This is the Pickychick Book Blog, run by older sisters who love to read but don’t want their younger sisters reading trash. There are a lot of books out there for girls and young women, and it’s hard to tell where the good stuff is. That’s where we come in!
This all started when my younger sister B, like every other girl in her seventh grade class, decided she wanted to read Twilight. This posed a problem, because I didn’t want her to read that book, while still wanting to encourage her to actually read.
It’s not that I don’t like Twilight – I have read and enjoyed all four of them. Stephanie Meyer is a master plotter, and I blew through those 400 page books in a day. Even more importantly in my eyes, she has gotten more teenagers reading than ever before, and that deserves a Nobel Prize!
However, I personally don’t find that the Twilight series offers up a positive role model for the millions of girls reading it – girls primarily spanning the 12-18 age range, when positive role models are most needed. Here’s my main problem: Bella Swan is one of the weakest and least-self-confident narrators I’ve read. She spends 3.5 lengthy books doubting that Edward could ever actually love lil old human her, no matter how many times he assures her that he does. She never sees herself as deserving – at least not until [SPOILER] she turns into a vampire halfway through Breaking Dawn. Suddenly, she’s magically strong and confident, that is to say, interesting.
But uh-oh, she’s not human anymore, she’s a vampire. She no longer shares the species connection with her readers, and thus her ability to serve as a role model for them is severed. Stephanie Meyer is unable to imagine a strong female protagonist who is both human AND interesting. So just what is the message here kids? If you’re just a normal girl, you can never be worthy of your paramour, ever – and you should not believe anyone who says otherwise, not even the paramour. In the bigger picture, this implies that you need to change yourself to fit in with your boyfriend, despite the fact that your family and friends think that’s a bad idea.
The moral of my story: I don’t want my sister reading a story with a message like that. Thus this project. Over the course of all future posts, the pickychicks will wade through the YA universe and provide you with reviews and recommendations for books for young adult readers that have strong, interesting, intelligent, and independent female protagonists, as well as redeeming literary content (ie. they’re good books). The readership in question is girls from the vicinity of 12-18, and anyone buying for them.
So chuck your Twilight copies in the trash, and get ready for some great books with great girls I wish I knew!