The key to transitioning from reading young adult novels to reading classic novels lies in the plot. Many young adult novels are affiliated with the supernatural, be it vampires, werewolves, zombies, or magic. The common factor is an element of fantasy. Most teens dismiss classic literature as boring but what they might not know is that classic novels were catalysts for contemporary young adult novels. Examples include Dracula by, Bram Stoker and Frankenstein by, Mary Shelley. Dracula and Frankenstein are two of the oldest fantasy novels. Frankenstein is considered by some to be the first science-fiction novel and Dracula, of course, was the first novel to debut vampires. They are also two of the most famous classic novels– cult classics, even.
Dracula was written in 1897 and Frankenstein was written in 1818. Dracula is the story of a vampire who moves from England to Romania. Jonathan Harker is in charge of Dracula’s move but after spending time in his castle, he starts to suspect that Dracula is a vampire. Once he comes to this realization, he also realizes that he’s trapped in the castle and barely escapes with his life. He makes his way back home but little does he know that Dracula is now terrorizing his fiancee Mina and her friend Lucy by drinking their blood. Lucy begins to become very sick and Mina calls Dr. Van Helsing for help and he realizes what is happening to her but does not reveal it. Mina then becomes sick herself and it is then when Van Helsing and others try and put a stop to Dracula and they follow him back to Transylvania for a final battle.
Frankenstein is the story of a mad scientist named Victor Frankenstein who creates a creature. Frankenstein is commonly mistaken as the monster when in fact, Frankenstein is the creator of the monster. Victor has been passionate about science since he was a child and gets the idea of reanimation from watching lighting strike a tree. He reanimates a creature with expectations of beauty and is disappointed with how the creature turns out and rejects him, so the creature flees. Victor sees his creature again framed for his brother’s death. The creature explains his innocence and says that if Victor would make him a female companion, he would leave him alone forever. Victor agrees and makes him a companion but kills her out of fear of them breeding and creating a race. The creature sees Victor kill his companion-to-be and the two fight for the last time.
While it is true that classic novels start off slow, it is worth it to read them until the end. It is easier to ease into classic literature with novels that include aspects of what you’re already used to reading. The familiarity is essential in transitioning!
-Sarah B., 12th grade