Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" series, whose fourth installment, "Breaking Dawn," goes on sale at midnight, is about a romance between high school students, the vampire Edward and ordinary Bella, and is being marketed to teenagers.
But woe to the 14-year-old who finds herself between the book display and a grown woman intent on getting at least half the chapters read before her kids wake up Saturday.
Many grownups have never heard of these young adult books, yet they've sold more than 5 million copies since the first, "Twilight," appeared in 2005, followed by "New Moon" and "Eclipse." A movie comes out in December.
At www.Twilightmoms.com, thousands of women have embraced Meyer's books with a heartfelt ferocity, their re- ignited memories of first love softening the edges of mortgages and soccer practice.
These women, mostly in their 30s, seek to reassure themselves that they're not the only ones who have "imagined your husband is a vampire (or werewolf) and suddenly have the libido of a newlywed again," said website founder Lisa Hansen.
"I'm for sure putting in back-to-back videos for the kids on Saturday," said Stacey Erickson, an Eagan mother of three and Twilight Mom who, at age 35, has found herself head-over-heels in love with -- well, love. Meyers, she said, "just captures that feeling of having such a crush on some boy, that if he ever even brushed against you, you would shiver."
"There's just this amazing sense of newfound love," Erickson continued. "Most of us, we're married, and that's just not our lives any longer. It's not that we don't love our spouses. We really do! But she captures that feeling of being so in love with somebody and so hyper-aware of his existence that ..."
The story revolves around Bella, a teenage girl who moves to Forks, a small town on a rainy (read: moody, moory) peninsula in Washington. There, she falls in love with Edward, a rich and impossibly gorgeous teen, only to learn that he's really a vampire, albeit a recovering bloodsucker. He loves Bella, too, but must fight his feelings because he knows that he could kill her.
Still, they love each other so much. With "Breaking Dawn," fans will learn whether or not the two will marry. It's worth noting that through three books, the two have done nothing more than kiss, and this romantic restraint holds a lot of appeal for some moms, especially moms of daughters.
"I know for some of my friends, the books have been real springboards for discussions with their daughters about physical attraction, about things that your body wants and how to resist those things and why," Erickson said.
Mothers aren't the only older women ga-ga over these books. Julie Price is 35 and single and loves them "because they remind you of being young again, of how intense your feelings are when you're a teenager. It makes your heart race."
Price also voiced a common refrain among Twilight's older readers: She had never before read a vampire story, only to find herself hooked. "There's something very appealing about the culture of the vampire," she said. "They're so beautiful and untouchable. And how Edward is overcoming his vices, his natural tendencies, makes him even more exciting. He could kill her, but he loves her."
Erickson and her kindred Twilight Moms plan on making a night of it in Edina, going to the movie "Mamma Mia," then eating dinner at The Cheesecake Factory before getting to the bookstore by midnight.
Price and a like-minded friend will be at their neighborhood bookstore in Eagan at midnight, then head home for a sleepover where, just like teenagers, they'll get very little sleep.
Kim Ode • 612-673-7185