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The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

‘Awoken’ sarcastically mocks typical teen romance

Awoken sarcastically mocks typical teen romance

4112ggHudKLPoe’s Law states the idea that people have difficulty telling the difference between radical expressions and a parody of these radical expressions. Whenever an author intends his or her work as straight-forward satire, the majority of people will take it as serious work without a second thought – and that’s a fitting description of false author Serra Elinsen’s young adult debut novel, Awoken.

You will know this novel is a joke when the story begins with an unusually fantastical girl dreaming about a giant sea creature and admiring its squid-like appearance. Many who rarely read horror stories about eerie abominations would be rather aroused by this paranormal romance.

The truth is, author Serra Elinsen is not an Ohioan “part-time author, full-time mom”; she’s actually two female Internet celebrities, Lindsay Ellis and Antonella “Nella” Inserra. Lindsay Ellis, who is known for playing The Nostalgia Chick, a female counterpart of internet reviewer Doug Walker’s famous character, got a lot of twitter questions from her fans whether she’s writing a novel or not.

It was during a time when more film adaptations of paranormal romances like “Beautiful Creatures” or “The Host” came out like wildfire, Ellis and her former college roommate Inserra thought that they could self-publish a novel poking fun at popular Twilight-like love stories by creating an interactive web-series, titled 50 Shades of Green. They drank alcohol, discussed blockbuster romances like Fifty Shades of Grey, read fans’ ideas to brainstorm the book’s plot, and selected the one based on Inserra’s throwaway line: “We want to go on a journey of self discovering a Lovecraftian sense.” They chose ‘Twilight’ with H.P. Lovecraft. H.P. Lovecraft was a pulp fiction author known for creating the very dramatic and strange “cosmic horror” genre.

It’s hilarious to see people buy more copies of Awoken through kindle and loving it’s originality, without knowing the author’s intent. The book follows the similar young adult paranormal romance formula, but this time in very tongue-and-cheek way.

After having a disturbed dream about the sea monster, Andromeda ‘Andi’ Slate – an questioningly unusual name for a Rhode Islander – lives her ordinary life with her professor parents. Her best friends are Bree and Vik. Vik is an Indian nerd who has an ancient book, Necronomicon, which he got from his archaeologist parents. During a stormy night, when they read the ancient book, the weather becomes very aggressive and gives Andi and her buddies a fright. The next day a new kid, Riley, comes to town. He’s no ordinary boy, though, because he possesses hideous strength, depressed facial features and likes to stalks Andi and her friends. That night, at the pool party, with Riley invited, Andi is almost drowned by a boy named Travis; however, later ominous forces come and make Travis float unconscious in the pool water. Soon Andi discover what Riley really is-an old soul who wants to ruin humanity, but can’t tell anyone about the shocking truth without looking insane. As the two became closer, Riley finds himself falling in love with Andi, who happens to be the chosen one in the ancient prophecy. This is where the apocalyptic adventure of our lovers begins.

Despite being a love story, the plot manages to pay homage to the similar structure of H.P. Lovecraft stories, yet the book possesses everything that notable Lovecraft admirer Stephen King vehemently hates. The book contains too many adverbs, unnecessary details, stereotypes, and worst of all, an abusive use of the thesaurus. It’s noticeable that Ellis and Inserra wanted Serra Elinsen to be a parody embodiment of Stephanie Meyer, by making a reference to Meyer using her dream as a concept for her debut novel and an obscure Christian belief.

With its unique intention by a young adult fiction standard, Awoken is a memorable read, in a so-bad-it’s-good kind of way. For anyone who has ever read Lovecraft’s work or the Lovecraft-inspired works of Stephen King or Neil Gaiman, they would respect the idea of mixing generic teen romance with Cuthulu mythology, especially when it’s done so well.

Literary nerds would laugh at Awoken for how silly the concept is, but admire how the author executed this big concept. Elinsen, or Ellis and her internet followers, deserve better recognition for creating not only the most divisive cult literature in the Twitter era, but also creating the most successful mixture of teen paranormal romance with tentacles.
By Jay Whang

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