The youngsters of Hyderabad are reading everything from ‘2 States' to ‘Wolf Hall'. Suvasini Sridharan finds out more

Star crossed lovers never seem to go out of style. Think Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, albeit in this case Romeo is a gorgeous but tormented vampire and Juliet is a beautiful maiden who seems to be a magnet for danger and a bit of an adrenaline junkie.

It is no wonder then that Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series is such a hit among youngsters. Though a little later than the rest of the world, nevertheless the craze has bit India, pun intended. Youngsters cannot get enough of Bella, Edward and all the drama.

With the Twilight films in theatres in Hyderabad, many are reading the books before watching the movies. “I love the characters in the series,” says 16-year-old student, Ayesha Chopra. “The suspense and romance in all the four books kept me hooked.” The hot vampire, Edward has more than his share of fans. “I enjoyed the Twilight books only because of the impossibly hot protagonist,” says 19-year-old Vidhya R.

The hype around the vampire-fantasy series has been oft-compared to that created by the Harry Potter series. Though all do not subscribe to this comparison. “I had to summon all my patience to finish the books,” says 20-year-old Jaya Raman. “They are engaging, but very shallow and poorly written.” She adds that “comparisons to the Harry Potter series are ridiculous.”

Another book which is doing the rounds is Chetan Bhagat's 2 States, which has the pre-requisite star-crossed lovers as well. This time the north Indian-south Indian gulf causes problems for the protagonists. Bhagat's books have always been popular with the youth of the country and this book is no exception. “Chetan Bhagat's books are light and humorous,” says 20-year-old Payal. “They are not to be taken seriously, but just to be enjoyed.”

Among youngsters there are harsh critics of the books. Arun Krishnan characterises Chetan Bhagat's books as “fast reads and mindless entertainment.” The 24-year-old says that 2 States is filled with clichés and stereotypes. However, 23-year-old Nivedita N. puts the popularity of the books into perspective. “I have seen some of my friends who have never read a single book in their life, getting hooked onto Chetan Bhagat's books,” she says. “His books cater to a larger audience and allow them to think and understand various issues.”

Ever so often a book comes out which is read across the world, defying age and taste – be it J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series or Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol. These books might not be literary masterpieces but they nevertheless capture the imagination of the people. But there are also those youngsters who prefer books of a particular genre.

Twenty-three-year-old Akshara Mohan who cannot get enough of court-room dramas says that John Grisham is one of her favourite authors. “When John Grisham's collection of short stories, Ford County, came out recently I rushed out to pick up a copy,” she says.Vinay P., on the other hand, prefers books of a more literary nature. The 22-year-old is reading Hilary Mantel's Man Booker Prize-winning Wolf Hall at the moment. Vinay says, “I love the detail and style of writing, she makes the period come alive.” Whereas, fans of the fantasy genre like 17-year-old Shwetha Reddy are eagerly waiting for Christopher Paolini's next instalment in the Inheritance cycle series, after the popular Brisinger.

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