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The Twi-Hard Alumni Association This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Everyone was doing it.

I had committed to memory the illustration of the glowing apple on the black cover, even though I had never read the story. Twilight had acted as a prop in many scenes around my school: the girl curled up in the “special secret chair” in the back of the library, the lunch table full of students who read with the book held in one hand and ate feverishly with the other, the carefree circle of girls whose uniform polos were hiked up past their midriffs, their arms extended toward the sun, the book held a foot above their chests.

I, wanting to be the archetypal middle school standout who admonishes whatever is trendy, resisted this temptation. I zoned out of many conversations about the godliness of the protagonist's lover, swiftly scrolled over the endless posts about upcoming movie plans that filled my Facebook account, and somehow managed to pull off a French maid costume for my eighth-grade Halloween party, among the throngs of vampires and werewolves.

But one fateful day, perhaps by accident and likely by inevitability, the first book of the Twilight saga found its way into my lap, and after turning only a few pages, I was hooked. I became a “Twi-Hard.”

Twilight soon became my home away from home. It became not only a nightly affair I could look forward to, but a comfort I could depend upon. At age 13, my life tottered between two existences: the familiar comforts of childhood, and the unexplored territory of my teenaged future. Twilight was my ladder to the latter. Its heroine, Bella Swan, was sinking her teeth into teenage girl fantasies, and I was enthralled. I idealized the acquisition of immortality and channeled my own adolescent dreams into the page-­turning prose of Stephenie Meyer.

In many ways, Twilight became my refuge. No matter what problem stopped me in my tracks, I could always dodge a corner into Twilight's alley. This gave me a sense of security. But I inevitably became too obsessed for my own good. By the third book, I preferred Twilight's tales to real human experiences.

Initially, I didn't start reading Twilight because I sought fulfillment in my life, but when I closed the last chapter of the saga, I felt an emptiness I had never known. My literary lifeline had passed on. I would now have to pry apart the two worlds I had synchronized: my everyday reality and my fictitious fantasy.

Four years and a portfolio of literary and life experiences later, I can easily scrutinize Twilight's shortcomings. Sure, the text may not be profound and the characters are often superficial and superhuman. The books are probably not the best example of the “show, don't tell” writing technique.

But I can also appreciate the impact Twilight had on my development as an audience member who spent two years keenly seated in the front row. Twilight might be considered blasphemous in literary circles, but the formative effects it has had on its adolescent audience are pretty brilliant in my book. I feel no regret for my membership in the Twi-Hard Alumni Association.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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iWriteForFoodThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
today at 6:27 pm:
Absolutely loved your article! I went through the Twi-Hard phase as well, and I too can now see how it isn't the best book ever written. But it doesn't make it a terrible book, or deserve bashing. Thanks for representing us former Twi-Hards! :)
 
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