Young Adult fantasy romance novels-turned-movies are all the rage these days. The trend started with angsty Bella Swan and her undead, hunky boy toy, Edward Cullen. The Twilight franchise swept the world by storm with Twihards flocking to theaters and bookstores for the latest releases.

But film critics and viewers alike have acknowledged that the quality of Twilight is less than subpar, and the overall message of the series is degrading in some ways. Last Friday (Feb. 15) a new film from the YA genre came out: Beautiful Creatures.

The characters have that same gothic chic aura about them, and the story is still one of love, but with several major improvements. Beautiful Creatures centers on a witch, Lena Duchannes, from a magical family (preferably called “Casters”) and a brainy southern boy, Ethan Wate, who falls for her.

Here are 5 reasons Beautiful Creatures is a better story and film than Twilight will ever be:

1. Girl Power

After watching Edward Cullen spidermonkey leap all around Forks, Washington, for five movies, it was time for a girl to take center stage with powers to boot. The average YA reader and viewer tends to be a young female, so why not give that girl a positive role model, Matilda-style? Bella Swan had to die to get any powers, and even then was to protect her loved ones (read: be a stay-at-home mom).

Lena is said to be one of the most powerful casters in the country, and her boyfriend isn’t trying to dabble in her powers. He’s happy to let her take the reigns while supporting her during a difficult time.

2. Life Beyond Love

Bella Swan spends five films (and four books) pining after the man she loves. There’s nothing wrong with love, but Bella has no aspirations beyond creating a life with her sallow-skinned sweetheart. She has no career goals, real friends (except for the furry werewolf who wishes he was her main squeeze), or even hobbies.

Not only does Lena have the mystical powers, but Ethan has major dreams of getting out of his small town and going to college in New York. He’s read practically every book his town has banned and often talks about the future and moving forward. Their love fits into both of their futures in a way that doesn’t compromise their individuality or life plans.

3. Controlling Your Destiny

Lena’s major conflict comes from the curse that will “claim her” for the light or the dark on her 16th birthday. So her power could go entirely to evil or to good. As her love for Ethan and his support intensifies, she comes to realize that she has control over her own destiny. No predestined fate awaits her, but instead, she chooses her own path.  

Bella, on the other hand, seemed “destined” to drag on Edward's coattails until they married, had sex once, produced an animorph baby, and she died. Womp.

4. Legitimate Actors

No offense, Kristen Stewart, but your desperate pleas for Edward not to leave Bella are almost as pathetic as your public apology to Robert Pattinson. We don’t love you, we don’t love you, we’re not sorry.

Beautiful Creatures is filled with A-list actors like Emma Thompson, Viola Davis, and Jeremy Irons, all of whom put their everything into the film, making it not only a great story, but also an engaging movie to watch. The actors who play the two lovers are relatively new to the business, but their innocence is more endearing than infuriating.

5. Real Sacrifice

Bella Swan does not grasp the concept of real sacrifice. The one time her century-old lover leaves her to help keep her from harm, she spirals into a deep depression, and eventually ends up curling into a ball in the woods. She literally would have died and decomposed in that leaf pile if her canine companion hadn’t sniffed out her scent of weakness.

When Lena learns that her family and the curse that follows her would put the man she loves in danger, she wipes his memory of their love entirely. She’s forced to see him day after day, and act as if nothing had happened with the love of her life. That’s sacrifice. Take note, Bella.

Still not convinced? Go see for yourself! Do you prefer Beautiful Creatures over Twilight? Weigh in below!