Friday, April 23, 2010

A rare soapbox post: YA Paranormal Romance. What is going on?

Yesterday I saw a link on Twitter that directed me to a post about YA and Rape Culture by bookshop, a very well thought out post on the dangers of YA paranormal romance and the trend toward stalker, moody, and/or dangerous heroes and the gullible female protagonists.  Specially it points to Hush, Hush, a book about a fallen angel with an obsession with the "heroine."  I recommend reading that post.  It also points towards these two articles and a follow-up on the same topic.  All very thought-provoking. 

I recently read Hush, Hush and so I went back to my review.  I knew that I had liked it, but I couldn't remember what I said about Patch.  This is what I said "I've noticed that some people seem to love Patch, but I didn't.  I was a little sorry that he is going to stick around in fact, though his new role might make him better.  He annoyed me and Nora had no reason to like him."  I remember actually being disappointed that he didn't die at the end.  How often does that ever happen?  I remember telling my husband that Nora was crazy because this dude wanted to kill her and she still ended up with him.  So why didn't I write that in my review?  After reading all the posts yesterday, I wondered what I was doing, not saying anything about these thoughts.  I'm not sure.  Honestly, it is one of those things which is no excuse but it's the truth.  When I write a review, I only write about what is standing out most in my mind.  And it was an easy book to read, a very fast book, mostly well-written, fans of paranormal romance would like it.  But this has been bothering me all night long and it was the first thing I thought of this morning.

And then I began to worry because one of articles said this "And I may be offending some of you PR readers/writers but I can't think of a single--not a single-- paranormal romance I've read in the last year or so that doesn't exemplify bad romance. I can't think of one that was actually--good."

That bothered me too.  I went back and looked.  It turns out that I really don't read much YA Paranormal romance.  Usually the romance is incidental rather than the point of the book in the books that I read.  Hush, Hush is actually an abnormality for me.  I was surprised to find this out.  Anyway,  I have to disagree with the above statement.  Of the YA paranormal that I have read a few stand out as being really good with the right message.

1.Beautiful Creatures - maybe because it is told from the guy's POV, but Ethan is neither creepy nor a stalker so nice.
2.Shiver - alternate POVs, the girl's obsession may be creepier since she falls in love with a wolf
3. Graceling - Katsa can kill a man with her pinky so there is no danger to her really.
4. 13 to Life - recent read as an ARC, Pietr was cool and honest and the love/hate thing was purely one sided.  Jessica didn't have a reason not to like him.

Those are just the ones I read.  I agree that Twilight and Hush, Hush are not sending the right message and they are perpetuating the rape culture.  But I can't agree that there are no good paranormal YAs.  A lot of authors seem to be going out of their way to write books that the opposite of Twilight.  And I applaud them all.


  1. I think the problem is that the "rape culture" seems to be a growing trend. Of course there will be exceptions, as with everything else.

    I'm also disturbed by the... I'm not sure what you'd call it. "Kiddie rape culture"? Whatever you call it when the guy is old (or ageless) and the girl is a teenager. In real life, these guys would be in jail for statutory rape. And even their good looks wouldn't save them.

  2. You have to think, though - why are teens lapping this up? The authors are tapping into something. I can't imagine people are falling over these books without enjoying the dangerous sort of romance in them. To me, that speaks to something outside books. What bred the rate-culture thoughts in the first place? Why is the dark and dangerous older (or ageless) guy appealing at all?

  3. Thank you for this link- it's very eye-opening. I absolutely agree with it. The points about how Pride & Prejudice and other novels have been interpreted by society as something different than the author intended really struck home. Watching the 2005 film version, I was mildly repulsed by the idea that Lizzy has a crush on Darcy since the beginning.

    Graceling is straight fantasy, not "paranormal romance", but I agree that Katsa is a fabulous character, especially in terms of her control over her romantic and sexual life and the fact that she doesn't compromise.

