{OMG} This Blog Post is JUST LIKE…….

By: | Jan 5, 2012

Alright. Cards on the table people – this needs to be said.

I’m reaching out to you on a personal level, asking for your help here because if I have to see ONE MORE novel reviewed that is compared to Twilight, I think I might vomit. Please…help save my weak constitution.

Sure, some books are bound to be like one another…it happens. In fact sometimes when promoting a book or describing one you might say “If you liked Girl Interrupted and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory you’ll love this book” (Jesus! Can you image a book that combined those two things…..sorry, I digress…) – it’s a common thing for bloggers and reviewers, or just your average Jo describing something, to do.

What I am so beyond ill about, is that the creativity level of bloggers and reviewers these days is so low that they can’t come up with anything else to say about a book other than “It was just like Twilight” *insert whiney voice here*. And when they do this, more often than not the review also contains the following elements:

1. A very dark and deep rooted hatred for Twilight and all things related to it. One they mention, usually more than once and use this boiling level if disdain to help you gauge just how beyond SUCK they thought the book they are reviewing really is.

Seriously…when do you see a Twilight comparison and someone is gushing about the novel they are reviewing….yea, never.

2. The book they are reviewing actually isn't anything like Twilight at all… EXCEPT for the fact….here it is…it’s a Fantasy based plot line..and…THERE’S A LOVE TRIANGLE.

I have news for you – love triangles have been apart of fiction since the first pen hit parchment! No, no….since chisel hit stone! I can count on ONE hand, of the 117 books I read last year that DIDN’T have a love triangle of some fashion in it. And not because I sought them out – but because it’s the kinda been norm, it’s what the YA’s want to read and because it’s an interesting element that brings in suspense and emotion. GET. OVER. IT.

Also, hello – fantasy books are HUGE – H…U…FRICKING G..E huge right now, damn skippy there will be a lot of them?! Um…duh? It’s called good business….produce what the masses want…make money…..*smacksforehead*

OMG – Amber….you like Twilight don’t you? *Gasp*

Shut up! It’s no secret I enjoyed the books and movies. But that’s not why I’m doing this. I don’t care if you hated it. Super, if you did. To each their own. All I’m saying is if you’re going to review books, have enough sense to not compare every one you read and didn’t like to Twilight because you didn’t like that either. Also have enough of a brain in your head to realize Twilight wasn’t the first love triangle…and it won’t be the last so if you hate them…try another genre…

So let me know you’re thoughts….are you also sick of the constant generalized comparisons in reviews these days? Or do you think that all books really are kind of a rip off of that Stephenie Meyer book some people seem to hate?

amber new sig

57 comments:

  1. YES! I Agree! I also hate when a book blurb will have "for fans of twilight" or any mention of Twilight (and Hunger Games too). Ugh! Stephanie Meyer did not invent love triangles!

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  2. I love this post! It drives me nuts when people compare books to Twilight, or any other book really. It seems like Twilight is the big one though. Like it was the first love triangle , or vampire and werewolf book. Great rant! I agree. :)

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  3. I could not agree more!!

    (Alhough I do feel a twinge of guilt as I did say in a review recently - "I loved this more than Twilight" but it was meant as "This replaces Twilight in my list of favorite YA Vampire Romance series")

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  4. lol You go girlfriend. That annoys me too. I'm a fan of the Twilight books, hey I admit it. But the more you read in the paranormal young adult genre, the more you realize that the things that people compare to Twilight could be compared to any YA book out there. It's just silly to even say "it's just like Twilight".

    Anyways, great post. I totally agree. And, like Giselle said, a lot of it is turning into comparing to Hunger Games now. With the increasing popularity of dystopian, every new dystopian that comes out is "for fans of the Hunger Games" or something like that. When really, the only thing in common is the fact that it's an effed up world. lol

    ♥ Sarah @ I'm Loving Books

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  5. I love this post! <3<3<3 YES YES and YES. You go girl.

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  6. OMG Im so glad other people are noticing this!!! It is freaking annoying! I Loved your rant, and you definitely put my thoughts into writing! Oh and did we mention the fact that not only did Stephanie create love triangles she also didnt create vampires!!!

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  7. Jac - I have done this, I'm not totally innocent though I have mentioned at the time that I mentioned it that I HATED having to do it....it seems cheap and an easy way out....grow some creative balls people...I need to start steeping out and being fully honest and stop pussy footing around being butt kissy sometimes too...

