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Summary: Bella Swan (17) moved to the small, gloomy town of Forks, Washington to make her mother happy. It was definitely not to benefit herself. Despite the never-ending rain and overwhelming boringness of small town life, Bella is intrigued by the strange, yet beautiful Cullens family. Especially the mysterious and moody Edward, their youngest member. His ability to save her life with almost inhuman abilities and cryptic ways ensnare her. As they grow closer, Bella finds that Edward may not be as human as everyone seems to think. He is a creature of the night — a vampire. Thrown headfirst into a world of “vegetarian” vampires, her happy world is destroyed by a trio of nomadic vampires who chance upon the Cullens. Bella, chased by a bloodthirsty vampire, must make the ultimate sacrifice. Will she allow her loved ones to be hurt, or will she give up her own life to protect theirs? This is the first book in a young adult fantasy series.
Type of Reading: independent reading
Recommended Age: read together: 13 and Up; read yourself: 15 and Up
Young Reader Reaction: As a romantic, I loved Twilight. The complex relationship between Bella and Edward drew me in. He thirsted for her blood, yet loved her with his whole heart. Meyer's writing is extremely detailed and the reader has vivid descriptions of her vampires, both physically and emotionally. The secondary plots, such as the backstories for each of the Cullens and Bella’s friends at school, add flavor to the story. I also love that Twilight does not end in a cliffhanger, yet still manages to retain enough mystery for the reader to want more. There are unanswered questions keep the story going, but don't interrupt the happy ending of book one. Why does Rosalie hate Bella? What do the Native Americans know about the Cullens family?
Twilight does have its weaknesses. Personally, I do not like that the vampires sparkle in the daylight. That's minor. One of the more serious points is the nature of Edward and Bella's relationship. If a younger reader read the series without experience and knowledge on a healthy relationship, he or she may psychologically assume that some aspects of this relationship should apply to the real world. That's why I recommend the book for more mature readers, 13 and older who can separate fact from fiction.
Adult Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Pros: Readers intriqued by vampires and dark mystery will enjoy the Twilight series.
Cons: The reading level is middle grade, but the content is for more mature audiences (i.e., young adult).
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. Readers tend to either fall head-over-heels for Twilight or despise it. I you are thinking about buying this book for someone, be sure they have read books like this and like them.