Being a night owl myself, it was only natural that I became the volunteer to ferry my niece across the sea of asphalt which is our state to a book party for the midnight (ahem, 12:01 am) release of Meyer's Breaking Dawn. I've not yet read the previous three books chronicling the ---chaste--- romantic entanglements of teen Bella, new to her school, with the also teenage vampire, Edward, aargh, never mind, just read this bit from Patty Campbell's summary of the first book, Twilight, on the Amazon.com website:
Meyer has achieved quite a feat by making this scenario completely human and believable. She begins with a familiar YA premise (the new kid in school), and lulls us into thinking this will be just another realistic young adult novel. Bella has come to the small town of Forks on the gloomy Olympic Peninsula to be with her father. At school, she wonders about a group of five remarkably beautiful teens, who sit together in the cafeteria but never eat. As she grows to know, and then love, Edward, she learns their secret. They are all rescued vampires, part of a family headed by saintly Carlisle, who has inspired them to renounce human prey. For Edward's sake they welcome Bella, but when a roving group of tracker vampires fixates on her, the family is drawn into a desperate pursuit to protect the fragile human in their midst. The precision and delicacy of Meyer's writing lifts this wonderful novel beyond the limitations of the horror genre to a place among the best of YA fiction. (Ages 12 and up)
I understand that a werewolf rival for Bella, Jacob, eventually crops up, offering her a chance for children and a more normal life (I am not making this up).
Yes, that "YA" is young adult, and yes, the 12 and up (to about eighteen) set of mostly teenage girls was eagerly in line for books, costume contests, trivia contests, etc., from about eight pm on. Some had on tee-shirts, proclaiming "Team Edward" or "Team Jacob," to declare which of Bella's suitors they thought should win out. Harry Potter fever had never quite grabbed my niece, though she reads everything in sight and by age thirteen can complain of "overplotted" novels while swatting at her cellphone, so this was the first "release party" we had been to. Another girl wore a tee on which she had inscribed, "Wizards are so '07," so some have moved on. The point of this post ? The point, dear reader, is that I am very tired. It was also wonderful to be around so much youth and energy. I loved the way they all found each other, met friends of friends and saved places in line for total strangers, admired each other's homemade costumes and buttons, and were just doubly energetic and doubly as patient as the adults around them. We were among the first ten of so in the door, and when we came out, those waiting on line cheered and whooped. My niece got in the car, I snapped on the reading light, she breathlessly read the first page to me (of the second chapter; the first was included at the end of the last book), opened her cellphone, sent a text with a photo of the book in her hands, called a friend and practically screamed "I AM HOLDING IT !" I dropped her off at one-ish, haven't had a text message all day. I assume she is finished by now, maybe finally asleep. A glimpse of only a small part of the readers in waiting is on the right.
While we were all happily seated, a man I'd guess to be in his fifties cycled up to this cycle-unfriendly strip mall to take advantage of the bookstore's extended hours, and parked his 27 speed (?) orange Raleigh right next to the concrete post I was using as a perch (not being a parent, I did not have the lawnchairs pictured above at ready in the trunk just-for-events-like-this). He left it unlocked and without a word to anyone, for long enough to make his way through the crowd to an iced coffee and a book, long enough for me to have taken this picture and put away my phone before he emerged, carrying said items. As he climbed back on, I uttered, in spite of myself, "You didn't even lock it." "What ?" he turned and asked. O, me and my mouthy brain, I thought, repeating what I'd said. "Oh," he assured, "I figured with all you nice folks out here it would be okay." Then he looked at me and the gaggles on the sidewalk filling out their trivia packets. "Well," he added, "You little vampires have a good night."