    When I started blogging it was raw honestly then when I became a real part of this community I wanted to be more professional...I have to meld the two together and be true to me and my readers...

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  8. Completely agree with you! The other day when I was browsing on Amazon, I think I saw USA Today? quoted on Gayle Foreman's IF I STAY as saying that it would appeal to fans of TWILIGHT. They have NOTHING to do with each other at all!!

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  9. To be perfectly honest, I haven't read Twilight nor it's subsequent books and have no desire to do so. I find it odd when reviewers (even professional ones place on the covers) compare a YA book to any of the books. I usually think, "Well, I can't really base a book I want to read on something that I haven't read, so why bother with the comparison?"

    Let the book speak of its own merits, praise it for those merits, but for goodness' sake, don't just compare it to another book out there! Use "For readers who love urban fantasy" or "For people who adore cozy mysteries" or whatever. You really can build up disappointment for a book before it's even been read, and that's not the point of publicity, right?

    Thank you for this post. :)

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  10. Agreed! I am really on neither side of the Twilight fence; for me, the books were an enjoyable one-time read. I honestly don't think they deserve all the hate they get. Especially now that all that hate has expanded to include all books with a triangle within the realm of paranormal YA. Which is ridiculous, because they existed long (long long long) before Twilight.

    I get that it's a story that everyone knows. It's an easy thing to reference and compare. But the thing is, you doing that assumes that everyone feels the same way about Twilight that you do. Or at least that they will equate the two the same way. And this is just not the truth at all.

    In a nutshell: (Paranormal + Triangle) =/= Twilight. So just stop.

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  11. YES YES YES Yes!

    I can't STAND it when people do this! I know we're all guilty of it at some point but c'mon! Give other authors and their stories some credit here! Dark brooding plots are the backbone of YA, and love triangles? Been around since dinosaurs! Just because one big book has one suddenly every book that has also had a triangle love story in it is a rip-off/copy/similar-not-really version of Twilight or any other popular book of the moment sporting it.

    Now if the book happened to have a vampire, werewolf, and human all in it together and one of these three just happened to sparkle I'd be a little inclined to say maybe we're onto something here, BUT IT DOESN'T!

    People need to start using broader terms like 'dystopian lovers will enjoy...' or 'if you enjoy star-crossed romance...' and things of the like.

    Your posts rocks girl, and you're so not alone.

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  12. I <3 this! Preach on sista! right off Loved Twilight, it got me reading again... but I really don't like it when people compare any books against each other! Esp. when one has nothing to do with the other.

    While we are at it why not pick another EFFIN book to say hey this book is like _______ insert something BESIDES Twilight grrr.

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  13. Yes. Please and thank you. Marry me?

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  14. You are 100% right with this post. It also makes bloggers look bad in general by making it seem we have a small scope of literary tastes and opinions because the only thing anyone ever thinks of is Twilight. It makes us as reviewers look bad. I also think it's insulting to authors in general. Yes, there might be things we dislike in their writing, but how is a review telling that author or people considering reading their book "it sucks bc it's like Twilight" going to help anyone in anyway? Thank you so much for this!!!

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  15. You tell them girl! I can't stand when they do that. Just like you said GET OVER IT!!!!

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  16. Totally agree!! This post is so full of win!

    It's like, "Oh a boy and a girl fall in love? That makes it EXACTLY like Twilight!"

    I LOVE Stephenie Meyer, but even I know that other books existed before 2005!

    RJ
    RJ Does Books!

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  17. I'm right there with you. A reviewer should concentrate on the book in question. If you have a hang-up with Twilight or any other series and you let it taint your reviews, it's a sign that you shouldn't be publishing reviews at all.

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  18. I've been seeing a lot of strange comparisons. And not just because some were about my own book.

    But then, it's sort of the cop out way of not thinking critically.

    Agreed!

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  19. I love this post. i had a twitter rant about the same thing the other day. Seriously, Twilight wasn't the first of its kind, and now... ugh. And when I saw someone comparing a book to Twilight, and then using QUOTES from Twilight to show the "similarities", I flipped. Just... no. It doesn't need to go that far at all.

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  20. Your post cracked me up! I'm fairly new to book blogging, but even I have the common sense not to compare one book to another that I have read. I thought book blogging was about reviewing each book on an independent basis. Although my last book post I compared the main character to one in a movie, but that was it. :)

    Jen

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  21. FAN-FRIGGING-TASTIC!!!

