For this discussion I’m going to lump fantasy and paranormal into one category, mainly because I don’t think there’s a clear boundary between them. And some of what we refer to as paranormal crosses the line into science fiction, too.
Unlike many of my MTV sisters who’ve weighed in, I’ve read quite a bit of paranormal fiction. Some of my reading came about because I taught middle school. I’d hear my students talking about books they loved, and I had to know what the buzz was about. I read the first Harry Potter because my sixth graders said I “had to,” but I read the rest of the series because I was hooked. Harry, Hermione, and Ron are believable teens facing real teen problems. They struggle with their classes, relationships, and bullies. They just have the added distractions of fighting evil forces and trying to save the world.
The way I see it, good writing is good writing. If the characters are well drawn and the plot pulls me in and holds my interest, I’m a happy camper. Barbara struck a chord with me when she mentioned the series Angel. I am a huge fan of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series, Angel, and more recently Supernatural and Reaper. These TV shows are rife with vampires and demons, but what I enjoy is the juxtaposition of horror and humor. The characters—good and evil--are cracking wise even when they’re fighting for their lives. The Harry Potter books are filled with humor, too, with talking portraits, a nearly headless ghost, and a willow tree that knocks around anyone who gets too close.
I read and enjoyed Twilight, but not enough to continue the series. I agree with Jenny on this--Bella was too whiny, and it seemed as if she swooned on every other page. And I thought swooning h been banned for at least 100 years. Besides, as a matter of principle, I never get involved with a man who is prettier than I am. Bella might want to give that some thought, too.
Before I hop on my metaphysical broom and take off, I have to mention my absolute favorite teen fantasy/paranormal/science fiction of all time—Lois Lowery’s The Giver. This is a book with compelling characters, a fascinating plot, and an ending that had readers arguing and speculating for years. As I said before: good writing is good writing.