London teen travels to ASU for vampire 'prom'
Jenny Martin, a 15-year-old from London, loves books by Phoenix author Stephenie Meyer so much that she's willing to fly more than 5,000 miles to meet her.
Meyer will introduce her newest book in her series about Edward the vampire and his teenager girlfriend, Bella, titled “Eclipse,” during an “Eclipse Prom” at ASU May 5, co-sponsored by the Department of English.
The Eclipse Prom, to be held in the Physical Education Building East on the Tempe campus, will be like any other prom. Guests will dress up, and there will be music, dancing, food and photo ops.
The guests are invited to come as Edward the vampire, or Bella, his girlfriend, who is biding her time until she finishes high school and can become a vampire herself.
There will prizes for the best impersonations of Edward, Bella and other members of the Cullen vampire family, to which Edward belongs.
Girls also are invited to wear vintage clothes, and a prize will be given for the best outfit from yesteryear.
Jasmine Jorda, 12, a student at Fremont Junior High School in Mesa who has read both of Meyer's books and likes the romance in them, plans to be there dressed up as Bella.
“I'm going to wear a blue dress,” she says.
Tickets for the Eclipse Prom, which is co-sponsored by Changing Hands bookstore and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, went on sale April 1, and within days so many tickets had been sold that a second edition of the prom was scheduled. The first will be from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., and the second will be from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., both May 5, at ASU.
Teenagers and preteens also will be coming to the prom from New Brunswick Canada, Costa Rica, and the states of Florida, Washington, New York, Texas, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and California.
During the prom, Meyer will read the first chapter of “Eclipse,” to be published Aug. 7, which continues the story of Edward and Bella. Special editions of “New Moon,” the second in the series, also will be on sale. These books, Meyer says, have “a gooey, romantic quote from ‘Eclipse' on the cover.”
Why are young readers so enchanted with a vampire (though he is, as Bella says, “very good-looking”)?
James Blasingame Jr., a professor of English who studies contemporary young-adult literature, says that research done by Elaine O'Quinn, a professor of English at Appalachian State University, shows that teens are drawn to unusual characters such as vampires because “teens are constantly struggling with the person whom they are changing into, physically, emotionally, psychologically.”
Blasingame say that as teens wrestle with concepts of right and wrong, newfound talents and vulnerabilities, they are very much like the vampire and werewolf protagonists, who are also caught up in the same types of struggles.
“Whether it is fantasy, modern realism, outdoor adventure, mystery, horror, biography or autobiography, the important thing is this: Young people need to hear their stories,” Blasingame says. “By telling their stories, the authors validate and honor the young readers' lives.”
Martin says she enjoys Meyer's books because she has “always been a fan of fantasy novels, and I love the mix of horror and romance. It's not just some mushy, mindless romance; it touches upon more serious themes as well, and can really make you think.”
What if Edward were a human being, instead of a vampire?
Martin says that if that were so, she would not be on the plane for Phoenix .
“That's what makes the book so unique, so different from all of the other teenage novels – it if were two humans, then it would just be another love story,” she says. “The forbidden love and complications that go along with it really make the story what it is.”
Edward, she says, “does what a vampire was made to do. He dazzles you.”