    Nicely said. It's SO true. I'm sure that if you wanted to break it down, twilight is probably an exact match to Buffy as well. Take ANY YA <3 novel and they can be compared.

    Well done- FAB blogpost!

    Xx

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  22. You could not be more right!!! I have been saying this for years! And for those saying everything is like Twilight, they must not have ever read The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klaus, or The Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith. Or if they have, are they comparing those to Twilight too? Because that would be amazing since they were out long before Twilight.
    Things are similar. Get over it. I love Twilight, sure, but not everyone is trying to write the next Twilight. It happens.
    What I am more concerned with is the nature of the review itself. I hate it when people write such a hateful review. Do they not realize that writers do this for a living? This is their job? What makes it better is that they get to do something they love. If someone else doesn't love what they do, fine, but there is no need to be mean about it. I wonder how the review would feel if someone publicly attacked them about their job and had people comment on it. I bet they would cry foul and try and have the post removed.
    Think before you review people (sorry, got off subject, but when I read the review in question, I couldn't get over the blatant hostility of it. I couldn't even read the whole thing because it just made me sick)

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  23. Kendra - feel free to unload here! It's ok - though I have to say there was no "review in question" that sparked me to write this - it was A LOT of stuff all rolled into one, and there was a straw that "broke the camels back" so to speak but no one thing over another.

    I've been seeing this for quite sometime and I'm pretty sure I actually tackled this topic in another way a long while back but it just wasn't written quite as well.

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  24. Great post! I agree with you wholeheartedly!

    Maybe it is inevitable to compare books when you're doing a review. Maybe not. Just focus on the good and bad stuff of the book on itself, is what I think. And it's what I do when I write a review.

    I have found that many times the blurb comparing a book to another book is very misguiding. Once finished I thought to myself that book was NOTHING like the book it supposedly was to be like. Example: 'A Great and Terrible Beauty' by Libba Bray. The cover sticker said that if I like Harry Potter, I would love this! Guess again? NOT! I really liked Harry Potter but this book had NOTHING to do with it. (Also, it was totally lame)

    Anyway, I don't think 'Twilight' is a proper standard to compare other books too. There have been written YA fantasy themed books before them. Better ones even. 'Harry Potter' shouldn't be a guide either. Heck, why not compare all books from that 1 great book from the beginning of time? (You know, The Bible) It's fantastical enough, with romance, love triangles and what-not!

    Just the book in itself should be reviewed, its qualities, its downsides. Maybe once you reach the end you could advice it to readers who liked a book that REALLY has some of the same elements, or writing style, or subject, but be SPECIFIC then which part is kind of the same!

    Being original is hard. Apparently.

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  25. I would give you the biggest hug right now if I could!!!!!! I agree completely!!!!! Love triangles, angsty teens, and all the other generalized comparisons were around LONG before Twilight!!!!

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  26. To me, a book "like Twilight" would be a romance novel centered around a young female protagonist with strong crossover appeal to adult audiences. It should have low conflict, high drama, and a happily ever after.

    Most books that are marketed as "like Twilight" are really NOTHING like Twilight.

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  27. Preach on! I LOVE this post. Now while I love me some Twigight, every book is different. I see alot of books being compared to them or to others out there for the similarites of oh let's say a big weird family or the strange new guy blah blah blah. I go into a book with nothing about another one in my mind! But I'm new to the book reviewing world so what do I know. I do know however is that I have never compared one series to another because each is very different!
    -Shellie
    Creative Reads

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  28. You kidding me? Get over yourself. There are tons of books like twishit. Like carrier of the mark. The author totally copied off of twilight. Maybe you haven't read "enough" books to understand that there are many books copied off of twilight. Id suggest you read some more kiddo.

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  29. I think there are certain circumstances where comparing one book to another is inevitable, especially when more then one person notices their similarities.

    For example. There was a big stink over the weekend where a certain book was being compared to Twilight. It got to point that it had the author SO upset that she sent a really nasty email out to her friends, which somehow got back to the person who wrote the review. I read the book in question, and let me tell you, it has some very, very striking similarities to Twilight. Some passages were almost word for word! This reviewer isn't the only person who caught onto this either. Goodreads and Amazon are full of reviews about this book that say the same thing. In my opinion, you have to take each book individually. Sometimes, things can be just TOO similar that it goes over the line.

