I'm not sure what's more shocking to me: the fact that little conservative Baptist me read them or the fact that they were written by a Mormon housewife. But guess what? I liked it.
I had heard a murmuring about the series when they announced that the movie was coming out. I dismissed it immediately, but someone else gave me just the little encouragement I needed, so read them I did. I bought the book on the way out to New Orleans last weekend and finished it that night. By Monday I had purchased the last three books and finished Breaking Dawn Tuesday night. They are an easy read and really good. I don't think it's the best writing ever or that the characters are amazing, but I had just had to know how it ended, you know? Good story.
I kept thinking about Jane Eyre throughout it, so I was not surprised when I did some research and saw that the author was a fan of Bronte.
Was Bella a weak character? Yes. Girl needs to get a backbone and quit the whining. Would I recommend this for teenagers? I would say no, but I can think of several books that were accepted reading for me in high school that had much less wholesome story lines. (One author that sticks out in my head is D.H. Lawrence.) Are there some dark themes? Of course there are--it's about vampires. However, the whole book is about struggling to be good, even though you have a nature to be bad. And in the end, it's about the triumph of that good.
Have I seen the movie? How could I stay away? As I stood in the bathroom after the movie listening to three teenage girls remark (in so many words) how Kristen Stewart was a terrible Bella, I had a hard time restraining myself from jumping into their 15-year-old conversation. I agree, like, totally. But it was still really good.
And just in case there could be any question about it--I am totally Team Edward.