    Amanda- I think the reason the kids are lapping it up is because they don't know any better and, in school, these situations are turned up several notches. As the original post says, girls who stand up and take control of their romantic/sexual lives are judged as "bitches", so they don't see anything wrong with a fictional girl trying to avoid that fate. It's a product of being socialized in a culture like this.

  4. I think even more disturbing to me is the lack of parental involvement in their kids lives.

    I liked Beautiful Creatures a lot. Another paranormal romance I liked was The Dark Divine by Bree Despain. It had a really nice family aspect to it that I liked.

    But, overall, I just can't get into the paranormal romance. Maybe because most of the ones I read focus way too much on the romance.

    Good post though, and it gives you a lot to think about.

  5. To be honest... this is just ridiculous. But that's probably because I don't care about the meanings behind books (and I have yet to read this one). But things like this make me... have very strong and negative emotions ;).

    It's not like the author is teaching you this is okay. She's telling a story about the life of someone else, who's not even real by the way. Or if she is, it's put out there as fiction. Have you read Dreamland by Sarah Dessen? It's the same sort of thing. It's abuse in a relationship and the fact that the girl just takes it and takes it. Obviously no one grows up saying "that's what I want... an abusive boyfriend that I can love and never be loved back" so I fail to see the point in taking the meaning too seriously.

    And what the lj author of the review fails to do is give the main female character her free will and morals. She made it sound like she had non. Everyone can always say yes or no and no one can say anything different. The fact that she changed her mind doesn't mean that she has no choice in the matter. Because she did. She made the choice to change her mind.

    I'm not discounting rape, molestation, or sexual assault and the impending threat it has on everyone, but come on. It's fiction. And if there is a weak minded individual that takes the "message" of this book to heart and finds a guy that will be dark/brooding/dangerous and well, bad for their health and life, then the father figure in their life has not done a good enough job teaching them the way to be.

    *breath in*.. *breath out*

    Thanks for the post though Andrea!! :D (and I really do mean it!!) Nothing fires me up like book meanings & feminism.. add them together and I see red (looks a lot like blood... lol) :D.

  6. I'm not really sure what my thoughts are on the whole thing. I haven't read much paranormal romance, but from what I have read, I haven't seen many 'good' relationships portrayed.

    This was a good, thought provoking post. I kind of want to keep my eyes peeled for the portrayal of relationships in YA fiction in general now.

  7. I cannot access the the discussion you mention but I will. This actually interest me and I am glad you posted your concerns. I will definitely check it out and be more aware, if the discussion has merit. Thanks.

  8. @La Coccinelle - To say that there are no good paranormal romances is a bit too generalized for my taste. It actually does squick me out a little the whole eternal guy/teenage girl thing. But then it never bothered me when I watched Buffy. But honestly in 100+ years the best you can do is a teenage girl? Really?

    @Amanda - Honestly too, I think about the Twimoms who are old enough better and are obviously teaching their daughters that this is ok. But the thing I wonder about them is not that they have a thing for a "teenaged" vampire, but that they are really longing for someone to just take care of things. As I am know that in their everyday life, being the mom can be the hardest part of the day. It is very rewarding, but I wonder if that is why they are so obsessed.
    As far as the "dangerous" part, I don't know.

  9. @Clare - Yeah, I realized that about Graceling after I included it.

    It's funny that I was just telling a co-worker that I was sorry I didn't say something back to someone who was rude. But the politeness has been bred too strong in me. I think a lot of this has to do with being a girl and Southern.

    @Emily - I will have to check out that book.
    I'm not huge into romance either. I did most of that when I was a teenager.

    @Amber - I think people are afriad that girls are internalizing the message of Twilight and the like. Yes, most people know it is fiction, but it still is not an empowering message.
    I will say this though, I honestly did not notice Edward's "behavior" until someone pointed it out to me. So maybe the fears that so many adults are having about the message of this books is over exaggerated. I don't know. But it is something to consider.