    As for being rude about it or hateful, that I don't agree with. But to me honesty is very important when writing a review. I can be very blunt when I write my reviews. But I always try to be constructive and give examples to back up how I feel. :)

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  30. Im not pointing this to anything specific folks...just making sure everyone knows this. I'm just making a note, I've read 10 reviews in as many days with reference to twilight. no specific authors or novels are centered on. Sorry if I didn't make that clear at first. :)

    And for anyone interested, I read 117 books last year. And If you intend to call someone a "kiddo", maybe check their age first. I'm 32. Also, have enough of a set to use your real account to post poorly written comments from. (how much time did you spend making a fake email AND blog just for that comment!?)

    I'm cool with opposite points of view, in fact, I welcome them. But really, get your facts straight before getting all raggy on me.

    Ah. And thanks for helping me prove my point by the way ;0)

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  31. FINALLY someone has seen the light! This is just like the whole Harry Potter vs. Twilight debate. You cannot compare the two and to even do so shows the ignorance of some people. Stephenie Meyer did not creat the vampire genre nor is she the owner of all love triangles. In fact, I quite honestly get tired of seeing her name of the front of other people's books! (Read the front cover of The Mortal Instrument series and the back cover of The Hunger Games. Her input is on both!) I don't hate Ms. Meyer but Twilight wasn't great literature; I wouldn't put it up there with The Catcher In The Rye or To Kill A Mockingbird. People need to stop the comparasion. Stephenie did her thing; let everyone else do theirs.

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  32. I am no Twilight fan and I detest love triangles but I could not agree with you more! I've seen the same reviewer on Goodreads (not going to name any names but they are quite popular in GRland) call numerous books a Twilight rip-off. It drives me insane. Yes there are some that have similarities so strong they are impossible to ignore--but come on. If you're comparing them because of the fantasy and love triangle aspect (as you stated and as is generally the case), you may as well just stop reading fantasy YA.

    Sigh.

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  33. Holy freaking cow YES! I got so annoyed at ppl not even giving a book a chance because of these things. OR obviously, it's a rip off...UGH. So, in one of my recent reviews, I just KNEW someone would say something about Twilight, so I ended with, "People who seem to think that if a book has werewolves, vampires, and humans interacting it must be a rip off of Twilight, won't like this book. Those that understand MANY books have similar pieces but are completely different in plot and characterization will want to give this a try." UGH. Yes, get over it and broaden your scope!

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  34. I have to agree with what Amanda Welling said above, sometimes a comparison of books is simply inevitable and I don't think this equates with a lack of creativity or originality on the reviewer's part.

    As far as comparing books to Twilight, I've done this only once in my reviews (I think it was only once) and it was my review for the specific book Amanda mentioned. And in my opinion the book really was so similiar (Amanda is not exaggerating about the word for word thing) to Twilight that it was impossible not to make the comparison. And no, I'm not a Twilight fan, but I would never compare a book to Twilight simply because the only thing they have in common is my dislike.

    Let's be honest, there are A LOT of YA books out there that are very similiar to Twilight, and I'm assuming on purpose, so for a reviewer to make the comparison (in moderation of course) it doesn't really seem inappropriate, and to me only points out the lack of creativity and originality of the author.

    But I agree, I don't think a Twilight (or any other book) comparison should always be made just because two books happen to be YA or paranormal or feature a love triangle, etc.

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  35. Aeicha and Amanda - i think your points are well made! And weather a book is "like" Twilight shouldn't limit the reviewer in their vocabulary in their reviews.

    I tend to review more on how a book made me feel, what emotions it evoked in me. I'm not an editor, I steer away from the punctuation and grammar....and in all fairness if I did review like an editor I would have torn Twilight a new one...truly....but it does get a bit exasperating that EVERY book in YA these days is compared....

    Girl goes to live with her dad - OMG TWILIGHT

    Vampire hates werewolf - OMG TWILGHT

    Girl is clumsy and shy - OMG TWILIGHT

    it's just too much, it's like people go looking for it. You know?

    I would have posted this even if I didn't read and enjoy the books years back. I would have posted this if every review I read compared something to Harry Potter - though, of course it would have HP in it...not Twilight...lol. You all get my point.

    Thanks for stopping in, I am loving the posts and the difference of opinions and points everyone makes!

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  36. I have to admit, I was pointed to this blog from the discussion about the Carrier of the Mark incident. Plus I am guilty of comparing Fallen to Twilight. I will gladly take your advice because I realize it was ignorant of me and it came from my own dislike of Twilight. Thank you for the reality check. And now I will be subscribing to this blog because if you can give such good advice to get me to rethink my vocalization of my dislike, I think you have some talent and would like to read more.

