Review of Twilight, the Novel
by Julie Turner
Stephenie Meyer’s first novel in the record-breaking Twilight series begins with Bella Swan saying goodbye to her free-spirit mother and new stepfather and leaving her home in Phoenix, Arizona, to live with her father Charlie in Forks, Washington. She hasn’t seen him in years, so Bella is a little hesitant about her new life. Charlie is the local chief-of-police in a town where it is always cold and dreary. Bella is not anticipating enjoying life in a town so different from sunny Phoenix. When she first arrives at her new home, she is surprised with a welcome home gift from her father. It is a 1950s truck that Charlie has purchased from his best friend Billy Black who is a Quileute tribal leader on the nearby reservation of La Push. Bella gets reintroduced to her childhood friend, Billy’s son Jacob.
When Bella begins Forks High School, she is instantly the most popular topic of gossip. Everyone wants to befriend the new girl including Mike Newton (the school jock), Jessica Stanley (the bubbly busybody), and Eric Yorkie (editor of the school newspaper). In the cafeteria, she notices a group of incredibly attractive teens. She is told that they are foster children of the town physician, Dr. Carlisle Cullen, and usually keep to themselves. Jessica explains to Bella that Rosalie and Emmett are ‘together,’ and so are Alice and Jasper. When Bella asks about the other guy and who he is with, Jessica tells her that Edward thinks he’s too good to date any of the girls around Forks.
In science class later that day, Bella is assigned to share a lab table with none other than Edward Cullen. He looks at her with such an expression of disgust and darts out as quickly as he can at the end of class. Bella wonders what in the world is wrong with her. Edward tries unsuccessfully to change his class schedule and misses the next several days of class.
When he returns to school, he formally introduces himself to Bella and apologizes for appearing rude before. Bella notices that his eyes were black before, and now they’re a golden amber color. When she mentions this to Edward, he takes off again.
A few days later when Bella arrives in the school parking lot, a van slides on the icy pavement directly towards Bella. Edward instantaneously appears from the other side of the parking lot and stops the van from colliding with Bella with a single hand which leaves a large dent in the side of the van. Bella is fine but is rushed to the hospital anyway and gets checked out by Carlisle. Afterward, she questions Edward about his super-human speed and strength. He finally admits his power but does not offer any explanation.
The local teens decide to go surfing at the La Push Indian Reservation, and Bella invites Edward to come along. Edward stands her up, but Jacob Black keeps her company by telling her about old Quileute legends. According to the elders’ stories, Quileutes were descended from wolves that protect humans from the ‘cold ones.’ He explained that Edward and his family never come to La Push. This confuses Bella so she does some research on the Internet and discovers that ‘cold ones’ are vampires and Edward fits the description perfectly.
Bella decides to travel to the nearby town of Port Angeles with some friends to purchase a book about vampires at a local bookstore. She gets lost while walking back to meet her friends and gets cornered by some local thugs. Out of nowhere, Edward in his silver Volvo shows up and saves her. He takes her out to dinner and gives her a ride back to Forks. During the trip, she questions Edward about his cold skin and superior speed and strength. During this conversation, he delivers his famous line, “What if I’m not the hero? What if I’m the bad guy?” Bella says that she is not afraid of him, but Edwards feels that is a mistake.
At school the next day, Edward takes Bella to a meadow and reveals that his skin sparkles like diamonds in the sunlight. He also explains that the Cullens call themselves ‘vegetarians’ since they feed on animals instead of humans. He tells her that he was trying to avoid her at first, because he had such a strong thirst for her blood. Bella thinks he’s beautiful anyway and knows that he will never hurt her. The novel becomes a very romantic love story from this point on. Edward has an immense inner struggle going on of wanting to kill Bella and wanting to protect her at the same time.
When Edward invites Bella to a baseball game with his family, the novel takes a very different turn. Three nomadic vampires show up. Their leader James is challenged by Edward and decides he must kill Bella. The Cullens do everything they can for the remainder of the novel to protect Bella and the plot is full of cliff-hanging suspense.
This is honestly the best book I have ever read. Readers will fall in love with the breathtakingly, dazzling Edward Cullen. The scenes are rated PG but are very sensual and erotic.