Author: Stephenie Meyer
Publisher: Little, Brown and Co.
Copyright Date: 2006
Seventeen year old Bella Swan is forced to move in with her estranged father when her mother decides to travel with her new, younger husband. Bella moves into her gloomy new home in Forks, Washington with great reluctance. On her first day of school, she attracts the attention of many classmates, including the mysterious Edward Cullen. Although at first seemingly annoyed with her presence, Edward and Bella soon find themselves drawn to each other. Bella begins to suspect that Edward and his family are a coven of vampires, and tells him so directly. When Edward eventually confirms her suspicions, Bella is drawn into a lustful supernatural romance. When a visiting coven of vampires set their sights on Bella, the Cullen family must defend the delicate balance they have established between themselves and the human community they reside in. Edward and Bella must decide if their improbable relationship is worth the risk.
This book is a smooth read with many elements of good story writing. As long as one does not look too closely, the book simply follows a passionate relationship between a human and her improbable vampire love interest. When one reflects on the nature of their relationship, however, it seems obsessive, all-consuming, and downright creepy. Despite his young appearance, Edward is over a hundred years old and has many lifetimes of experience, yet he is interested in a girl who hasn’t even reached adulthood. He essentially stalks her, and admits to watching her sleep, and yet she is not at all perturbed by this information. It isn’t long before she starts distancing herself from her friends and family in favor of Edward, who she correctly suspects is a vampire. Bella is interested in becoming a vampire so that she can be immortal with her love forever. This is a pretty impulsive decision considering how little she actually knows Edward. In my opinion, this is not a portrayal of a healthy relationship and it gives teens very unrealistic expectations of what a romantic relationship should be like.
In retrospect, all the qualities that I find distasteful in their relationship are probably the same elements that have made this book so popular with teen readers. Although this thought is disconcerting, it is an unfortunate reality.
Reader’s Annotation: Forbidden love is dangerous. It is even more so when the one you love wants to consume your blood.
About the Author:
Meyer, who was raised in Phoenix, Arizona, received a National Merit Scholarship and attended Brigham Young University, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree (1997) in English literature. She married in 1994 and worked as a homemaker, caring for her three sons.
Inspired by a dream, Meyer completed the manuscript for her first book, Twilight (2005; film 2008), in three months. Soon thereafter Little, Brown and Co. offered her $750,000—the most the company had ever offered a first-time author—for the manuscript and two future books.”
Genre: Young adult, paranormal romance
Curriculum Ties: N/A
- Describe Bella seeing the Cullen’s family for the first time.
- Read an excerpt from the famous “meadow scene.”
Reading Level/Interest Age: Grades 9-12, Ages 13-18
Challenge Issues: strong sensuality
Chapter 5 of Youth, Pornography, and the Internet (2002)
Justification of Selection: This book is a unique take on paranormal romance, a widely popular genre among teens, especially girls. This book is a long running best seller for teen readers. It is a must have for a teen collection.
Moredock, J. (2015). Stephenie Meyer. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/biography/Stephenie-Meyer