BOSTON–Every 10 years, a new phenomenon sweeps across the nation. There were pet rocks in the 70s, leg warmers in the 80s and fanny packs in the 90s. The millennium is no exception. The new obsession of kids and adults alike is a series of books, specifically the Twilight saga written by Stephanie Meyer.
Twilight is Meyer’s first book and it was unexpected that the book series would have a real impact on society. The Twilight books follow the characters of Bella Swan and Edward Cullen through a tumultuous love story. Essentially their story is not so different from hundreds of others that have been written: boy meets girl, boy falls for girl, drama ensues.
However, what does make this story different is that while Bella is a normal 17 year old, Edward is a 106-year-old vampire. To add to the uniqueness of the story, Edward and his “family,” the other vampires he has lived with for the last 100 years, do not feed on humans as others of their kind do.
Meyer’s story of Bella and Edward has captivated the nation. The series has sold more than 50 million copies worldwide and the first book, Twilight, was made into a movie that premiered Nov. 21, 2008. Sources confirm that ticket pre-sales for the film account for 63% of all sales in the United States and the Twilight soundtrack, released Nov. 4, hit number one on the charts, rare for the soundtrack of a movie that had yet to hit theatres.
This series is different from many others; not only is it entertaining, it actually has a large cultural significance. These books were the first to show vampires in a new light. For decades, vampires have been depicted as soulless, blood-sucking demons. The Twilight series actually shows that vampires are not innately evil and that they can be good; it is just about choosing to be a good person and not to be a killer. Meyer shows that it is difficult for Edward to go against his nature, but she shows that he could not live for all eternity knowing he had taken so many innocent lives.
These books were a silent seduction. It seems as if every man, woman and child knows and loves this series. The question is why? “There is just something about them,” 19- year-old Arianna Gulbis states. “These books just suck you in and you are hooked; I had to find out if Bella and Edward ended up together!”
What is so different about these books is their wide audience range: tween, teens and adults all love these books. They appeal to everyone on a different level and English teacher, Marianne Jasilli, tries to explain why. “I teach high school English and I don’t think there is one of my students who have not read these books. I have read them as well and I do see why they are so loved. The younger ones like them because of adventure, the teens love them because the characters are actually relatable, adults love them because of the passion the books possess, and let’s face it, everyone loves a good love story.”
Book retailers are also seeing a huge rise in book sales since these books have been released. Tracy Lawrence, Borders sales representative, states, “I have not seen anything like this since the Harry Potter series. We cannot keep these books on the shelves! It is amazing; people waited in line for hours to get each book when they were released.”
It is true that the love between Bella and Edward is quite intoxicating; it has a “Romeo and Juliet” quality about it. Their love is forbidden and the audience knows in their heads that they should not be together, but the reader cannot help rooting for them anyway. This is why not only Twilight has remained on The New York Times bestseller list, but so has the rest of the series. All four books have remained in the top 10 selling books in the United States for 143 weeks. This series has not just become popular, it has become a way of life.
Twilight is one of the most searched topics online and on youtube.com. People everywhere become more and more obsessed with these books as time goes on. Now with the release of the movie, interest has only become more heightened. Everyday there are magazines released with Twilight on the cover, there is more press coverage of the books and the film and more merchandise being made. It is clear that the obsession with the Twilight saga will not be subsiding any time soon.