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  37. I agree, but for the completely opposite reasons. I can't stand Twilight, won't touch it with a ten foot pole. HOWEVER, I never, NEVER, compare other books to it, even bad ones, nor is it mentioned anywhere on my blog. I won't do so either. I think it's petty and small of me to do so if I did. ^_^

    If a story is bad it's bad for it's own reasons. The same if a story is good. I have no idea what Twilight has to do with anything. >_<

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  38. Ah, and here is where the co-blogger comes to play!

    I have grown up in a world full of literature - some great, some not so great, heck, some books I can't even finish because they're so horribly written. However, knowing what I've read, books my mother (who is a former teacher and friend to a literature teacher) has recommended to me or told me almost the entire book without my having to read it - I can tell you that many books have had similar concepts. Concepts such as love triangles, vampires, werewolves, shape shifters, paranormal romance, etc...

    So what are you getting at here Mel? Well, what I'm saying is - though many books share characteristics and concepts, it doesn't mean they're the same or that they should even be compared. Saying a book is just like Twilight is like saying the show Wizards of Waverly Place is exactly like Sabrina the Teenage Witch (where'd I come up with that you ask, oh Twitter was a wonder earlier). It would be like me saying "Oh my gosh, I read Bran Hambric and it was EXACTLY like Harry Potter" when in fact, the only similar things were "use of magic" and mythical creatures.

    I like different genres of books, and admittedly have picked up a book because of it's genre. Dystopian societies - check, Witches - check, Realistic Teenage Angst Filled - check.

    So wait a minute - aren't those all like Twilight? No, they aren't. Yes, I am a fan of Twilight, but as I've pointed out time and again, even I'll be the first to tell you that they are not the most well written...or even well versed books.

    Back to the "growing up with literature"...so if you were to compare books with Twilight, does that mean you can go back and compare things such as The Princess Diaries with Twilight? It was written in 2001, signed a movie deal as well - and the similarities in that alone are well, not even fully similar. You want to say then that The Adventures of Tom Sawyer are similar to Twilight? I'd love to see that comparison.

    All in all, every time I go to read a book, I like to take it from the outside perspective of "ooh this book has this quality, this characteristic, and a fun character name, let's give it a shot" instead of looking at it and going "oh hey, another vampire book. I wonder if this can top my love or hate for Twilight!"

    It's a crazy world we live in folks, and something has to entertain us - so why not a good book, a hot cup of tea, and a day curled up delved into a fantasy world. At least some of us out here can still see the good in writing without having to compare it to another book that, consequently, has nothing to do with Twilight.

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  39. When I compare it's usually based on it being more than one thing making one bk similar to another. For example love triangle, teens, danger, paranormal, class distinction, plain girl/hot guy (supposedly). The issue isn't so much plagiarism as derivative-ness. When something is popular and makes a mint other people and companies try to duplicate the formula. And it's not just publishing.

    On the other hand, people want to know what to read after
    Twilight or Harry Potter.

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  40. Whilst I agree that it's unfair to compare every paranormal romance book with Twilight I think that sometimes, it's pretty clear that an author has taken a little more than inspiration from it. I have read books that COULD be Twilight; only the character names and settings have been changed. And in this case, I will call it out. And doing so will probably seem negative, because I don't like Twilight, but no more negative than someone who didn't like The Hunger Games saying "This book was pretty similar to The Hunger Games in these ways" etc. And if I do do it, I will justify why I've thought that way.

    On a more positive note, comparisons are important. If no one compared any books to any others, you can bet less books would be read. People LIKE to read the same thing. They LIKE to be told this book is similar to that book becaused they enjoyed that book.

    However I do get where you're coming from, especially as a Twilight fan, I can see it could be annoying.

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  41. I think what I might be not getting across, as it seems people kind of think I'm saying "Don't ever compare books" is that I realize, understand and encourage comparisons between books - it's just that when they have no real standing to do so that it's annoying.

    Obviously we need to say "If you liked ____ you will like ____" but to say "OMG, this book takes place in the pacific northwest, it's JUST like Twilight." it what's really getting and keeping me annoyed.

    I'm not sure...but I think the Pacific Northwest was there long before Twilight...I'm just guessing tho ;0)

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  42. Oooh I dnt think I hv made any Twilight comparison but I'm not really a fan of the love triangle in books.

