I know I’m not the only one out there with secret literary vices; after all, I’ve browsed the “free” section of the Kindle bestsellers. But I can honestly say that I’ve never been tempted to download Compromising Positions or White Tigress. My vices generally lie in the Kindle paid section, or the Teen Reading Room of the local library. Whoops, did I say that? Shh… Don’t tell the grown-ups.
Ok, I’m coming clean. I’m totally hooked on Teen-Lit. The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, right?
Hello. My name is Pretty Girls Make Gravy, and I’m a Teen-Lit addict. I’ve been using for about 8 months. It started when I visited the local library on a work errand and passed by a room full of junior high kids who were hanging out in the Teen room. Some were on the computers, some chatting (quietly), but a few others were completely blissed out in comfy chairs.
“I want what they’re on” I thought to myself. One library card and a few pounds of Harry Potter later, I was hooked.
I’ve always been an avid reader. I can remember begging my mom to buy me the next Sweet Valley Twins or Baby-Sitters Club book as a kid. My middle and junior high school extracurricular activities consisted of dance class and an awesome book club called Kid-Lit. (Shout out to Mrs. Lemerande!) And once I was a little older and could afford to finance my own habit, I spent my hard-earned money on Kurt Vonnegut books and the Interview with a Vampire Series. I never minded having to read for school, in fact I was pretty stoked on my high school English classes. College was another world, obviously. While I relished every second of Vampirism in Literature; not so much with Concepts of Biology.
But college didn’t leave much time for leisure reading, and it was during my college years that the Harry Potter series was started, so I understandably missed out. But how is it possible that I never saw a movie? I didn’t even know what the series was about, let alone know the characters or secret terminology. Now that I’ve finished the whole series, it’s like I’ve become a member of an alternate society. There are Harry Potter references everywhere, it turns out. That “Republicans for Voldemort” sticker on my neighbor’s car? I couldn’t figure that out for a year, and now? It makes me giggle. I just loaded up my Netflix queue with the movies. We’ll see how they stack up to the books.
Ok, so the addiction didn’t stop there. I turned to the hard stuff. The Twilight series. Meh. It has the page turning addictive qualities of the Harry Potter series, but doesn’t offer high quality escapism. The story could have been really great if Bella and Edward weren’t so… boring.
With The Hunger Games series, on the other hand, I’m back to full-fledged using. I powered through the first two books, The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. And I can’t put down Mockingjay. At lunch on my Kindle, while I’m riding in the passenger seat, or experiencing a particularly long wait for my iced coffee (thank you Kindle for Android). While I’m pretty sure the target age bracket for The Hunger Games series is the same as with Twilight, I think the target intelligence bracket is much higher.
The Hunger Games is a smart series. With its science-fiction futurism, and a little love story thrown in for good measure, it grabbed me in the same way as 1984 or Brave New World. And unlike helpless Bella; Katniss is a bad-ass. My only criticism so far is Suzanne Collins’ questionable choice in naming the baker’s son Peeta. Really? C’mon Suzanne. But despite my groan at that choice, I still can’t seem to stop reading, so she’s forgiven. Word around town is that there is a Hunger Games movie in the works. I’m excited about this, so long as Katniss isn’t ruined by casting Kristen Stewart or Dakota Fanning or some such nonsense.
Stay tuned for my continued decline into Teen-Lit serial novels. I think next on my list is the Percy Jackson series. But I’m open to suggestions.
By the way, I don’t feel particularly bad about this Teen-Lit addiction, really. I mean, come on. I could smoke, but I don’t. I could drink, but I don’t. Well, save for the once-in-a-great-while margarita with Mexican food. Coffee? Ok, you’ve got me there. But I NEED it to stay up late and read the Teen-Lit, man!