House of Night Series
P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast
Alright, I'll admit it. I'm a teen lit freak. One of the best parts of my new job as a middle school librarian is that I get to read all kinds of teen lit in the name of "professional research". The truth is that I love teen lit! Since these books are written for teenagers, the reading level is easy enough for me to fly through the book, but the interest level is high enough to keep me reading until both legs have fallen asleep under me and the dogs are begging to go outside.
Having said that...here are my thoughts on the House of Night books I've read so far:
I could not put this book down. I think this book will have (and already has had) the same effect on teenage girls as the Twilight series. Marked is the story of Zoey Redbird and her "adventures" of becoming a vampyre. In Zoey's world, vampyres share the world with humans, and you don't become a vampyre by drinking vampyre blood or being bitten - you're marked. Zoey is not a typical fledgling (vampyre in training) - and it's her special gifts plus her very cool Native American heritage that propel her to great things in the first book. It's like Twilight meets Harry Potter (I guarantee I'm not the first person to make that comparison, so please don't give me any originality credit), and I loved both Twilight (there will be a life-sized Edward cutout in my library this fall...you wait, it's coming) and HP. If I'm honest, though, I'd pick both Twilight and HP over Marked. Why? Because Marked, in my opinion, is a bit too racy for teens (especially middle school - which is the world I live in now). If you take the time to boil down the lessons in the book, they actually are great for teens - doing the right thing, being yourself no matter what, choosing friends based on their positive traits not their popularity, etc. However, it's kind of difficult to see these lessons clearly amidst the general teenager backstabbing and gossip and rampant fledgling sex-drive. Holy cow are these young vamps all freakin' boy- and girlcrazy!
So students - read wisely and remember: kissing and any further physical contact should be saved for marriage.
Parents: if these books are the books that get your kids interested in books, let them read. Just remember to remind them that kissing makes babies.
This book was also a page turner - it was definitely more suspenseful than Marked. However, I'm worried about that Zoey Redbird. She has boys falling all over her, and she's only been a fledgling for like two months! Don't they have vampyre health classes where they teach their fledglings to keep their hands to themselves? I will not lie, I don't know any girl who had to juggle three boys at once during high school. This could be because I was a complete dork in my teen years, but still. The amount of hormones in this book is shocking. The storyline is excellent, so I do suggest reading it. If you enjoyed Marked, I doubt you'll be able to avoid reading Betrayed. However, I can honestly say that I'm a little nervous to continue the series with Chosen.