Sunday, May 10, 2009

So what would you recommend?

As expected, I'm getting lots of hits from people looking for "books like Twilight" now--probably about half the search hits are along those lines. I don't know exactly how the Google Analytics data is gathered, but most people who find this blog through that search don't seem to spend any time reading posts; of those who do, I wonder, are any of them actually going to READ Both Sides of Time?

(I suspect that Both Sides of Time has one major drawback: it's too short. It's a normal YA novel length, which means it probably looks like a "baby" book. I hold that the main thing that makes Twilight acceptable for mainstream adults is that it's big. Not that this is YA, but my uncle once made a disparaging comment about the Clan of the Cave Bear series that makes me laugh every time I think of it: "I always think those books are for people who want to feel like they're reading really Big books." Like their length imbues them with the characteristics of quality literature. Yes, my uncle and I are kind of elitist. But then, I've read all of Jean M. Auel's books, more than once. Maybe I'm a wannabe elitist.)

I want to offer these Twilight-searchers more. If someone came to you asking for recommendations for "romantic books just like Twilight", what would you recommend?

It's a difficult thing, the art of making book recommendations, especially phrased in terms of "can you recommend another book like..." Kind of like I mention in my previous post, my idea of what's interesting about a book will be completely different from someone else's, even though we both like it. So I can recommend a book, and the recommendee will come back and say "Why did you recommend this to me? It's NOTHING like [fill-in-the-blank]".

Is The Cheerleader a romantic book like Twilight, or is it too intellectual, with the added "drawback" of being historical fiction? What about Gone With the Wind--is that an epic romance, or is it an accounting of battles fought and casualty lists published and cotton picked? For that matter, shouldn't The Valley of the Horses (second Clan of the Cave Bear book) appeal to people who loved Twilight, or will they be bored by the lion-taming and fire-starting and endless recountings of Pleasures, both human and animal?

Seriously, what would you recommend? It doesn't have to be fantasy, or even necessarily YA, or necessarily long. It just has to be "romantic". (Um, and despite my mention of Auel above, well-written would be great. Actually, The Valley of the Horses isn't THAT bad, or anyway it could be worse, as you can observe later in the series.)


Melody Marie Murray said...

I find Nicola Griffith's Aud Torvingen series seriously romantic, but I'd hesitate to recommend it to the Twilight crowd as it's pretty gritty.

Jacqueline Carey's Kushieline series is very romantic, I think, and it might just work for the Twilight people. Starhawk's The Fifth Sacred Thing, maybe.

I thought this would be easier, but as I scroll through my back catalog, there's not a lot there that I'd categorize as romantic that would still have wide appeal.

Sandy D. said...

I would recommend Megan Whalen Turner's "Thief" series - it's romantic (well, the second & third book in the series are), it's got good plot, it's got complicated characters. And it's got a good cover - as long as you look at the most recent paperback editions, anyway (one of the attractions for "Twilight", I think). It isn't thick, unfortunately.

LaurieA-B said...

Here's a Seattle Public Librarian's post on the topic. It's almost entirely new/recent books; I'll give a little thought to others that I would recommend. In the school library I find it very challenging to ascertain which type of "book like Twilight" students are looking for, as this post lays out.

Jess said...

Graceling by Kristin Cashore - plenty of romance, a touch of fantasy, some adventure - with the added bonus that the main character is smart and capable. As much as I adore Megan Whalen Turner's books (so much) they lack that quick and easy quality of the Twilight books. They require more careful reading, and the romance is much more sutle.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Auel, like so many novelists, is a victim of the "now you are famous we (publisher/editors) need your books to come out ASAP so we are not going to bother with editing them" syndrome. Because I could not follow the plots of the last couple...and gave up.

Darsa said...

I would recommend Sarah Dessen's novels, though she would probably bristle at the thought of being classed with TWILIGHT. (Quality-wise, not success-wise, obviously.)

Anonymous said...

My go-to romantic book at that age was "Shadow of the Moon" by M M Kaye. I gave away so many copies to like minded romantic friends! But it IS historical fiction, and to my adult eyes, the very mild sex does veer slightly into the non-con territory. How about Gabaldon's Outlander series? Kind of graphic, but definitely romantic!


Katharine Bond said...

Are we talking about recommendations for actual teenage/tween readers of Twilight? Or, for the crazy adults who read them too? (Not that there's anything wrong with the adult readers, but really, what was the appeal?)

I don't know about the tween readers but for adults, I'd probably throw out Diana Galbadon's Outlander.