretty pairs of shoes, but I am on a mission to find the perfect (and preferably sparkly) one that matches my outfit. In another mood, these books were good, but for now, they weren't enough to satisfy what I was looking for. Anyway, I could go on about my other misses, but that would take even longer than it is now to get to my point.
After fruitless encounters with faeries, ghosts, and zombies, I decided to give up on the fantastical romance column of young-adult fiction and leave it all to Stephenie Meyer. I wasn't going to read another book with a review that began with, "If you loved Twilight
..." or "Twilight
fans will love..." Are we so predictable? So obvious? No, we're not and I didn't appreciate the generalization.
So I crossed off Shiver
from my reading list. I read the summary and didn't think I was going to be missing much:
For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--her wolf--is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again. Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.
I didn't need another story most likely to be lukewarm, of a yellow-eyed wolf developing a melodramatic relationship with a girl.
Months went by that I gave up my quest, until the day I went in to my library to check out A Great and Terrible Beauty
only to find out it had been checked out. I browsed the shelves for another book to grab, when there was Shiver
displayed atop the new arrivals table. The cover was what caught my eye really, the blue and white art, so why not?
It's extremely rare that I feel the need to buy a book, to own my own copy of a book so that I can refer back to it over and over again. It took me three weeks before I committed to my own set of The Twilight Saga
and now I have two. Half way through Shiver
, I knew I needed to own it.
I could just tell you that you need to go out right now to get Shiver
because I thought it was that good
, but even that's not enough. I read other Twilight
blogs that recommend books all the time, but I'm not exactly running out the door. First of all, books are totally personal. What I like might not be what the next person likes. So I'm going to tell you everything about why
if you're still looking for a book that will make you love and love a character, this is the book you've been waiting for.
Warning: There are spoiler details ahead about the book, but I don't talk about the ending. You can stop here and just go with my "you need to read this book" suggestion above if you don't want to know more than the fact that it's a very worthwhile story (I promise). If you're not convinced though, keep reading and perhaps I'll have convinced you by the end.
I'm just going to go ahead and get the list of superficial Twilight
similarities out of the way:
-Edward has yellow eyes as a vampire. Sam has yellow eyes, but he was born with. -Edward doesn't want to be a monster. Sam doesn't want to be a monster.
-Edward plays the piano and composes Bella lullabies. Sam plays the guitar and writes Grace poetic songs.
-Edward spends many nights in Bella's bed unbeknownst to Charlie. Sam spends many nights in Grace's bed unbeknownst to her parents.
-Edward is chivalrous, and he has to use self-control around Bella. Sam is chivalrous, and he has to use self-control around Grace.
-Bella's independent in the parental sense. Grace is independent in the parental sense.
-Bella acquires an old Chevy pickup that Edward drives around in just as often. Grace acquires an old Bronco that Sam drives around in just as often.
-Bella wishes she could be a vampire to be with Edward. Grace wishes she could be a wolf to be with Sam.
-Scents and body temperatures are as integrally thematic in Twilight as they are in Shiver
-Oh, and there are werewolves. One's even named Paul.
When it comes down to it, Shiver
is its own story and it's not powerful because it's like Twilight
. It's powerful because it just is. So onto the more important things.
One of things that I loved about the book, that I think made
it, was that the story alternates from Grace's perspective and Sam's perspective. You get to know both characters intimately, even more than Sam and Grace get to know each other. Imagine if Midnight Sun
were hashed with Twilight
Sam is such a soulful character and there are times when you will shed a tear for him after learning about what he's been through. His parents tried to kill him when he was a child and he's never been really loved. When he meets Grace, that changes but you can feel that he's still unsure about being worth of such a gift.
Their relationship develops solidly, and I saw how and why they could develop such an intense and undeniable connection. That was a huge factor for me because so often the relationship between the main characters feels feigned or forced, or just too sudden, but with Sam and Grace, I thought it was believable. It was established. I felt Grace's feverish and desperate need for Sam. I felt Sam's protective and anxious longing for Grace.
There's no more that I could tell you about how these characters become flesh and blood before you. There's action, there's romance, there's even room for a few little laughs. I savored the book word by word because I didn't want it to end. Would you, with lines like these?
"...and kissed me and kissed me, so careful, like my lips were a flower and if he touched them too roughly, they might bruise." "...his yellow eyes gazed at me possessively--I wondered if he realized that the way he looked at me was far more intimate than copping a feel could ever be."
"I wondered if she knew how transparent her scent made her, how it told me what she was feeling when she didn't say it out loud...She had to know that she was driving me crazy right now, that every touch of her skin on mine tingled, electric."
There are moments in the story when you'll cry, when you'll giggle, when you'll hold your breath, when you'll smile at such an innocent and bare display of emotion. And if that isn't enough, there's an incredibly sweet scene involving a candy shop.
I hope you all pick up the book, read it and love it just as much as I did, because I'd love to hear what you think. I have quite a few days until the sequel, Linger
comes out and this is one that I'm really
marking my calendar for--I'm happy I've found my sparkly shoes