Originally published in June 2009
By Stephenie Meyer
Reviewed by Olivia Sanderfoot, age 15
I touched his face. “Look,” I said. “I love you more than everything else in the world combined. Isn’t that enough?”
“Yes, it is enough,” he answered, smiling. “Enough for forever….”
I slowly close the book, tears streaming down my face. I look up and stare out my bedroom window. I try to reenter the real world where vampires and werewolves only exist in folklore and “happily ever afters” are a bit harder to find.
I glance down at the book in my hand, Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. It is the story of Bella Swan, a clutzy, intelligent girl who moves from Phoenix, Arizona to live with her dad in Forks, Washington. At her new high school, she meets a strange, yet gorgeous boy named Edward Cullen. Bella soon discovers that Edward is a vampire and, despite this, falls madly in love with him. Twilight intertwines the tale of their love, the history of vampires, and the legends of werewolves while explaining the challenges Bella faces as she dates a vampire.
As I wipe off my smeared mascara, I make a mental note to pick up the next book in the Twilight saga tomorrow.
I’m not the only teenager who has spent hours devouring Stephenie Meyer’s young adult series. Twilight was #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. Seventeen million copies have been sold to date. The number of blogs and online articles on this series is astounding and the numbers have only increased with the hype surrounding the Twilight movie, which came out last November.
“For a while, Twilight was all my friends could talk about,” Miriam Plane, an eighth grader at O’Keeffe Middle School, said.
So, what’s with the craze?
“There are a lot of things about the book that are appealing. The plot is exciting, the books are easy to read, and there’s a definite escapism factor,” East High sophomore Isabel Jacobson says. Some girls call this series “candy books.”
Despite this saga’s immense popularity, not all of its publicity is good. There are many people who hate the series with a passion. As I combed through pages of online gossip, it seemed to me that for every Twilight fan site out there, there’s an anti-Twilight website staring it down.
Miriam says she had to stop reading the sequel to Twilight because she couldn’t stand the over-the-top romance. “I was just hearing too much about how life sucks without Edward, and how depressed Bella is without her Prince Charming,” she said.
Isabel finds the Twilight obsession “scary and strange” and calls Meyer an “inexplicable success.”
Anti-Twilight-ers also complain that the series is poorly written and edited. They believe the six months Meyer took to write Twilight just wasn’t enough time to produce a quality novel. These bloggers cheered when Stephen King said that Meyer “can’t write worth a darn.”
Personally, I’m with Ivy Sanderfoot, an eighth grader at O’Keeffe Middle School. She thinks it doesn’t matter that the writing is bad because the story is so good. Most of my peers agree with her, too, but diehard fans continue to rave about Meyer’s writing style.
Both anti-Twilight-ers and fans say it’s obvious that girls are more obsessed with the series than guys are. “It’s about a hot vampire guy sweeping a girl off her feet,” Bryce Kinney, a sophomore at East High, said sarcastically.
Some readers and parents are concerned about girls’ Twilight obsessions. They say the book promotes the idea that girls are dependent on their boyfriends. Others are concerned that Meyer presents Edward and Bella’s relationship as the “ultimate romantic ideal,” despite its obvious problems.
East High freshman Patricia Wilton agrees that the series has some problems. She thinks the books give girls unrealistic ideals of love. “I think that they certainly make girls believe that they can find a man who is perfect, which is not the case. No one is perfect.”
But other readers don’t think this is the case at all. “It’s nothing new that the beautiful heroine falls for the gorgeous hero,” Caitlin says. She believes it’s ultimately up to the parents to decide if their children are mature enough to appreciate the books’ themes.
Although Twilight has its problems, I find the plot captivating, full of suspense, mystery, romance, adventure, and comedy. Meyer’s well-rounded characters make the plot believable. The Twilight saga is a fun read and a wonderful and unique story. Try picking up a copy of Twilight on a rainy Sunday afternoon. You can’t say you hate it till you try it.