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  43. I completely agree. I don't think its fair to compare one book to another unless you have VERY good points to back yourself up. I recently read a review where someone basically said that Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini was a rip off of Twilight. Their point was that the Delos family reminded them of the Cullen clan. And then they proceeded to say: Lucas is Edward, Helen is Bella etc. I wish it were possibly that when reading a book you could completely forget about every other book you've ever read just so when people write reviews they have nothing to compare it to.

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  44. I think some of this comparing apples/oranges stems from not paying close attention to the book. (Oh well she has brown hair and he has auburn...must be a Twilight rip off) Or either paying TOO close attention. (Commonly used phrases in two different books...must be a rip off) As well as factoring in different perceptions of the same book.

    I started reading The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo because a friend of mine said he read it and there was a lot of product placement even though he enjoyed it. Then I read a review that really tore the book apart and sent it crying home to Momma, but with no mention of the overabundance of Apple products in the book. This reviewer saw only rape and sandwiches. Which was hilarious in a WOW sort of way. (I have a morbid sense of humor)

    But that illustrates how different perceptions occur while reading. He saw Apple advertisements, she saw way too many sandwiches being made and everyone getting raped. Neither was wrong in their grasp of the book, they just saw different elements that stood out.

    So maybe these reviewers who are seeing the Twilight elements are perceiving the material in a different way. Then again they may just dislike the book and want to compare it to their opinion of the worst book they've read. Only way to know is to engage the conversation more. Really get them talking about the book.

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  45. FINALLY! lol someone also is on the same page with me, woohoo!

    I've dreaded how hundreds of people (no really hundreds, check out amazon and b&n!) compare every other YA paranormal vampire or fantasy based book against "Twilight". The big book that got the slap stick of "twilight" comparison the most is "Hush, Hush". Fall Angel = Sparking Vampire? Ummm that comparison still has me confused with those reviewers thinking it's the same novel.

    Anyway, I wish someone would give those people a lesson literature love history 101 or show them that for the last 200 or some odd years (even before the words written on paper!) love triangles have existed, even in the royal courts. King Henry the VIII is the biggest example, he was divorced 8 times and had love showtimes tv show "The Tudors" clearly shows it way more lol

    My point being that people who compare every single YA book to "Twilight", clearly doesn't like to read that much or reads out of spite to put the series down; kind of like a big bully with big insecurities.

    Or maybe they just need a thesaurus to find other words that mean "twilight" lol

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  46. Brilliant post! I totally agree - and equally bad is when publishers put stickers or slogans on books saying: "The Next Twilight" or "Fans Of Twilight Will Love This". One such book was The Iron King, which, in my opinion, is nothing LIKE Twilight, except, as you said, fantasy and a love triangle. I just don't understand how completely different books can be compared: it annoys me too!
    As I said before - Great post: I agree with all of it!

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  47. People who do comparisons like this are just proving how ill-read they are. Boo!

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  48. I think you're really underestimating the impact that Twilight had on the YA paranormal market. It's only natural that, after Twilight's monumental sucess, that publishers would begin *looking* for books that bore striking similarities to it - and that aspiring authors would begin writing them, either because they genuinely liked them and took inspiration, or to cash in. So I don't think it's unusual or reaching to find that yes, you'll come across lots of books in the genre that follow a noticeably similar formula.

    On the flip side, yes, you're going to have your readers for whom Twilight was the gateway into YA paranormal fic, thus you're going to hear comparisons a lot, and it's a little irritating. I, too, get frustrated when people trot out the LOVE TRIANGLE OMG TWILIGHT RIP-OFF, because vampire/werewolf/human triangles, or many variations thereof, have been around for quite a while. Christ, I'm pretty sure LJ Smith on her own explored quite a few of those variations, and I was incensed when people started crying about Vampire Diaries ripping from Twilight, because, hello, ONE OF THESE THINGS WAS WRITTEN NEARLY TWENTY YEARS EARLIER. Personally, I consider Twilight to be an expansion on many of the popular vampire themes of the late '90s, which definitely included brooding immortal heroes and love triangles. So no, those things did not start there.

