Urban Fantasy. Paranormal Romance.

Been book shopping lately, online or in a store? Seen any book fairs? I’ve done all three in the last 24 hours and found it quite educational. Stephenie Meyer still reigns as queen of the YA genre, at least from the volume of books offered for sale. Even at the local library her books are still on the hold list. But other writers such as Maggie Stiefvater (Linger) are not far behind. The other tables and shelves I saw were lined with hundreds of other titles revolving around vampires, fairies, werewolves, witches, and wizards. Oh, and don’t forget the romance intertwined in almost all of the stories. Even humorous romance maven Janet Evanovich is adding to the Paranormal Romance genre.

Why?

First, let me say that we were created by a supernatural and extraordinary God. A desire to seek the paranormal and fantastic is built into us. Think of one of the stories which has survived and thrived over the last four decades: Star Wars. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? Lucas filled his tales with super-human and heroic characters, and all the other writers in the Star Wars galaxy have never stopped. Through the Star Wars galaxy so many of us, boys especially, were able to live out a deep desire to be fantastic, to be heroic. I even kept my Star Wars action figures in my doll house. Who wants to play with boring dolls when there’s a Chewbacca and Princess Leia around?

But, in the words of my writer friend Kevin at Guys Can Read, what’s up with the major romance themes? Yeah, a lot of the stories are fine, but team Jacob and team-other-hot-guy? (I would like to point out that there’s not too many Team Mike shirts around…) Why all the hype over the romance angle?

It seems to me that the x chromosome comes with the natural desire to give and receive love. In fact, I’ve heard many psychologists say this is one of a female’s greatest needs. Boys want to be heroes. Girls want to be loved. Generalizations? Definitely. Room for crossover? Certainly. But does it hold true most of the time? Hmm. Love to hear your thoughts.

So, read on, friends, but beware the slippery slope. More on that later.

Oh, and just bought Linger. Hope to share and chat about it soon.

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