I wouldn’t describe my feelings for the Twilight saga as “love” or even “like,” but more along the lines of “obsessed.” When I read the four books in the Twilight series, along with millions of teenage girls, I was engrossed in a world where one could go to school with vampires and be best friends with a werewolf.
However, another feeling rivaled my fanatic obsession while reading the Twilight saga; extreme aggravation.
One of the reasons why I was interested in reading the Twilight series is that I love books with a strong female lead character. My hopes for Bella Swan as the strong main character started to crumble when I delved a little deeper into the folds of the Twilight world.
Bella has a lot of potential, with her passion, wit, and stubbornness. At times the reader is tricked into thinking Bella is the strong female lead we wish we had more of because we can see her obstinate thoughts and read her bold inner monologue.
But all of that is undermined by the fact that she is constantly seen as the damsel in distress. Stephenie Meyer, the author, chose to put Bella in situations where she was completely dependent on the supernaturally strong men in her life.
It isn’t until the of the last book, Breaking Dawn, that Bella actually has an opportunity to showcase her abilities, but even then, Bella undermines her own impact. Edward, her vampire lover, tells Bella her talents saved the family, but we never see Bella own that fact herself.
Millions of young (and not so young) readers have read the Twilight series and are going to flock to the second movie, New Moon, in theaters November 2009. I know there are stories out there that are just as interesting as Twilight AND show girl characters as powerful actors in their own worlds.
So, where are the compelling stories with strong girls leading the charge? One of my favorite young adult novels with a fantastic main character is Ella Enchanted. Ella is smart, funny, and determined on saving herself in this fairytale with a twist.
What other books out there should girls be reading? Add your ideas to the comments section. Don’t forget to recommend books with action-oriented girl main characters to ALL young readers. It is just as important for boys to see examples of strong females as it is for girls.