    But I don't think you can fairly call "bullshit" on all Twilight comparisons, even when those comparisons involve books that don't borrow directly from Twilight's text, as in Carrier of the Mark. I trot out the Twilight comparison when I see things that I think of as being distinct to the post-Twilight paranormal boom, such as

    a) a plot that is wholly centered around the developing romance, with a conflict that comes in out of nowhere late in the second act

    b) an immortal/ancient, stalker-like "hero" character that we're supposed to worship as the epitome of hot an awesome, when actually the whole thing is pretty creepy. Usually accompanied by a passive heroine

    c) when said character devolve into a creepily co-dependent relationship.

    d) when I see any/all of these things in a book that was published post-Twilight.

    Those are my personal standards for Twilight comparison, not because Twilight, say, pioneered the ideas, but because it most definitely popularized/prominently reestablished them in the genre.

    Like I said, Twilight was popular, so you're gonna get your knock-offs and Twi-influenced. The same goes with Hunger Games - it got popular, publishers and authors saw that that sort of book would sell, so yeah, you're going to get an influx of HG-inspired dystopian. It's predictable business tactics.

    Honestly, I think you're kind of ignoring half the argument not to recognize and acknowledge this.

    But that's just me.

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  49. Kayla + Cyna

    Amazing comment, thank you for it! Sincerely. I really love when people take time, and put thought into something they say in response to posts like this, here or anywhere. It shows real character and maturity!

    I totally see where you are coming from and I do agree, to a point. Like I mentioned within the original post comparisons will happen, more books like it will be made - as we both agreed...it's business.

    However I think it's an easy way out for a reviewer to simply compare things to Twilight because it's popular or started the phenomenon. Especially since there is such a clear line between the people who liked, and disliked Twilight.

    Here's a for instance: Let's say *Bob* HATED Twilight, and *Bob* stops in to a blog, reading up on reviews to add to his TBR pile. In your review of *Any Book* you compare it to Twilight because, let's say (to use one of your examples) the characters devolve into a creepily co-dependant relationship. I find that, in a lot of YA especially that of the paranormal and fantasy genre, this seemingly creepy co-dependant relationship happens a lot. It's a common relationship factor for teenagers, both fictional and real - and it's much to broad of a description for me to simply think "Twilight" because of that.

    Now, *Any Book* may have been fantastic, and you may even say that in your review...BUT because of *Bobs* hatred for Twilight, he's immediately turned off and won't give, what's actually a great novel a chance because of one tiny personality trait characters with in both books shared.

    My point in the original post was to challenge bloggers and reviewers to be more well versed in reviews. Think outside the town of Forks, if you will. I know that comparisons will happen, and I'm not ignoring the other side of the argument I just feel that the comparison is becoming an overused scapegoat. When a book clearly has dozens of direct similarities then it's understandable and the comparison has a solid foot hold. But just because there's a love triangle, or a plot centered around a romance with conflict arising at some point, this in no way should immediately mark the novel Twilight-esque...because these are a common plots in thousands and thousands of books. A YA novel with romance in it, wouldn't be very interesting if there wasn't a conflict tossed in...

    All I'm asking, is use the comparison where it's really needed, not for every thing down to "it rained a lot in the town the girl lived in". You know? Just my thoughts.

    Thanks so much for stopping in and contributing to the discussion. I think my favorite thing is to be able to talk about stuff like this with other sides, it helps me see things differently and hopefully maybe I do the same for others.

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  50. I see what you're trying to say, but I think that's where we differ in opinion. I agree that the Twilight comparison shouldn't be over-used - just because a book, as you say, is set in a rainy environment, or Hell, even Washington state involving vampires - I don't think that's merit enough to pull out the Twilight reference, because the stories could be completely different.

    On the other hand, I feel like Twilight is a good comparison tool exactly *because* it is so polarizing. As you said, you have people who love and hate it. In the YA paranormal romance/urban fantasy community, there's really no in-between. And, as you stated in your original post, people don't typically break out the Twilight comparisons to praise a book:

    1. A very dark and deep rooted hatred for Twilight and all things related to it. One they mention, usually more than once and use this boiling level if disdain to help you gauge just how beyond SUCK they thought the book they are reviewing really is.

    So I know that when we break out the Twilight comparison, it's not to say "Oh, it had Twilight elements like this, but rose above them", it's to say "This book has the Twilight elements we deeply disliked, and if you disliked those as well, you probably shouldn't read this."

    Although admittedly, we do get a but snarkier than that.

    So in that respect, I think that if this "Anybook" had the disturbing relationship elements we disliked in Twilight (and here I suppose I should clarify - a disturbingly co-dependent relationship portrayed in a good light, which is really the key difference between a good portrayal of that issue and a bad one), and Bob also disliked those elements, he would be well-advised to stay away from the book.

