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The first book in the "Twilight Saga" by Stephenie Meyer.

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I recognize that the writing is not good, but I can't stop reading!

  • Jul 20, 2010

I read the book because I am a middle school teacher and thought I should be familiar with the novel because of its popularity with my students.  The book is honestly poorly written and incredibly predictable, but despite this obvious reason to dislike the novel, I could not put it down and soon found myself reading the other books in the series.  The Twilight series has become my guilty pleasure.  Here are my thoughts as a teacher on the appropriateness of the text for your adults:
            As in many pieces of young adult fiction, this novel places the adolescent protagonist in a position of independence, allowing her to take all of the credit for her actions and accomplishments.  Unlike most juniors in high school, Bella has many of the responsibilities and freedoms of an adult.  Within the first pages of the book, readers learn that Bella and her mother do not have a typical parent-child relationship.  This moment reveals that Bella has lived for most of her life as the caregiver, clearly illustrating her as an independent individual.  Bella gains an even greater amount of freedom after moving in with her father.  By removing her parents and other authority figures from the scenario, Meyer allows Bella to be the ruler of her own domain, having the space and agency to make independent decisions.  This absence also gives weight and legitimacy to her choices, allowing young readers to relate more comfortably to an individual who has the power they long for.  Her freedom and choices are ultimately validated in the book’s denouement, when Bella’s parents allow her to choose where she will live.  Not only does this illustrate her fundamental independence, but it also vindicates her life-threatening choices, appealing to young adult readers who want to view her as ultimately responsible for her own success and happiness.           
            Like most pieces in the fantasy genre, Twilight fulfills a number of crucial characteristics that will draw seventh and eighth grade readers to the story, most importantly, the quest archetype.  The quest is a scenario that appeals to readers of all ages, but is particularly timely and meaningful to young adults.  In other words, the quest in this case is the literary representation of the journey from adolescence into adulthood.  Young adult readers use fantasy as a means of exploring and tackling real problems.  Bella’s journey is an emotional one, coming to terms with her identity and entering into a mature relationship.  Bella is clearly lacking self-confidence and is unhappy about her physical and social identity in the opening of the book.  In contrast, once she completes her “love quest” she is transformed into a self-assured, optimistic, and fulfilled woman.  This is particularly evident in her attitude about love and relationships.  This transformation indicates a meaningful internal change, demonstrating Bella’s successful completion of the emotional quest and lending the text for use with seventh and eighth grade readers. 
            Yet another reason Twilightis appropriate for this age group is because it deals with subject matter that is psychologically important to young adults.  Through the course of the story, Bella enters into her first romantic relationship, which is an important milestone of adolescence.  She also gains confidence about her body. Most importantly, she develops a personal ideology when she chooses to become intimately involved with a vampire despite personal risk, social marginalization, and a life of secrecy.  Each of these is an important developmental task that helps young adults in their journey toward achieving an identity.  Therefore, Twilight appeals to seventh and eighth grade students because it explores and reflects emotions and situations that are significant in the lives of young adults, specifically the search for personal identity and acceptance in personal relationships and society. 
            This text is relatively uncontroversial, with conservative language and only small amounts of modest sexual intimacy.  While typical objections about sexual content are not relevant to the text, the central role of vampires in the text may be objectionable to conservative religious families and could be said to be “irreligious."   In order to overcome this barrier, it seems important to securely ground this text in the fantasy genre, reminding students and parents alike that the text will be treated as mere fiction.  Furthermore, explaining the symbolic representations of Edward as the unlikely hero may help them understand his character as a literary tool that leads their children to think more critically about good and evil.  In truth, my greatest hesitation in recommending this novel revolves around Meyer’s ability as an author.  In many ways the book is predictable, following conventions of formula literature, and her repetitive use of descriptive words and phrases feels tedious and amateur.  Despite these hesitations, the book’s popularity among both young men and women would encourage me to recommend the text for independent reading.  

