So, that last post went off-kilter. I was going to write about this fantastic book I just finished the other day, The Society of S by Susan Hubbard, and it won’t be giving anything away to say that it is about vampires (which is how I got sidetracked before in the first place).
Fortunately, it is also the story of a thirteen-year-old girl, and this is where it shines. Fans of Twilight, take notice! This is the book I was hoping, perhaps expecting, Twilight to be when I read that earlier this summer. While I will not (again) disparage Stephenie Meyer’s work a great deal (I did like the book), Twilight I thought to simply be overly long, as I’ve mentioned before, and could have easily lost a hundred or so pages, if not more. Since the sequels are just as long, if not longer, it will be quite some time before I read them (if ever) especially considering that they are never at my library and there is a long request list for them.
That being said, The Society of S is the book I had expected to read from the praise I had heard about Twilight. Hubbard’s novel deserves all that praise and more. It is simply beautifully written. Hubbard’s prose is marvelous and her quirky narrator conveys a wonderfully young naivete, further heightened by her lack of worldly experience because of her young homebound life. Luckily, and another credit to Hubbard’s writing, Ariella’s eloquence is more than explained by her curious upbringing and the homeschooling she receives from her father, so, unlike some novels where the narrator or other characters seem rather precocious, Ari’s intelligence and vocabulary fit, despite her age.
Why they are not marketing this book to the teen/YA audience is beyond me. The lack of sex and language alone makes this a completely appropriate read for a teen at Ariella’s age level of 13-14 (though there is one very small scene involving marijuana). The Society of S also features some classic tropes of the teen novel: a powerful coming of age story, dealing with separated parents and family issues, first awkward interactions with members of the opposite sex, and most importantly, real teen emotions and concerns. And to top it all off, the novel has an absolutely fascinating portrayal, perhaps re-conception is a better description, of the always popular vampire. If nothing else, this book had better make the top of the Alex Awards this year.