  10. @Emily - I think I might be more aware of these things as I read them, rather than when someone points it out to me. I don't look for these things when I read a book.

    @Jan - I hope that you find this discussion does have some merit. I think it is a very interesting topic.

  11. I don't think kids are lapping this up because they know better.

    I think it's closer to the reason that "rape fantasy" books were common in romance in the 1970s. Women were uncomfortable with their sexuality and told sexual longings were bad. Hence, only under a "rape fantasy" could they let those "bad" thoughts come out.

    YA is somewhat similar in that girls are told over and over that sex is bad and they shouldn't have it--at the same time they're sexualized by society and boys are told to get more of it.

    Very confusing. Plus, add to the fact that boys are the "scary other" with the unknown of sex behind it at this age, and girls are working out their own fears by turning this scary lover into someone harmless who learns to value them.

    *Because, let's face it, teenage boys ARE intense about their crushes--as are teenage girls.

    I'm not saying this is all a GOOD thing, mind you, but I do think it explains some of it.

  12. Argh. That should be "don't know better" in the first sentence. Sorry.

  13. Hi, hi!

    I just want to say that I'm the author of the 'Bad Romance' post in question and I wanted to thank you for writing such a thoughtful response! I got here completely inadvertently via twitter, and I hope you don't mind if I respond to Amanda, who was addressing the points I raised in my initial post:


    And what the lj author of the review fails to do is give the main female character her free will and morals. She made it sound like she had non. Everyone can always say yes or no and no one can say anything different. The fact that she changed her mind doesn't mean that she has no choice in the matter. Because she did. She made the choice to change her mind.

    I don't have to overlook her free will. The book does it for me. First by Patch, who ignored her requests to leave him alone, then by her bio teacher, who ignored her requests to change seats, then by her friends, who ignored her attempts to point out the fact that this guy was stalking her, and then finally by Patch some more, as he continued to stalk her, attempt to kill her, and tell her that he can "do anything he wanted to her" and "no one will her her scream."

    The other point here is that the choice Nora makes is a DANGEROUS one. That could LITERALLY GET HER KILLED. You are literally saying that it's okay for books designed to be read by teenagers to market abusive, terrifying relationships as love stories, as long as the girl in the relationship chooses her abusive, terrifying relationship.

    The "come on, it's fiction" line is the first line that gets crossed out on the Bingo card. You obviously read the book, you obviously feel passionately about it, enough to react strongly to having the content of the book critiqued or threatened in some way. If you've internalized that much protectiveness over the book, then someone else will internalize the message of the book the same way. That's why it's important to talk about fiction. That's why you're taught to analyze literature in English class in high school -- so that you can pick apart these kinds of messages and learn to think for yourself.

    Also, I just want to say (again), implying that if a girl just had a strong protective father figure, it would protect her from the evil men trying to hurt her is *really* ironic considering there is no strong parental figure anywhere in this book. Nor is there in twilight. Nor are there in most YA books. So as a defense of the book, it doesn't really work.

    But more importantly, every time you imply that a girl is lost without a strong male father figure in her life, you insult all of the single moms and the non-traditional family structures, and the kids who grew up in them. People are real, and their experiences are real. You can't just shove them into a box based on how you see the world, and then tell them that they're thinking too much when they try to break out of that box. It doesn't work when you try to say "all girls should be feminine" and "all boys should be masculine." And it doesn't work in a book when you try to sell a story that basically says "Abuse is love. Rape is love. Subjugation is love." People, real people with real experiences that are different from yours, are going to resist that box and that message. And we're going to talk about why that box and that message harms us. Because that harm is real too, even if you don't want to see it.

    (For some context, I am pretty sure Amanda and I have already exchanged comments today, here: - so any follow-up she has for my comment can be made on my journal as well.)

