I probably read more 'books for children' now than I ever did when I was a child! This is probably because many of the factors that caused me to stray into the realms of grown up books when I was younger have changed and now the plots and characterisation of fiction for younger people can bear comparison with the best creations for 'adults', meaning any reader can be capitivated and entertained by them.

Another reason for this is that I am an educator and it is great to share some of the reading experiences my pupils are enjoying (or not!) To this end I recentlyspent a rather guilty half term break reading the entire Twilight quartet, what a hoot! But whatever the shortcomings of these novels in a literary sense the experience brought me up sharply as alienation and angst dripped from every page.

Adolescence IS the most traumatic stage of anyones life, we all knew that once but in middle age just when we most need to refer to our own empathic memories we seem to forget for a while. These books are all about growing up, engaging in risky behaviour (a vampire boyfriend is pretty tricky to manage) loving and disregarding your parent's in equal measure and emerging as a self-determining adult.

And these books do all this with great excitment and skill. My only criticism is that the second book in the series was a little slow and lacked the breaknecked pace of the others. There are some quite edgy scenes of an almost explicit nature in all the books and the violence is quite -well violent, to be honest. But while we are being honest remember that these things are central to any teenagers reality anyway, and the way such themes are explored here provides just as many examples of good choices as bad ones and the all the pivotal points come as consequences of making the wrong ones!

So there is more to commend than condem about this latter-day Red Riding Hood Saga and whatever we think about the books, I know they will be better than the films!