Erinn Batykefer, MLIS

An online professional portfolio

What to read after…the Twilight Saga

Click here to visit Erinn's post-Twilight readers' advisory pinboard

Finding read-alikes for Twilight is something of a hard case.  It was a phenomenon– everyone read it, including people who don’t normally read “paranormal romance,” teen lit, or anything having to do with vampires. Recommending titles for people who read Twilight and enjoyed it is a challenge, simply because people liked the books for very different reasons.

I myself read and enjoyed the Twilight Saga in a feverish 4 day bender in 2008 right after Breaking Dawn came out and just before the first movie release.  It’s not great literature; in fact, now that I have some distance from from that first heady reading experience, I don’t really like the stories as much, and I’m skeptical of the abusive and manipulative relationship dynamics among the main characters.

But I have to admit that there is a very compelling tension in the books–clean as they are– that kept me reading.  Those stories tapped into a witless, love-crazed, and hormonal 17-year-old version of me that I recalled with aching clarity.  Part of the appeal was re-living that high-pitched emotional state, when the world is very serious, and your nerves are a live wire.  Every touch, every glance, every everything is intense.

There are many avenues into Twilight and many readers.  Here are a few that I’ve noticed when patrons and friends ask for readers’ advisory:

  • Vampires.  Some people just love to read about vampires in all of their many narrative iterations– even chaste “vegetarian” vampires like the Cullens.
  • Intense relationships.  Even ill-advised intense relationships, not necessarily with a supernatural being, and not necessarily clean.
  • Clean romance.  It’s true; the Twilight Saga books are squeaky-clean, even if they carry the emotional and sexual tension of years of delicate, Victorian foreplay.
  • Not just clean, but religious / “moral” romance.  There are a lot of ways to read Twilight, but a definite Christian morality comes through the arc of the romance between Bella and Edward.

Generally, I’ve found that readers like and value one aspect of Twilight over others and characterize the book that way.  A bit of a reference interview will help you figure out which way your advisee read the book and thus which titles might be good read-alikes.

Me, I was definitely in the Intense Relationships camp. But there are lots of books out there that will fit the bill for any of the characteristics above.  That’s why I pulled together a Twilight Reader’s Advisory pinboard with lots of suggestions & title summaries to get you started.   I’m always adding new titles, so  if you’ve got a great suggestion to add, feel free to leave a comment!

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This entry was posted on April 27, 2012 by in Reader's Advisory and tagged , , .
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