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Switched (My Sister the Vampire, #1)
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What the Critics are Saying About MSTV

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message 1: by Daisy, The Brains (last edited Oct 27, 2014 08:25AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Daisy | 1399 comments Hello friends! I've been thinking I would quite like to have a bit of a conversation with you guys about what some people say about My Sister the Vampire (MBTW isn't as popular and so doesn't really inspire the same amount of criticism) and what it says to the kids reading it.

I would quite like to start on a positive note, so here's some nice things people have been saying about the object of our fangirling:

Lots of parents have children (particularly girls) who want to read vampire fiction (which has become increasingly popular in recent years), but they worry are too young for things like Twilight and Vampire Academy. My Sister the Vampire is very much about vampires but these ones aren't scary, they're actually just people who happen to prefer darker colours and bloodier diets. They haven't sucked people's blood for centuries and they file their fangs.

The series is also a great stereo-type-smasher (lol, I just invented a new phrase!), in the fact that cheerleaders, goths and sci-fi geeks are all unconditional friends, liking each other simply because they like each other. It's also worth pointing out that Ivy is not your typical goth and Olivia isn't your typical cheerleader.

I've also been doing a bit of research on what some of the more negative reviewers are thinking:

The main characters in MSTV are Olivia and Ivy, who are thirteen (and in later books fourteen), wear a lot of make-up daily and are open to having mature relationships. Some people worry that these aren't the sort of characters that they what setting an example to their children. (sorry this part is very short but I don't criticize MSTV often and to be honest the community of haters for this series is significantly small)

I'm really interested to see what some of you awesome members think of these opinions. And if you've heard any other criticisms towards the MSTV books and their morals, please post them in the comments below. Thanks!

message 2: by Daisy, The Brains (new) - rated it 5 stars

Daisy | 1399 comments I personally think the reviews that say you shouldn't let your kids read this series are being really silly. I'll admit, Olivia and Ivy are portrayed as (and are) really nice people, and they do wear a lot of make-up and date boys at quite a young age, but I started reading the series way before I was 13 and never thought I had to wear make-up and have a boyfriend when I reached that age.

The thing about the relationships is that they are displayed in a very healthy way. Ivy and Olivia never take the fact that they are popular for granted, and neither do they take Brendan or Jackson for granted. Okay, so maybe in the later books it started to get a little out of hand, like how Jackson and Olivia told each other they loved one another (and I am talking about an actual "I love you") in Double Disaster (MSTV #13) when they were still only fourteen, and that whole cheating thing in Secret and Spies (MSTV #15), but the earlier ones are absolutely fine. Olivia was single for the first four books and it never bothered her or anyone else.

As for the make-up, I don't really think this is a big issue because it's not like the book is about make-up (can you imagine 'My Sister Wears Make-up'!), it's just a tiny aspect. People have to remember that them wearing make-up probably wasn't just thrown in for no good reason, it actually gives Ivy and Olivia's switching scenes a lot more depth and makes them more entertaining (in my opinion anyway).

message 3: by Sophie, The Joker (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sophie | 1253 comments This is a cool discussion! I agree that MSTV is perfectly fine for younger readers. You can't shield kids from everything forever. I'm definitely going to read the series to my younger sister when she is (nearly said older, that would defeat the purpose of what I'm saying, lol) aware. She's only two at the moment. I've already tried to force *cough* show it to my 9yr old brother. Everything covered in the books (the odd kiss, relationships and make-up; is shown in a positive light and people criticising it need to realise their children have access to much more mature content (whatever that means) all around them everyday as they go through life. Stopping them reading this book wont stop that.

PS. My Sister Wears Make-up. I'm laughing so hard :D

message 4: by Daisy, The Brains (new) - rated it 5 stars

Daisy | 1399 comments Thanks, Soph. The thing is with books is that you're never going to get one where everyone is perfect and innocent, and when you look at some of the other books out there, MSTV is pretty much golden. There's no swearing, violence, abuse or anything like that. Really funny comment by the way. :D

message 5: by Sophie, The Joker (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sophie | 1253 comments :D Agreed

Sage (sage-m-goodreads) Sorry if I'm posting too much at once and clogging everyone's feeds--just let me know and I'll stop. (I haven't been on Goodreads in months and had to make a new account today.)