    Thank you for this post, and thanks to all the commenters on it as well! <3

  14. @Corrina - I understand what you are saying, but there's a difference between scary lover and psychopathic killer. In my teen-aged fantasies, I don't remember ever hoping the boy would turn out to be a killer stalker guy.

    @bookshop - Thanks for commenting.
    I'd just like to point out that your comment was meant for Amber, not Amanda. But other than that, thanks for stopping by and reading my post.

  15. Andrea, thanks for pointing out who bookshop was talking to because I was really, really confused for a minute! :D

    Clare - What I was trying to say - and I haven't read any post about the subject except Andrea's - is that there's a reason kids lap this up. They aren't taught not to like this kind of romance and then just go gaga over it when they encounter it. Culture teaches them this is okay before they ever get to the books. I'm not saying that means we should keep writing books like this, I just think that blaming the books is not going to the root of the cause. The roots stem back much, much earlier in a person's life. They stem back to media and the way women and men are portrayed in advertisements, on TV, etc. Taking the books away don't help - by the time the kids are lapping them up, they've already internalized the argument.

    I could write a whole post about this, but I don't want to hijack Andrea's comments any more than I already have. :D

  16. @Amberwhat a dumb hoe you are this makes no sense cant you see ... its hurting people .. people have feelings its like you don't even care... why? do you have no heart?

  17. so what are you getting at?


    are you a feminist?


    i mean I am not trying to be disrespectful and all but you do realize these are books...

    what about entertainment?
    what about schools themselves?
    and these blogs?

    do these put an effect on someones thinking process?

    why lash out on literature?

    maybe its because they thought of it first and you got mad cause your still writing a book and it will sound like the rest of teen girls fantasy books? (young adults)

    I am just saying your dumb for thinking that its giving off a message that girls look for a guy 5 years older then them... its human nature for girls to do so... cause the guy has an increase of maturity then the ones of the girls age...

    its their fault they found the wrong guy and got "raped"

    don't blame it on the books...
    blame it on girls who don't have (well i am agreeing with Amber) father figures...


  18. if you noticed me caring less of what i said by the of the damn post i just gave up giving a shit of what i said to women who are feminist

    please take offence...OH PLEASE DO


    here ya go watch this

    this is what i think of Edward Cullen
    when he thinks of bella

  20. And once again, you fail to actually read what I'm typing. Or are missing what I'm saying and ATTACKING something else. I have a feeling you have blinders on because I say something positive about men and negative about your post. And I will continue to say that a strong father *figure* needs to be in the life of kids because it's essential in raising a well balanced individual. Exactly the same as a mother's position in kids life is essential. Both are important (fyi.. I'm talking about the "figures" not the actual gender or relation). Since you love your statistics, how about this, did you know that of the 18,000 felons in America, 37.1% come from single mother homes?

    That is a large group, so you better believe I'm going to bring attention to the fact that men are being brought down and beaten in the society and are unable to teach their kids the proper way to respond and behave to things. Women can be vicious and manipulative creatures, and often times they don't know they're doing it. There needs to be the **logic** and stability in a kids life. And a female who does it all, is not going to be able provide that. Not because she's a failure, but because it's an impossible goal. Plain and simple, women can't do it all, and neither can men. It takes a partnership (any partnership) to accomplish well rounded children. And I'm not backing down on that. I came from a twice broken home because of my mother. So I have just as much right to say that, yes, I personally would have preferred 2 parents completely, as you do to say anything. My intention is not to say that those single mothers are horrible beings and should be ashamed of themselves. I'm not saying that AT ALL. I know that stuff happens that is beyond your control. But you can't tell me that in your heart, you know that your kids (or yourself) would have grown up better and safer if there was someone there helping you out. The same happens when parents neglect their kids too. Parents are no longer parenting. And if someone takes insult to that, then they're missing the message too. No one wants to be held accountable anymore. I've already told you I would fly out personally to apologize to those that I legitimately hurt by saying something I have today. But I haven't singled anyone out like you've done to me, so I won't take the fact that I'm pointing out what they see as a "flaw" in themselves (and I see an unobtainable goal), and they don't want to see it as an insult. If I'm ever a single mother (also.. mother is being used loosely. I'm using it because I'm using MYSELF as an example, and I am female) I know my kids won't turn out as good as if they had a "father figure" in their life. **ugh..**

