With the release of the New Moon film only days away, the Twilight phenomenon has again swept its followers into a vampire-loving frenzy. The saga's popularity among tweens and teens is dumbfounding to people outside that demographic. The eternal attraction to Edward Cullen begs the question - just what is it about these books that captivates the hearts of so many girls? 

Kimberly Powers, author of the new book Escaping the Vampire: Desperate for the Immortal Hero and co-founder of Walk the Talk Youth Ministries, has spoken with hundreds of girls who can't get enough of Twilight. Offering a fresh, Christian perspective on the ever-popular topic, Powers suggests the saga's popularity boils down to a spiritual hunger. 

"I've talked to hundreds of girls about this," Powers told Crosswalk.com, "and they've said, ‘Did you see Edward and how he was treating her, how he talked to her, how he was protecting her?' I see a lot of the draw for the (Twilight series books and movies) is wrapped around that desire for a hero, for someone to come alongside and really be interested in your life." 

In Powers' view, the vampire plot is only part of the mystique.  

"Also, girls are excited about the adventure," she said. "A lot of girls that have talked to me have said, ‘My life is so boring. I do this and I do that, but I don't have anything in my life that is exciting and watching movies like this is so cool, because I see somebody else's life that is so full of excitement and adventure.' They have said, ‘Yeah, it's scary, fun and there is a lot of draw in the way it is portrayed as well.'" 

After working with teens for nearly two decades, following the vampire phenomenon for more than year and talking with thousands of girls one-on-one, Powers found that young girls from all walks of life were drawn to it because of a common desire - their longing for love. 

That's where Escaping the Vampire begins. "At the core of every young woman's heart is a longing to be truly, madly and deeply loved," she said. "What's exciting about Escaping the Vampire is that readers can discover the true hero of their souls. They can discover the One who truly offers them freedom and strength and purpose and trust. It is always there and can dash their fear and draw them into a relationship with him." 

DeeDee Kitts of Apex, North Carolina has read all of the books in the Twilight series multiple times with her daughter, 14-year-old Chloe. 

For Chloe, the most compelling aspect of the books' is the old-fashioned part "I think a huge aspect of it is the chivalry. You'll never find Edward not opening Bella's door," she said. "A lot of it for me is raising standards for guys, which a lot of my friends have said this was a good thing for them."

Across the country in Longmont, Colo., 13-year-old Tori Gee couldn't agree more. "It's suspenseful and filled with drama and romance," she said.

Tori's mother, Cheri Gee, sees her daughter drawn by the same coming-of-age dilemmas she faces, with the same desires in her heart.

"I think that this story was appealing to my daughter because she could relate to Bella, who was an awkward teen," Gee said. "I think that the story is set in a regular high school, and not some exotic 18th Century castle, is appealing also. Because of the localized setting, (present day, in the United States,) it was easier to relate to the heroine."

Bella and Edward's love story drew Cheri's daughter as well.

"Besides Tori relating to the character of Bella, it was the first love story she ever read. The love story is a huge draw for young and old. We all want to be loved. We all want to be the heroine of our own story, but we also want to have a knight in shining amour rescue us," Gee continued.

Other moms aren't so sure they want their children focusing on the vampire plot. Sheri Timmers of Cincinnati, Ohio, says she will let John, 13, and Kate, 11, read Harry Potter but not Twilight.