Let me start this out by saying that I am not, nor have I ever been a Twi-hard. I went into teaching knowing what the Twilight books were and absolutely loathing them. Harry Potter was my magical adolescent escape world. I didn't need these stinking Twilight books! Stupid Twilight doesn't even get vampires right!
And yet, as a teacher, I've found a place in my cold, Twilight hating heart for these books. Why? The old "they get kids to read!" argument stands, but that's not all of it. No, the thing about Twilight is that these books are freaking door stoppers, beginning with the first one. Yes, the Harry Potter books grew in length, but the first one was relatively short and light. You could build a house of Twilight books, that's how thick and sturdy they are. I don't know if your house would sparkle, but it might, at least in sunlight. Suddenly, kids that were not wanting to read would get through the Twilight series and want more. They left Twilight behind with an insatiable thirst that could only be filled by one thing. More vampire books!
Harry Potter is fairly a unique story in comparison to Twilight. Normal girl falls for vampire? Oh, there are shelves upon shelves of books around. If you extend it to any old vampire teen book, you'll never run out of reading material. There are all kinds of vampires and reading levels kids can jump into. Twilight was great, but you want you want something easier? The Cirque du Freak books should be about your speed. Are you a Twi-Mom that wants a more mature read? Try the Sookie Stackhouse books, also called the Southern Vampire Mysteries. And yes, that would be Sookie Stackhouse as in True Blood. The books are much better. If you need something even more mature than Sookie, try the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Vampire Academy, Blue Bloods, House of Night, Vampire Diaries, which is experiencing a revival thanks to Twilight, Vladimir Todd, Peeps (by Scott Westerfield, not the Easter candy), High School Bites, Vampire High, Night World, The Morganville Vampires, Vampire Beach, Vampire Kisses, Vampire Rites, Vampire War, The Last Vampire and many, many more books are available for teens to check out.
I have a love/hate relationship with Twilight. Mostly, I love to hate the books. I finally read them last school year and they are a delightfully fluffy escape that will leave your head full of sparkly clouds and no worries. That is, unless you plan on analyzing them, then you'll have a field day over how self deprecating Bella is and Edward's strange stalker tendencies. Doing a character comparison between Edward and Wuthering Height's Heathcliff is even more fun. I personally prefer to live in the delusion that Stephenie Meyer is a satirical genius who has masterfully crafted a work that is actually a parody of itself. If she's self aware enough to have actually created such a satire, I'm sure she's full of chagrin that no one has caught on. Regardless of whether she's that brilliant, I certainly thank her for hooking thousands of teens into her vampire reading frenzy. Once she set up the genre for its current explosion, kids found there were countless vampire books to sate their bloody need.
Now, if you happen to be on Team Jacob, werewolves don't seem to be as popular as their blood drinking friends. However, you can still find a decent amount of books to read to fill your lunar needs.
A couple years ago, I never imagined I'd be defending Twilight. I still don't think they are great works of literature and question a lot of the stereotypes that Meyer establishes as ideal. However, hopefully reading Twilight books can foster a love of reading that will grow until kids read other books that help them question those issues.