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July 20, 2010
Very insightful and different approach to a review on this book. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!
More Twilight (book) reviews
review by . June 30, 2010
I first read Twilight the summer after my senior year of high school. I was still 17, stuck up in bed for months recovering from a minor surgery, and reading at my most voracious pace yet (where was Netflix Instant in 2007, huh!?) in order to get away from endless Full House reruns. I had long since abdicated library authority to my mother and she had perfected the ability to pick a perfect mix of young adult and adult fiction and nonfiction for me. After one of these library trips, Twilight found …
review by . January 07, 2010
Hundreds and thousands of fans couldn't possibly be wrong, could they? I figured with so much hype surrounding Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" series, there had to be something to it. So I took the plunge and dug in.       Now, please ... before hordes of young female fans climb all over me and shower my review with negative comments, I hope that they'll understand this review is being written by a fifty-something male for a similar audience. In summary, it just wasn't …
review by . July 10, 2010
There has been a lot of smack written about Twilight, mostly because the book’s primary audience is not articulate enough to adequately voice their opinions of the book beyond: “Edward is so dreamy,” “I want someone to love me that much,” “Vampires are sexy.”  What Meyer has done is taken every romantic cliché from a book or movie and compiled it into one book that doesn’t move beyond its primary archetypes.  Without plot dynamics …
review by . June 23, 2010
My older sister is a librarian, and for Christmas and my birthday she often gives me a stack of "good books" - the ones she's heard good things about, or would recommend. A couple years ago, Twilight was part of the stack. She was insistent that I should give it a try, even if I am not a fan of vampire stories. I am a middle- and high school teacher, so I figured I really ought to know what my students are squealing about. I read it over three days, and determined that it is definitely …
review by . June 25, 2010
Listen, I'm not a Twilight-hater, nor am I a hard core fan. I read the books a few years ago and was swept up by the love story between Bella and Edward. I certainly give this book props for how captivating it can be. However, in order to analyze this book critically, and fairly, I'm going to look at how healthy the Edward/Bella relationship really is for teens to be digesting as they read Twilight. This is more of a response to the ideas portrayed in Twilight vs. an outright review of the …
review by . January 05, 2010
Twilight- Not Worth The Time
I read a book several years ago, that I've read many times since then, also in the young adult category, called Demon In My View by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, that was published when she was 16. The book is less than half the size of Twilight, with far more plot and character development then Twilight could ever achieve. It has it's faults, but was a quick, and amusing read. Then, I read Twilight, written by a woman, with supposed writing ability, with the same plot, similar characters, and far too …
review by . May 18, 2009
I will never understand the huge following the the book Twilight has earned. In my opinion, this 'book' is more along the lines of a teenage girls fanfiction about some other vampire romance novel they picked up at an airport book store. Here are the reasons I shall never pick up these books again:    1. The characters are painfully underdeveloped.    2. While there may be one or two well written passages, they are ruined by the horrible ones that follow.   &nb …
Quick Tip by . February 22, 2011
Clumsy generic insipid character has a sparkly vampire boyfriend who should have been spiked through the chest in the first book.
review by . July 12, 2010
What a wonderful plot for a young adult book. What could be more heart wrenching? A tragic battle between love and death. Boy meets girl. Boy wants to eat girl, yet boy is madly in love with girl. The series I should mention is not only for teens. I've known a few adults to have gotten off on the vampire romance. Though some cynics may throw the word beastiality around, the sexual tension is what keeps the pages a turnin' and the sales a rollin.' With that in mind, the novel should …
review by . June 28, 2010
Okay, I'll admit it. I first read this book because of the hype. Also, because the trailer of the movie looked interesting. Lastly, I've been going through Harry Potter withdrawal and I'm trying to find a fantasy series to put all of my pent-up energy in. So, now, what I have to say is this: WHAT THE HELL?!!      This book's premise sounded interesting. Bella moves in with her dad to a remote town in Arizona and falls in love with a vampire. But I foolishly thought …
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Rebecca K Nash ()
Ranked #1186
I am a middle school Language Arts teacher who is passionate about books!
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Twilight is the debut, young-adult vampire-romance novel by author Stephenie Meyer. Twilight was initially rejected by 14 agents, but became an instant bestseller when published originally in hardback in 2005, debuting at #5 on the New York Times Best Seller list within a month of its release and later peaking at #1. That same year, Twilight was named one of Publishers Weekly's Best Children's Books of 2005. The novel was also the biggest selling book of 2008 and, to date, has sold 17 million copies worldwide, spent over 91 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list, and been translated into 37 different languages.

It is the first book of the Twilight series, and introduces seventeen-year-old Isabella "Bella" Swan, who moves from Phoenix, Arizona to Forks, Washington and finds her life in danger when she falls in love with a vampire, Edward Cullen. The novel is followed by New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn. A film adaptation of Twilight was released in 2008. It was a commercial success, grossing more than $382 million worldwide and an additional $157 million from North American DVD sales, as of July 2009.
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ISBN-10: 0316160172
ISBN-13: 978-0316160179
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Paranormal Romance, Fantasy, Vampires
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Date Published: October 5, 2005
Format: Format
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