Twilight (Book 1 in the Twilight Series)
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Page Length: 498
Reading Level: 5.6
Genre: Fiction, Suspense, Romance
PLOT SUMMARY: After Bella Swan moves away from her mother in Phoenix to live with her father in the gloomy city of Forks, she befriends a mysterious teenage boy named Edward Cullen. However, “befriends” is not exactly the most appropriate way to describe the evolution of Bella and Edward’s relationship. The two teenagers fall madly in love with each other! Bella is most attracted to how beautiful, odd, and different Edward is to all the other boys in Forks. Edward is attracted to the way Bella “smells” and her very “human” qualities.
Edward is different in that he is a vampire. Bella is different in that she is attracted to one. Many of the citizens of Forks view Edward and his family as different, however very few speak the word “vampire”. Edward explains to Bella that he and his “family” are vampires; the kind that abstain from feeding on human flesh. Edward goes on to say that he is greatly attracted to Bella in the primal sense and gives everything not to devour her in the literal sense. Oddly this does not seem to affect Bella who understands that even though Edward has a major craving to kill her, he also has an undying desire to love her. Edward is different in that he is battling two very opposing emotions.
Edward is a nearly 100 year old vampire in a teenage body that has discovered his first true love. Bella is a true teenager and has also discovered her first true love.
When outsider vampires arrive to Forks, they sniff out Bella as well as Edward’s attraction towards her. These new vampires begin their “hunt” for Bella. Edward’s family (good vampires) do all they can to protect Bella and evade these evil vampires. In the end, the evil vampires lose and Bella is saved. However, Bella has been bitten!!! Edward makes the decision to suck the venom out of Bella, thus saving her from becoming a vampire.
The novel ends with Edward taking Bella to their high school prom. At this event, Bella expresses her desire to become a vampire. Even though she knows why Edward sucked the blood from her, she wishes he hadn’t. Bella desires to become a vampire so she and Edward can live together for eternity in love. Edward does all he can to keep himself from giving in to her request. He kisses her ever so slightly on the neck as the first novel in the Twilight series closes.
REVIEW: I absolutely loved this book. I am not much for romance novels but setting a romance story within the backdrop of a gloomy town with vampires in it was brilliant. The nearly 500 pages went by quickly as I was consumed. Now, the first few chapters start out a little rough with over-usage of “big words” but this decreases as the story progresses. It did appear that Edward and Bella became attracted to each other rather quickly, but I believe the author was trying to portray an accurate depiction of true love. Much of the novel contains dialogue between Bella and Edward – Edward stating that he loves Bella deeply, but knows he could very easily kill her & Bella stating that she doesn’t care because she wants to be with him forever. This type of conservation occurs frequently – though a little repetitive (however I believe this is authentic dialogue when one considers that the characters are two teenagers in love).
The novel has created much buzz in the young adult literary world and has spawned the 2008 movie by the same name which, in it’s first weekend, made over $70 million. On the radio, web, and conversations with teachers, I have heard such things as, “my male students want to be Edward Cullen”, “I know someone who broke up with her boyfriend because of the book”, and “I have read this book 3 times in one week”. All three statements are pretty extreme, yet very real.
Books can have an amazing impact on readers, and Twilight is one (in a series) that I believe falls into such a category.
AREAS FOR TEACHING: good vs. evil, foreshadowing, characterization, & setting. Before you read: make sure you read the Genesis quote at the beginning as well as the Preface. After reading, go back and read both again. Both of these sections can create some good discussion topics.
TOUCHY AREAS-PAGES: Nothing of major concern is contained in this novel. Some may find that the topics of teenage love and vampires unfavorable, however there are no sexual acts contained in the book. Even though this book is more a romance novel than one about vampires, only mild kissing is present.
RELATED BOOKS: Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, The Twilight Companion: The Unauthorized Guide to the Series by Lois Gresh, Twilight Saga: The Official Guide by Stephenie Meyer, other books in the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer: New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn, & Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
MOVIE CONNETIONS: “Twilight” (2008)
http://novelnovicetwilight.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/twilightunit.pdf (awesome lesson plans, rubrics, and activities for the classroom related to the novel)
http://www.lifelearning.org/2008/10/24/wonderfully-charming-author-stephanie-meyer-of-twilight-fame/ (Twilight Quiz – which character are you?)
http://www.stepheniemeyer.com/twilight.html (official website of the author)
http://twilightthemovie.com/ (official movie website)
REVIEWED BY: Kevin Stratton