YA Romance Reviews

Ode to L.J. Smith’s SOULMATE: Gateway Drug to My Lifelong Obsession with YA Paranormal Romance

soulmateLong, long ago, I dragged my mother into the nearest Barnes and Noble and proceeded to dance up and down the aisles of that new-to-me-year-round-book-fair in shameless glee.  It was in this manner that I stumbled upon the teen section–then a single row of shelves that stood between adult sci-fi/fantasy and the children’s section. Curious, I began pulling random YA books from the shelves, but nothing really grabbed me until I saw a line of thin, black books, resting on the bottom shelf.  I reached for one of the titles, and an electric shock traveled up my arm.  Despite its terrible cover art, I knew I’d found my Soulmate.

This was my first vampire-boyfriend book and though I’m no longer a fan of what’s become a cliché in paranormal fiction, I can still enjoy this book with its tight narrative; strong heroine and old soul, Hannah Snow; cool other-life flash backs; and mega antagonist, Maya the vamp-i-ya.  Without giving too much away, I found the ending rather satisfying as Hannah had to save herself.

I remember my mother wanted to “check” the book before I read it, but I took it to my room and ate it in three hours.  Emerging from my room, I proceeded to wander about the house, ghost-like–not sure exactly what just happened…but knowing I wanted more.

If, one day, somebody reads my book and gets that post-reading, fantasy high, I will have done my job.

Michelle Joyce Bond

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26 thoughts on “Ode to L.J. Smith’s SOULMATE: Gateway Drug to My Lifelong Obsession with YA Paranormal Romance

  1. Great post,excellent topic! You Browner! LOL Oh but forgive me. Let me introduction myself. I’m Count Alucard, which we all know is Dracula spelled backwards! Might I say your jugular does look tempting. Of corpse I could perform a small execution if you wish? Sci-Fi Buff

  2. I remember I read Demon In My View by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes when I was eleven, and had a similar experience. It was another brooding-vampire-in-my-highschool book, written in 2000 before the craze infected millions. I honestly don’t like romantic subplots much anymore, but I remember loving this because for every scene of “oh dear our love is doomed” there were at least three bloodthirsty and ass-kicking scenes which followed. It definitely influenced my love of paranormal fiction. It was also one of the first books I ever hid from my parents, thus starting a long and glorious tradition of reading violent books very sneakily.

    It’s so strange to remember when the Young Adult section was just a tiny offshoot of kid’s stuff. I’m so happy I get to experience the change while it’s happening. And books like these, while not exactly the stuff of school book reports, were very important to that growth. Yay for recognizing them! And yay for the thin, black books on the bottom shelf! At my library, those were the Sweep novels – a teen witchcraft series. Also influenced me way more than I’d like to admit.

  3. L J Smith was my first paranormal romance too! But I think it was her first Night World book, with James and Poppy. I tried to reread them recently and found them a bit sparsely written, I’m a bit too old for them now I guess, but at that age I loved them and I’d like to write something similar myself one day! It actually annoys me that her Vampire Diary series is being continued using L J’s name but by a ghost writer – SO WRONG. The trilogy did have an ending, unlike Night World… Oh for the tenth book! Lol.

      1. Hmm, although there’s still surprisingly little out there for MG / early YA readers in this genre – I’d still give her books to someone that age today.

  4. I love L.J. Smith!!!

    HER writing, not the ghost writers the have that kicked her off her own Vampire Diaries, Secret Circle, and Forbidden Game books.

    Night World, and Dark Visions were awesome, I’m still waiting for the Strange Fate to be finished…

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