Students swooning over “Twilight” book series, movie

Young women are in love. ItâÄôs not with the boy next door, or even the boy sitting next to them in class. TheyâÄôre in love with a vampire. Edward Cullen, one of the main characters of Stephenie MeyerâÄôs book âÄúTwilight,âÄù is capturing the hearts of young women across the country, including some at the University of Minnesota. The four-book series, following the love story between a human girl and a vampire, has sold 17 million copies worldwide and the first installment debuts in theaters Friday. Elementary education and Spanish studies sophomore Becki Etzel couldnâÄôt think of a better way to spend her birthday than seeing âÄúTwilightâÄù on Friday night. Etzel said she began reading the book series after it was recommended to her by a friend, but she was reluctant about reading something with a vampire as a main character. Putting aside the fact that the book might be a little strange, Etzel said after picking up the first book in the series, she read through the first three books in only four days. âÄúBella, the main character, is really down-to-earth and insecure,âÄù she said. âÄúShe seems kind of like a real person, so it brings the supernatural level down to a normal level.âÄù Behind the mystical element is a true love story, Etzel said. The romance, especially the character of Edward, is what kept history sophomore Kendra Malinowski reading the novels. Malinowski said she and a friend looked into the novels after seeing bumper stickers on Facebook profiles that said things like âÄúI love Edward.âÄù The use of social networking websites like Facebook to advertise the âÄúTwilightâÄù series is something for which Meyer is getting praise. Malinowski said ultimately, however, it was word of mouth that pushed her to read the novels. Although the Internet is playing a role in getting college-aged students to read new books, word of mouth is still the force to be reckoned with, Julie Schumacher , director of the creative writing program at the University, said. âÄúIt sounds like people are flocking to these things,âÄù Schumacher said of MeyerâÄôs series. âÄúPeople are attracted to things that are scary and romantic.âÄù Fans of the book are planning to go in droves to the movie version of âÄúTwilightâÄù beginning with the midnight showing on Friday. Bob Strong, complex manager of Kerasotes Block E Stadium 15 , said he expects to sell out two auditoriums of 500 seats for the midnight showing alone. Early in the week, half of the seats were already sold out for one of the showings, he said. As early as Oct. 31, advance ticket sales for âÄúTwilightâÄù accounted for 51 percent of sales on Fandango.com, a movie ticket sales website. According to a Fandango.com survey of more than 5,000 moviegoers, 92 percent of respondents said they planned to see âÄúTwilightâÄù on opening weekend. The heavy majority of the respondents âÄî 95 percent âÄî were female, 58 percent of whom were under the age of 25. While 85 percent of the respondents also said they plan to see the film more than once , international business sophomore Amanda Free doesnâÄôt want to see the movie at all. Although Free said she is a fan of the novels, she believes the movie will only ruin what sheâÄôs imagined while reading the books. âÄúEverything I read is how I see it and what I imagined it to be,âÄù she said, âÄúand when you see a movie then you imagine those characters and what they portrayed.âÄù From previews alone, Free said she thought the actress chosen for the character of Bella was âÄútoo rugged lookingâÄù and Edward wasnâÄôt at all what she pictured him to be in her mind. Schumacher said itâÄôs common for readers who prefer visual imagery to be excited for a movie version and readers who are âÄúword peopleâÄù to be wary of images constructed from someone elseâÄôs view of the novel. Etzel said she is going to the movie with an open mind. âÄúYou canâÄôt necessarily have high expectations going into the movie,âÄù she said. âÄúYou just have to take it as another interpretation.âÄù