    I'm also not saying that because they have that father figure, they'll be protected for life against harm. No.. Not at all, so please stop putting words in my mouth. I'm saying that if you have that person in your life, you're going to recognize that there's no useful message to be taken from A BOOK, or they'll be able to tell you that you're being an idiot for wanting something like that. (I'm talking about how you correlate the "message" in the book to mean girls SEEK OUT that kind of person... not it finding them. Just so we're clear. HOPEFULLY you understand that)

  21. You also fail to realize that I'm not saying rape is okay. Or that stalking is okay. Or anything that makes you uncomfortable is OKAY. I'm saying that finding meanings behind ever single book is bogus. Just because you analyzed a different one for class in high school. You know what I learned from reading Of Mice and Men in high school? Shooting your dog is hard to do. Wanna know what else I learned? That women are manipulative and it could get them killed. How about another one? You may have to shoot your best friend in the back of the head someday. See what I mean? Thousands of interpretations can be taken from 1 book. I bet you saw something different when you read it. So unless that author had intentionally wanted to write a story about an abusive relationship (why I brought up the Sarah Dessen book), then focus on how you raise your kids to be outstanding members of society and stop telling me that women are repressed and are being taught so through books of all things. Because they aren't. At least not where I grew up; they have so many opportunities available to them.. Like keeping their kids, though their drug addict morons and the dad isn't. etc etc.

    And I never read this book. I stated that above. Obviously, those that read it had a bad taste in their mouth, and I'm prepared to roll with that. I'll accept if it didn't make me feel right and I will agree. But that's not what I was even saying in the first place. I'm saying that EVERYTHING is taken out of context or too literally in this day and age.. and it's freaking annoying! Why can't you pick up something and read/watch it without having someone tell you that what you're enjoying is the work of the "devil" and you should be ashamed of yourself?

    There is no box. That's why you're able to interpret something and I'm able to disagree and tell you why I disagree. And why you're able to think you "schooled me" each time you tell me how horrible of a person I am and how I am insulting everyone in the world. People need to hear these things, or we'll never be equal and balanced.

    I read somewhere that mothers give small children the unconditional love a child needs while they're young, but when they're older, the father gives them conditional love they need to be responsible adults in society. (Once again, though I think it's ridiculous I even have to keep pointing this out, "mother" & "father" are used loosely to represent the figure in the child's life. got it?)

    Bookshop, you're great with writing, I may even keep reading your stuff, but as you feel the need to do to me, I'm going to call you out when I think you're making inacurate accusations. K?

    I'm not trying to be mean. I said everything above with a smile (not an evil one btw) on my face, but since this is the internet, everything's taken out of context.

    And sorry Amanda.. people get me confused with your name all the time... :(

  22. woops! typos... meant "every single book"

    .. and "though THEY'RE drug addict morons"

    .. And MJandersen... you suck ;).

  23. so... im not as literate as she is

    but my i came from something similar to

    i mean its like we are brother and sister... but i guess she is nicer and will apologize so that means we arent... yeah wierd

  24. @MJandersen

    OMG.. I apologize for him.. he's being a tired idiot. Up WAAAY past his bed time!

  25. My Statistics say that there are only

    383 drive in movie theaters left in America

  26. My statistics say that prostitution is legal wherever i am...

    cause i pimp slap the law

    like the mothaf***** g that i am


  27. Did you know that the first Highschool Musical was dedicated to me?

    it was.

    and that my herpies spreadededededed to where you can see em on my chest

    the doctors say those are my nipples
    but i dont trust them, i think its herpies and im dying... from all the hoes i whore out... nah they whore me out

  28. @MJandersen

    lol :D this would be better high :D lol. I don't apologize for this one... but I do apologize for making this comment post go on FOORREEVVERR! Andrea! Your emails are probably going crazy!

