Sunday, January 23, 2011

What Do You Think: The Stephenie Meyer Effect Revisited

We had a fabulous conversation last year about the noticable reaction in writerly circles when Stephenie Meyer / the Twilight Saga are mentioned.  It was one of my top posts and great fun to hear from so many people.

There were some interesting issues raised about the content of the Twilight books - particularly in reference to power-plays within romantic relationships.  It all got me thinking: 

I'm planning another blog post on the influences and ethics of YA books. 

I want to make sure all sides of the debate are heard.

- If you are interested in weighing in as a counterpoint voice on the influences of YA fiction:

Please read the previous post then email me with a summary (300-400 words) off your perspective as you'd like to expand upon it in a post (just avoid swearing if possible).

- If there is an issue in your mind that was raised by the Twilight books, or another current bestseller:

Please comment or email me and I'll try to make sure it's addressed.

- Or just comment on this post with questions you'd like to see raised and discussed. 

The questions could touch on any issue within the realm of YA fiction, ethics, publishing and / or author responsibilities.

I'm listening!



  1. This is going to be interesting! I've read all the Twilight book and loved them. I couldn't get into her other book for some reason.

  2. I had a discussion recently about censorship, and Judy Blume's book "Forever" came up. I know this is an old example, but what really bothered me is that Blume wrote all the fun and popular middle grade books like "Superfudge," then came out with "Forever," so parents saw their tween kids coming home with a book by Judy Blume and assumed it would be age-appropriate, which it is not. It deals with teen sex quite graphically, with not much in the way of consequences. In a way, I felt betrayed by the author.

    In the same way, Stephenie Meyer writes a love story that hits home to tween and teenage girls, and parents are so glad their children are reading and excited about a book, but have no idea what kind of messages are being imparted. "Lie to your parents, be obsessed by your boyfriend to the point your life is taken over by him, make no-going-back life-altering decisions without any input from family, all within your senior year of high school, and keep this all a secret."

    As writers, I do believe we have a responsibility to our young audience, not to preach, but to portray real-life consequences to decisions and to be aware of what kind of role models we're setting up.

  3. I think there is a fine line here. On the one hand you want to make teens aware of the possible consequences of the decisions they are starting to come up against, but on the other hand, teens want to feel empowered to make just those kinds of decisions themselves, without necessarily going to their family for input. If Bella had been level-headed about it and talked to her family, firstly there would probably have been no story as her Dad is no fan of Edward, but secondly the teen readers would have said, well, this is no fun, it's just like real life...