Move aside Twilight–there are new YA paranormal powerhouses in town! Power-packing books such as Intertwined by Gena Showalter and My Soul to Take by New York Time’s Bestselling author Rachel Vincent, both published by Harlequin Teen– Harlequin’s newest branch targeting tween and teen readers (gals and guys). Rachel Vincent’s recently published novel, My Soul To Take, about a female banshee has been receiving rave reviews– the fast-paced, original story is full of plot twists and turns, well-fleshed out characters, and raw emotion. Good bye Mary Sues in need of saving, *ahem, Miss Bella*, and hello girl-power! Take note that there is a romantic element in this novel, but romance doesn’t run the show here. Don’t expect super-lovey-dovey confessions and mushy talk!
Get absorbed into an awesome paranormal world and check out My Soul to Take– you can even read a free prequel ebook here : http://harlequinteen.com/teen/ click on Free Ebook Prequel. Here’s a blurb: “When someone near her is about to die, a force beyond Kaylee Cavanaugh’s control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally. She’s caught the attention of the hottest guy in school, but dating is hard to do when classmates are suddenly dropping dead for no apparent reason. Only Kaylee knows who’ll be next.”
Rachel Vincent’s book is the first of the series– no spoilers here– but there is no cliffhanger ending to be expected here– just one huge, awesome I-CAN’T-BELIEVE-IT plot twist that will leave you agape at the end. Harlequin Teen– well done! Two thumbs up up up!
Launching these original paranormal YA novels was a great move taken by Harlequin Teen– kudos!!– paranormal YA is hot, hot, hot these days, thanks to Twilight, The Hunger Games, The Uglies, and Harry Potter. Don’t expect any teenage-romantic-bodice-rippers from this imprint– expect great editorial, well-written, and compelling stories from Harlequin Teen. Finally, I’m a fan of YA again!
On a different note:
Harlequin itself has been known for bodice-rippers and alpha-male heroes– even now. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy reading bodice-rippers. Read my first one when I was… 13? Haha.
Here are the top ten recent bestseller titles on eharlequin.com:
1. One Night, Two Babies
2. Argentinian Playboy, Unexpected Love-Child
3. The Prince’s Captive Wife
4. The Tuscan Tycoon’s Pregnant Housekeeper
5. Kept by Her Greek Boss
6. More Than a Millionaire
7. Texan’s Wedding-Night Wager
8. The Virgin Secretary’s Impossible Boss
9. Conquering King’s Heart
10. Bound by the Marcolini Diamonds
You can tell from these best-seller titles that despite making much progress over the course of history, so many women still yearn for Cinderella stories– women want to be swept away into a fantasy world by strong, handsome, wealthy men. Take Twilight for example– it’s a dark fantasy with Bella as a modern-day Cinderella– younger women swoon over Edward. Why? Because they want someone like him– mysterious, brooding, romantic, strong, heroic, obsessed, protective. Romances and fantasies are so successful because they stir own yearning hearts. What girl doesn’t want to end up with someone like Edward? What woman doesn’t want to end up with her own version of Mr. Darcy?
Are these bad messages to young females growing up in America? Yes and no. These days, people take so much for granted. People cheat on their lovers. Marriage no longer seem sacred. Perhaps we need these romantic novels to believe in love and true love again. In platonic love even. Love stories are so over-done, yes. But they sell– they’ve been selling since the beginning of time. Romeo and Juliet, Tristan and Isolde, The Butterfly Lovers, from China. Females growing up need to believe in love and believe in themselves. So what teens need to read are stories that teach them about following their dreams, about never giving up, about believing in themselves, and about believing in the power of love. After escaping from reality with a great book, once a teen puts the book down, she/he must start believe she/he too can find a happy ending– with hard work and a little bit of luck.
As for why this is a bad message– well, unfortunately for us women, real men will never be as suave, sexy, handsome, wealthy, and awesome as the characters in romance/paranormal novels are. Just remember this though– when you find love, true love, your soul mate does not have to be perfect in every way. As long as he (or she, etc…) is perfect for you. Perfection does not exist. Books can be as unrealistic as the writer wants them to be– a story after all is a creation of imagination. So what readers have to remember is that after you put down the book, absorb the message and use it to better your lives. Even heroines in bodice-rippers don’t sit and do nothing and wait to be swept off their feet. They take action. They work– they run the show and find their own happy endings. So teens, start reading, start dreaming, and start working to reach those dreams!!