    Even in your scenario, that sort of statement doesn't keep people who didn't mind the murkier aspects of Twilight away from the book - the comparison probably wouldn't phase them at all, except to make them a little butthurt that the book they liked was being held up in a negative light. So I don't really see the problem there.

    I know for us, we always back up our assertions - we explain what we didn't like, and why, and I think that when that happens, there's less of a chance of someone missing out on a book they would have enjoyed. On the other hand, if all someone says in a review is "EWWW TWILIGHT RIP OFF GROSS DON'T READ IT", and someone else listens to them...well, the probably didn't want to read it all that much in the first place S:D

    But bottom line, re: using the comparison where it's warranted, I think we have the same opinion. We just, perhaps, feel it's warranted in different situations.

    ...or a plot centered around a romance with conflict arising at some point...

    btw, I'm not sure that was in response to point A in my first comment, but if it is, what I meant by "a conflict coming out of nowhere in the end of the second act" was exactly that the conflict comes out of nowhere. That was one of my biggest problems, structurally, with Twilight - the whole James thing was a deus ex conflict that had nothing leading or building up to it. It was just there, because the romantic conflict had been resolved, and there was nowhere else to go. THAT I have a big problem with, because it's bad writing, and it seems to pop up every now and then in the more romantically-focused YA books.

    I agree conflict is important to keeping a book interesting, and lots of people can do both romance and a running conflict at the same time. It's not fair to cheat :)

    Anyway /tangent, I just wanted to clarify.

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  51. All wonderful points, I understood you entirely, but thanks for clarifying anyway.

    I think we will just have to agree to disagree. You think that a creepy relationship between MCs is a reason to compare. I don't. I see that in dozens of books. We could go on forever you and I, I think. A worthy opponent for debate, I look forward to talking more with you about lot's of topics!!!
    (example is a loose interpretation of the previous blogs to make a point, certainly no need for another explanation - I do understand your side, just grabbed something simple to shout out. :0)

    We both have really great points that I'm glad are apart of this blog post for everyone to read - you really have helped to point out the other side and I thank you for it!

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  52. I just want to say THANK YOU for this post! I stumbled across it while following all the author/blogosphere/good reads drama, and now I'm bookmarking your site, because I love it. You had me at Charlie and the Chocolate Factory/Girl Interrupted. And now *I* digress... Anyway, I can't tell you how wonderful it is to come across a well spoken, well established, and popular book blogger who is tired of the Twilight comparisons. I was also a fan of the series--even despite its numerous flaws--and I am so tired of all the Twilight vitriol on both sides. I'm tired of every disliked book being compared to it. I'm tired of every vampire fan going on a rampage about how SM's vampires are "wrong*, and I'm tired of the fans screaming COPYCAT every time a book comes out that contains, well, people. So. I just really want to virtually high five you, because this post made me very happy. Wish I could be more eloquent about that. :)

    ReplyDelete
  53. Thank you for this post. I was reading on the recent drama going on in book blogger land and I came across your post.

    I agree with not comparing EVERY book (that has Twilight similarites) that has come out post-Twilight. I too have grown tired of all of the comparisons and out cries of "Copycat!" I've only been book blogging for about 2 weeks but I've been reading for a lot longer than that. Actually, the Twilight craze is what got me back into reading hardcore after a LONG absence.

    I also agree with comparison's are going to happen. They just are. I too wish that people would learn how to compare books without being whiney and at times hateful about it. LOVE TRIANGLE OMG TWILIGHT?!? Not necessarily. As much as I've come to not particularly like the love triangle it is conflict and right now that particular brand of conflict is selling like hot cakes.

    I will be honest, that I have mentally compared books to Twilight but you will NEVER see me post about it on my blog. I review books based on my feelings (how it made me feel or not feel, etc.) so I will not cry "wolf" when a book has similarities to Twilight.

    I guess the book I'm going to use as an example is Carrier of the Mark. I will NOT be reading this book. Not because it has been continuously compared to Twilight...No, I will NOT be reading Carrier of the Mark because of the reaction the author had. Yes, bad reviews hurt but attacking a reviewer is not OK. (NOTE: I do not agree with the way the review was written but I do agree with posting an honest review).

    I hope this comment made sense. I wrote it tired so to me it makes perfect sense :)

    I'm also subscribing to your blog. I find that you post excellent questions that bring about great discussion. So again thank you for this post!

    ReplyDelete

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