My Thoughts on Twilight and The Graveyard Book

Poll Question: Should Christian teens read books about characters of spritually questionable origin?

  • Maybe. Mature kids can discern the truth without being spiritually compromised. Other kids aren’t ready. (4 votes)
  • Yes. Reading about a vampire doesn’t do any harm. It’s just fantasy! (2 votes)
  • No way. The origin of vampires isn’t “questionable.” It’s evil. Don’t even go there. (2 votes)

My Vote
I’ll be honest– this is a tricky one for me. When I began this blog and posted my first poll, a friend left several comments on my facebook account about teen fiction and what it should and should not contain and she said two very key words: age-appropriate. (maybe that’s technically one word, hyphenated…)

I think there’s something to that. Absolutely. In the case of Neil Gaiman’s book, we’re talking about a story set in a graveyard with a small child as a character. (I’m … Continue reading

Review: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book by Neil GaimanThe Graveyard Book
Neil Gaiman
HarperCollins
Published September 30, 2008

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They say it takes a town to raise a child. Or in this case, a graveyard.

After his family are murdered by a stranger named Jack, a toddler escapes to a graveyard where he is adopted by a pair of ghosts who name him Nobody. A vampire speaks up as Bod’s guardian, eventually sharing this responsibility with a werewolf.  Bod befriends other ghost children and even a witch buried on unconsecrated ground near the graveyard. But the mysterious man who murdered his family still seeks him and intends to finish the task he set out … Continue reading

Review: Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

Breaking Dawn by Stephanie MeyerBreaking Dawn
Stephanie Meyer
Little, Brown & Company
Published August 7, 2007

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At last– the moment Twilight fans have dreamed of: Edward and Bella marry and retreat to a private island for a honeymoon. When it becomes obvious that Bella is pregnant– and with an extraordinary child– the couple returns home to care for Bella and possibly even protect her from the child in her womb. But the only way to save Bella may be to transform her.

When the dreaded Volturi close in on the Cullen Family, presumably to kill the child, Bella commits to do whatever it takes to protect the child she saw in her dreams. As the battle … Continue reading

Review: Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

Eclipse
Stephanie Meyer
Little, Brown & Company
Published August 7, 2007

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Once again Bella Swan’s life is in danger, seemingly because of her association with the Cullen family. Strange events unfold in nearby Seattle– a mass of unsolved murders. Could there be “newborn” vampires on the loose?

As rumor of the “newborn” vampires spreads, a new rumor reaches the Cullen clan. The powerful Volturi, to whom Bella has promised to shed her mortality and become a vampire, appear to be planning a visit to the town of Forks. As Bella seeks to get her promise met, she discovers she must make a difficult choice. If she becomes a vampire, she loses Jacob, her best friend. … Continue reading

Review: New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

New Moon
Stephanie Meyer
Little, Brown & Company
Published September 6, 2006

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The sequel to Twilight, New Moon picks up a few months after its predecessor. It’s Bella’s birthday, and despite her wishes that there be no fuss, the Cullen family make quite an occasion of it. But the party spawns a sequence of events that shatters Bella’s world. She finds herself alone, feeling as if a gaping hole exists through the center of her very being. As she struggles to cope, and to carve out some semblance of life around the edges of her wound, she at last finds a friend. But when battle lines are drawn again, she finds herself torn between mortal enemies, … Continue reading

Review: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Twilight by Stephenie MeyerTwilight
Stephanie Meyer
Little, Brown & Company
Published October 5, 2005

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When Bella reluctantly moves to the dark and dreary city of Forks, Washington to live with her father, she is not expecting much out of life. A few precious days of sunshine at most. But fate brings something to her that’s far more dear and far more deadly. At first Edward Cullen seems repulsed by her presence– and for no reason at all. Gradually he softens toward her, but still remains aloof though alluring. But once Bella learns his secret, and the war it causes inside him, she begins to understand. He is a vampire, and she has already fallen in love with him.

I liked the experience of … Continue reading

Vampires, Ghosts, Witches, and Teen Fiction

twilight_sagaby_reggie_bIf you are a parent of a teen and have escaped the Twilight craze and the Harry Potter boom, you are probably in the minority. This week, and for many weeks past, vampires dominate the young adult bestseller lists, as Harry Potter did before them. Also not long ago, the Newberry Award was given to Neil Gaiman for his middle grade novel The Graveyard Book, a story about a young boy on the run from a killer, raised by ghosts and other beings in a graveyard. Is this bad news for Believers?

Some say no. After all, we read the Narnia chronicles, which have many connections to Greek mythology. Tolkein’s Gandalf is a wizard. Is that so different from Rowling’s characters?

To others, Rowling and Lewis aren’t even in … Continue reading

Go Ask Alice (Anonymous)

Go Ask Alice
Anonymous
Simon Pulse
First published in 1971

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Go Ask Alice is a haunting story of a young girl’s descent into drug addiction and her desperate attempt to break free again. Her journal entries detail the highs and lows she experiences as she falls deeper under the spell her addiction to LSD. Through Alice’s eyes the reader sees her family’s desperate struggle to reach her, and the seductive power of the chemicals that pull her away from them.

First printed in 1971, Go Ask Alice still remains one of the most popular works about teen drug addiction.

It’s definitely a dated tale, but I think one of the reasons it survives is how haunting the story … Continue reading

Review: Crank by Ellen Hopkins

Crank
Ellen Hopkins
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Published October 1, 2004

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Crank is the story of Kristina Snow and the summer that changes her life, when she goes to visit her father and meets the “monster”, Crystal Meth. Based on the experiences of her own daughter, Ellen Hopkins captures the turmoil and grip of addiction in a raw, authentic manner.

The entire story is told in verse. The poems capture the scenes of the story in vivid detail. They flow from scene to scene very smoothly, capturing the raw emotion of the heroine– her desperation, heartache– and the downward spiral of her addiction to Meth. A powerful read.

Continue reading

Review: You Know Where to Find Me by Rachel Cohn

You Know Where to Find Me
Rachel Cohn
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Published March 4, 2008

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Two cousins share a world of made up stories, dreams and long summer days until one, the perfect, beautiful one, chooses the unthinkable: to end her life. In the wake of that loss, the one left behind, Miles, must find her own way through her first summer without Laura. Friends and family rally around her to try to draw her out of her deepening isolation and depression, but their efforts often fall short and they are unable to touch the gaping wound inside of her. Miles’s story is a powerful, emotive tale of a girl walking … Continue reading

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