I have never really liked Science Fiction. However in the last decade I have read a lot of books that are probably more Fantasy than Science Fiction. I would never have read the Harry Potter series, but then my nephew called me a "muggle." Having never read the book, I realized I had no idea what he was talking about and that pretty soon I was going to be teaching a lot of teenagers who would use allusions to things I was ignorant about. So I read 60 pages in the first book and thought, "What is the big deal?" Forty more pages, and I was sucked into the Harry Potter Web. (By the way, a muggle is a nonmagical person.) I own the entire series in hardback, a gift from Mr. And yes, I love them.
This summer, one of my students worked at the RV pool with me and told me that I should really read the "Twilight" series. The fourth book in the series was just getting ready to come out. I knew it was about Vampires, so I wasn't too interested. I am soooo not into Vampires. However, when she hauled the first three books out to the pool, I figured I would read the first one to see what all the fuss was about. Again, I was sucked in and flew through the first three books. Then I went to the store the day the fourth one came out and bought it, too. (Me and about 50 teenagers at Barnes and Noble at the same time!) Another great series.
Both of these authors have one thing in common: the stories almost seem like they could happen. The people seem real. You know it doesn't/couldn't happen, but they use our world to make it seem possible. The kids love the "Twilight" books because they are love stories. One male student told me that the Vampire Edward sets impossible standards for teenage boys to live up to. He's pretty romantic. It drives me nuts when they say the books are for "tweens." I would never market these books for kids under the H.S. age. They are a little too adult for Middle Schoolers.
So youth literature has now become my favorite thing to read. And these are two authors who have kids loving books again. It is exciting to see kids attending midnight book parties for the new releases and flocking to movie theaters at midnight to see their favorite books come to life on the big screen. Any author, any book, any series that can do that...well, what's not to love?