Monday, June 16, 2014

The Twilight Comparison...Seriously?

Yes, there was a whole horde of "Twilight Knockoffs" after the series hit the big time, but there are a lot of authors out there who are getting pretty tired of The Twilight Comparison

I know I'm not alone in this. In fact, I'll give you a list at the end of the post of authors who's books have been compared to Twilight despite the fact that they are nothing even close to sparkly vampires. 

I've gotten this comparison more than one. I will admit that when Zander sneaks into Ivy house at night and watches her sleep because it's the only time he can pretend she's dead and she doesn't stir his hunger like when she's awake, there are some Twilight-esque attributes to that scene, but the goal of these scenes were pretty much the complete opposite of Edward and Bella. Zander, at this point in the story, is obsessed... like unhealthy, creepy, weird obsessed. He's watching a girl sleep for crying out loud! Sure, he thinks he's in love, but most readers get the concept that this is very wrong and Zander has crossed a line. In Twilight it's supposed to be sweet, or romantic, or whatever, although in reality it should seriously disturb a girl. 

Many of my other books have been dubbed "Twilight-ish" as well, for much more insignificant reasons. It's frustrating. It's annoying. It makes you wonder what on earth the reader is seeing when they read your book. The fact is, Twilight is what made tons of girls and women start reading again or for the first time, which is awesome. If Twilight is the book that turned on that love of reading, sure it's going to be the book you compare every other book to when you're reading. I get that, but don't judge a book solely on that one point. 

A book is not "like Twilight" just because it has: 
  • Characters meeting for the first time during school hours. Particularly if there happens to be a science class involved. Trust me, Bella and Edward were not the first, and they will not be the last. 
  • A sense of "lust at first sight." Again, this is a fairly time honored tradition in YA. Let's face it, teens are hormonal and driven by physical attractiveness in most of their relationships.
  • Romantic moments set in scenes similar to Twilight. Many characters have kissed at dances, in the forest, in a house, in car, etc. Characters kiss in all kinds of places, in real life and fiction. Don't be so surprised if one happens to get repeated in two different books. 
  • Something paranormal. Sure, anything with vampires or werewolves is going to get compared to Twilight. Hard to avoid. But angels? Demons? Native American myths come to life? A girl destined to destroy the world? Aztec curses? Twilight does not have the paranormal market completely to itself. 
  • Romance in general. Some books get accused of being too much like Twilight simply because there are romantic elements. At all. Teens do tend to fall in love, or think they have anyway. There's a good chance any YA book you pick up will have some romance at some point. 
  • An insecure girl who doesn't see her own beauty or an overbearing guy who thinks he knows best. Many teenage girls have self-esteem issues. Many teenage boys think they are pretty macho and have everything under control. This is true in real life and fiction. True, Bella took it to the extreme, hence the accurately dubbed "Bella Swan Syndrome" readers got tired of. Even so, these are common personality traits you'll see in YA fiction, not copycats of Twilight. 
  • Life or death situations. Most really captivating novels, YA or not, are going to have a moment where your favorite character might die. Sometimes they should die (at least one secondary character in Twilight should have died, IMO). Just because one character has to save another doesn't mean the author is trying to mimic Edward saving Bella for the eleventy-millionth time. 
Of course, if you're comparing a book to Twilight because you honestly think it's a book Twilight readers will like, that's fabulous, and we appreciate the recommendation. Kirkus Reviews did exactly that for Wicked Hunger, and Kim Finn's Book of Shade received a similar recommendation. 

So, want to know what other authors have had to deal with this? I've made a handy list for you. Check them out and make the call for yourself! 

DelSheree Gladden - most recently... Wicked Hunger, but most of my books have gotten this at some point.