I don't understand how parents look down at My Sister the Vampire, with its positive view of friendships between both sisters and girls who are in many ways different, and then push their children toward stories with A) less female characters, and b)these stories which promote girl-hate. Twilight and Vampire Academy both did this not-like-other-girls, cheerleaders-and-goths-can't-be-friends stuff. All because the characters are wearing make-up. And I'm guessing young boys aren't allowed to read the books at all because they're "for girls."

Look. Parents. Your children's friends are growing up with other girls who are experimenting with make-up, who are JV cheerleaders and budding goths, who are feminine and gender non-conforming, and who are interested in boys. Girls need more stories where the cheerleader isn't looked at as shallow, mean, or snobby, and where the goth isn't looked at as either better or worse than others. Girls need more stories where they work together, not compete for boys' attention. Girls need more stories where their schoolwork, hobbies, family and friends, etc. are just as important as healthy relationships with their boyfriends.

Children don't grow up with these ideas about what a girl should and shouldn't be. The adults around them teach them how to view girls. Sienna Mercer is setting a good example, in my opinion!

message 7: by Emy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Emy I so agree with everything you just said (last 3 paragraphs)

message 8: by Sophie, The Joker (last edited Jan 25, 2017 09:31AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sophie | 1253 comments I completely agree. You make some fantastic points!

message 9: by Daisy, The Brains (new) - rated it 5 stars

Daisy | 1399 comments I also agree with everything you said Kayla! I definitely think that it's an issue that lots of books in the children's or pre-teen/Middle Grade genres that have girl main characters are marketed as 'for girls' or 'not for boys', yet books with male main characters can be for girls and boys. In the YA genre, it's less of an issue (particularly since things like The Hunger Games), but for some reason pre-teen, when it comes to boys reading about girls etc., is still stuck in the Middle Ages. I definitely think MSTV could be enjoyed by boys as much as girls, and people shouldn't say it's a girl's book, because it doesn't have to be - just like pink isn't necessarily a girl's colour.

P.S. Don't worry about it Kayla - please comment as much and often as you like! We don't mind!

message 10: by Sage (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sage (sage-m-goodreads) Yeah? I would have thought it was the other way around. From my perspective, Middle Grade was trying to move away from the "you must hate other girls" mentality, while YA and pre-teen was running toward it with open arms!

It's like authors, even female authors, say to themselves, "How am I going to make my protagonist important to the young, impressionable girls reading this? How can I introduce conflict and push the plot along?" So they create this popular, typically beautiful cheerleader, typically wealthy, who will target the female protagonist and try her best to make her miserable. Sound familiar? It's a rather common and toxic theme in girls' books.

Thankfully, Mercer was like, "No, I can make my protagonists awesome without superficial comparisons like those. They're twins, one's a vampire, and they get into shenanigans with their equally cool and awesome friends. Boom."

message 11: by Daisy, The Brains (new) - rated it 5 stars

Daisy | 1399 comments Well I suppose when you're talking about the characters inside books, Middle Grade has a more healthy attitude about girls than YA, but I was talking more about how books with female protagonists are portrayed by real people, outside the book, who are expressing their opinion on who the book should be marketed at.

I agree with what you said about how authors try to make their characters stand out to their readers, and not always in the best ways in terms of influence to the young people reading it. Sienna Mercer is awesome because she created honest, genuine characters that we, as readers, like as people and like reading about without the book screaming at us that we must like the characters, if any of that makes sense.

Sophie and I were actually having a similar conversation the other day about how lots of romances in books are displayed, in the book, as okay, when actually they're crossing a lot of lines about abusive relationships. It's wrong because it can make a lot of impressionable young readers think that abuse like that is okay, when it really isn't. There's nothing like that displayed in any of the relationships in MSTV, so that's another reason why it's such a great book series.

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