  29. You caught me on a good night

    my fingers are usually swollen like cucumbers

    to where id be typing like oioijkkljiojhldsafpipsdf

    yeah like that
    so lucky you man
    lucky you.

    did you know that im in a rock band?

    Assault THE UNICORN

    yeah we did a concert at my school
    it was cool

    im god
    im the devil

    i have ADD

    did you know that there are series of cases where ADD can kill?

    someone running a forklift and then BAM!!!!!! he runs over one of the coworkers ...blames it on the ADD
    and then what he said to the press was, "silly forklift trix are for kids"

  30. Wow...the discussion here got pretty bizarre.

    My take on it? I was neither offended by Twilight nor Hush, Hush. In fact, I adore both. Twilight was hugely emotional and beautifully written. Hush, Hush was dark, mysterious, and a fantastic read. Would I recommend either to my daughter when she's old enough to read? Yes, but perhaps not until she was old enough to understand me when I tell her that they may not depict healthy relationships. If she wants to read it for the entertainment value? Fine.

    If the majority of the argument with these books is that kids will take home bad messages, well, I'd have to say that I think parents should have an open line of discussion with their kids so they know what media are influencing them. I'd want to know what books my kids are reading, research them a little, and discuss any that may need it. That's why posts like this are great because it brings these thoughts to light.

    I would never say, though, that the Twilight saga or Hush, Hush should have never been written or should be changed. They're perfect the way they are (imo).

  31. Ms Andrea - your post was very interesting. I don't think I've read any paranormal YA, but I have run into this vein of modern culture in a number of different places, and have heard (a LOT) about Twilight, et al. So I don't speak from a position of perfect experience and must admit that right out front.

    That being said, I know that feeling of having read something, and then having someone say something that makes you realize somethign about your reading - I've done that with other books in the past (racism, for instance, in Tolkien and Star Wars, for instance, which I loved when I was a kid). It's bad and good - always good to SEE what's going on around you a little better, but always hard to see that something you like had something you DON'T like mixed in with it, you know?

    Ms Amber - As a man, myself (and one who, I promise, will try not to take the... erm... peculiar mode of argument made earlier in the blog), I'm curious about your underlying premise. Not necessarily the one about all children needing a strong father figure, though I respectfully disagree, in part (I think it's wonderful to have two parents, but I don't think this is a specifically gender-related issue, and I personally think the problems with children of single mothers have more to do with our messed up economic system than the lack of a father, per se). More the premise that I THINK I read (I apologize I skimmed a bit of the conversation once it got... odd...) that it doesn't really matter, because it's just fiction, and people won't go out and do what a book says, just because it says it.

    AT one level, I agree with you. I don't think every girl who ever read Twilight is destined to marry a wife-beater (Considering the size of the readership, I hope this isn't true!). At the same time, the very reason fiction has stuck around so long is because it DOES have power. That's why, growing up, we learned the parables of Christ in church, for instance. That's why they include literature in a well rounded liberal arts education. I, personally, will vouch for literature VERY much affecting my life - for good and for bad. I love books BECAUSE they can have an effect on me. I understand this isn't ALWAYS how we read (although even when we aren't, I think books still have an effect), but when I was a teenager, reading I VERY MUCH was going into a book as part of, I think, MOST adolescent's search to understand the world and learn how to be a grownup. This is why, say, so many people loved Catcher in the Rye as a teenager - because it speaks to something unutterable and teaches you what you're feeling. You feel like the book sympathizes with you. You TRUST Holden Caulfield.

