I could just say Stephenie Meyer is required reading when dealing with teenage girls these days. Or maybe it's the teenage girl in me who likes the love stories and the fantasy stuff. Whatever... - after really enjoying the Twilight series (books and movies) I was curious about The Host (2008) too and decided on it as holiday reading.
The story is simple: Tiny silvery aliens (called Souls) take over worlds as parasites inside their hosts' bodies, eliminating their minds while keeping their memories and habits. On earth, there are some human minds who aren't willing to give up and who fight back. So Melanie Stryder's mind continues to live inside her old body along with the alien mind of the Wanderer and forces her to go looking for her family which live in a small community of free humans in the Arizonian desert. When Melanie/Wanderer joins this community a series of complicated relationships and love stories begins.
Basic questions: What makes us human? What is good or bad? What makes us who we are?
The book was entertaining and an enjoyable light read. I liked the setting because I have vivid memories of the Sonoran desert. The genre is a mix of science fiction, fantasy and love story, advertised as "science fiction for people who don't like science fiction" - which says it all.
The kindle edition had quite a lot of additional material at the end: an interview with the author, a track list of music Stephenie Meyer listened to while writing, additional scenes (already written in regard to making a movie out of it) and even a collection of discussion questions (for possible use for school reading?!). This was a bit unusual, I thought, you normally don't get this kind of information in a book, but possibly on a website. Things are changing, obviously.
Strange fact at last: In these notes at the end of the book I found out that Stephenie Meyer intended to write this book for adult readers and she seems convinced to have done so. She's even contemplating if young adult readers will read (and understand) the book too. I read The Host with the same expectations as if reading another Twilight novel and I did not once think it was only suitable for adults. Simple story, love and jealousy and a bit of complicated dialogues and personality mix-up (new being only that this takes place just inside one body), but not more. No real literature - and I wouldn't recommend it as such.