Second Bookses

It's like second breakfast. Only with books.
Marked - Kristin Cast, P.C. Cast Back when gas was a nickel a gallon and I was able to fill my Model T for less than $1.00, young adult books meant exactly that: appropriate for young adults. Oh sure, there may have been some make-out scenes and a veiled reference to sexuality, but the young adult section consisted mainly of Judy Blume and Madeleine L'Engle books. Piers Anthony and his fondness for panty-showing was risque, and Blume's Forever downright dirty.It is with this background, along with a dose of stupidity, that I picked up Marked, by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast, for my nine-year-old daughter.::: Marked How? :::Hear me out here; at first glance, Marked seemed like the ideal book for Beanie, who's read all the Harry Potter books as well as the first two Twilight novels. In Marked, Zoey is approached at school by a vampyre tracker, who marks her as one who will go through the Change, which we learn can be fatal. Those similarly marked leave life as they know it behind them and move into a residential school called House of Night, where they learn everything they will need to know for their new life.Much like Harry Potter's move into the world of wizards, Zoey is swept up in an entirely new world. She quickly makes an enemy out of Aphrodite, the head of an elite society at school (see also: Harry Potter's nemesis Draco Malfoy), but has been taken under the wing of the school's High Priestess, Neferet (see also: Dumbledore).This first book in the series takes us through Zoey's acclimation to the school, helped by her grandmother's Cherokee heritage and spiritual training, as well as what appears to be a very special mark; the usual crescent outline of a fledgling vampyre is fully filled in by the time Zoey arrives at the House of Night, much like that of a mature vampyre (see also: Harry's lightning scar).::: What Could Go Wrong? :::In my stupidity, I handed over the book without reading it first. Probably not my finest parenting moment, because, as a friend was kind enough to point out, a scene and resulting discussion that occurs early in the book is so not appropriate for pre-teens (or even young teens) that I was in serious mother fail territory. In Zoey's very first walk through the halls of the school, she comes upon two fledglings, one of whom is attempting to perform oral sex on the other. We meet them again later as Zoey's arch-nemesis and potential love interest, but even if the act itself is implied and not completed, Zoey's resulting inner dialogue discusses "blow jobs" with great frequency. In other words, I apparently get to have a conversation with my pre-teen I'd hoped to put off for a few more years.The popularity of the book (and its associated series) really isn't a mystery, however. Take the currently popular vampire genre, add in a splash of the best-selling childrens books of all time (Harry Potter) with a splash of goddess mythology and Wicca and you have a book designed to entice younger girls. It's an easy read, and were it not for the overt sexual discussion and other inappropriate-for-tweens-and-young-teens situations and actions, one I would have probably let Sissy read, even with the occasional profanities. As it stands, as a parent, I'd have appreciated a warning in the book blurb about how adult some of the themes were, pushing this out of what I'd consider to be the realm of "young adult" even if the story's heroine is 16 years old.I'll be back to reading books before letting my kids read them, but in the meantime, I'd recommend this for adults who liked the Harry Potter and Twilight books, as well as older teens who are fans of same.This review originally published on Epinions:

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