    Unfortunately, and again, this isn't to say that Stephanie Meyer has planned some evil plot to get all teenage girls married to abusers, I think people feel something for Bella too, and they DO begin to trust her. And this trust extends outwards. Fiction is how we learn to be grownups (at least some of us), and so it IS important to think about what kind of grownups we are encouraging teenagers (or even other grownups :P) to become.

    This isn't to say that I think Twilight should be banned, or that we should boycott the publisher. It is to say that I think MORE conversation is good, NOT ridiculous. It's to say that I think having people think about the messages they are hearing is good, more self awareness is ALWAYS good. Books, like advertisements work subtly, but they work, sometimes better than we ourselves know. The effect may vary from one person to another, but I think that educating ourselves on the topic, and talking about, having that dialogue out in the open, is how we, as a society, grow and learn to be better.

  32. As a writer, I would only add to the discussion this sentiment: writers write with a purpose. They do have a message. Can it be interpreted myriad ways? Very likely.

    Was (in the example of the Twilight Saga) Stephenie Meyer trying to say that teenage girls should be attracted to guys who are 90+ years older than them and/or watch them sleep? Probably not specifically.

    It was more likely akin to the fact that, coming from her particular spiritual framework, she wanted to convey that it is not weak for a woman to seek out someone who can protect her (in addition to the fact that she tried [albeit with pretty purple prose] to show in Book #4 that the woman could also provide a type of protection for her family as well). I think she was trying to say (either intentionally or unintentially, I'm not sure) that it's okay to have traditional roles in a relationship and women don't have to be made to feel bad if they choose to not work outside of the home.

    Now, do I think that telling the story via a piece of fiction that uses an inhuman being that is 90+ years older and/or watches the female protagonist sleep was the only way to convey that message? No. Was it the best way? THAT is the topic of discussion.

    None the less, in SUMMARY, writers write with a purpose. There is a message in every book. We want you to try and find it. We want you to THINK about our books. We've spent YEARS writing them, and love the idea that someone has taken at least FIVE MINUTES to consider why I invested all that time in telling the story. There is ALWAYS a messge. (Sometimes that message is: "It's okay to laugh, my goal was to make you laugh as a break from your day because I know a lot of life is pretty sucky." But, none the less, THERE IS ALWAYS A MESSAGE.)

  33. Fabulous points Jason! I'll skip over what you said about single mothers and the economic situation.. because then we'd be in a whole new debate. (Though I'd love to!!) And about the christ and church... those hold no merit in my world (no offense meant).

    I understand that there can be meanings taken from books. Absolutely. But not all books are that way. I will concede to the point you made that about readers being able to relate to the characters and they can begin to trust them. That's what every writer strives for. But, that's where they need someone with the logic (which is almost always the **father figure**) to teach them both prior and during all experiences (not just reading). It's a constant learning process. A Journey Of Books had a great way that all parents should at least look into doing. They're responsible for their kids until they're considered legal adults. They should be the ones teaching any "message" if they believe in that kind of thing. I don't, so the way I personally would do it (and I'm not saying EVERYONE should do this OR ELSE!), is to teach them how to be so they're not affected by anyone putting subliminal messages in something.

    But dissecting literature that's not intended to be dissected word for word, is what I'm saying is ridiculous. The authors in these are writing about a love story with a *vampire*, and about a good boy turned bad. Not a "coming of age" or ... whatever the hell Of Mice and Men was about. So IMO, 1 is obviously not real (no matter how hard everyone wishes), and the other is exactly what the author said... a good boy turned BAD.

    Literature Crazy... awesome for you and your readers that you ALWAYS put a message in a book. But not everyone does writes with a specific message in mind. Sure, someone can ALWAYS *FIND* a message. But how they're able to interpret and apply that message to their life... comes to how they're raised... And that's what I'm talking about.

    It sounds like people see the symptom (bad "messages" in book) and diagnose that as the problem. when in reality, we need to figure out why they're taking a bad "message" and applying it to their lives. (if they even are).


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