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Abusive is the New Sexy: Why Books like ‘Twilight’ are Dangerous

When it comes to dating boys, I have always been attracted to the sarcastic nerd type. They’re smart, sweet, respectful, adorable, and have the weirdest sense of humour. What’s not to love? Unfortunately, the sarcastic nerd as a love interest is rarely if ever seen in young adult (teen) novels. From Twilight to Hush, Hush to the Mortal Instruments series, every single young adult (often referred to as YA) book written for teenage girls in the last five or six years has featured a sexy, dangerous, rebellious, and often supernatural boyfriend for the female main character. Becca Fitzpatrick, the woman responsible for Hush, Hush and its sequels (a series about a fallen angel falling in love with a mortal teenage girl) proudly states in interviews that she set out to write the “ultimate sexy bad boy.” 

So what’s wrong with this? Most girls—for reasons I will never understand—love dangerous, sexy rebels. The problem is that there is an extraordinarily thin line between rebel and jerkass and an even thinner line between dangerous and abusive. (I don’t object to sexy; I’m a fan of sexy.) In Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones, “sexy” demon hunter Jace is a complete asshole to all mortal humans. He calls all humans mundies (short for mundanes) and acts like a pretentious dickhead to them all. In Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight, the infamous Edward Cullen purposely breaks his girlfriend Bella’s car to keep her from visiting a friend of hers that Edward ...