A book review for parents
This first fantasy/romance book in the "Twilight Saga" series by Stephenie Meyer is published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Hachette Book Group.
Twilight is written for kids ages 9 and up. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
When Bella Swan moves to dismal Forks, Wash., to live with her dad, she never dreams of meeting someone as attractive and mysterious as Edward Cullen. Edward warns Bella to stay away from him, but the electricity between them intensifies. Edward finally reveals his secrets: He loves Bella — but he's a vampire, who desperately lusts for her blood. When an enemy vampire hunts Bella, Edward and his family take extreme measures to protect her.
Edward notes that all the intricate things in the world couldn't have come into being on their own.
Bella's father has never parented before. He asks casual questions about Bella's activities, but he's easily satisfied by her frequent lies and half-truths concerning her whereabouts. He clearly cares for her but doesn't provide much "authority" (although he does set a few more boundaries toward the end of the story). Bella's real protector is Edward. He sets the tone for their relationship, and Bella follows him fearlessly, despite knowing that he literally wants to devour her. Edward excuses Bella's repeated lying to others because it allows them to be together.
Other Belief Systems
Edward and his family are vampires, so the book includes vampire lore. A local Indian tribe fears the Cullen family because of tribal legends about vampires.
Main characters use variations of d--n twice. Bella is beaten up and bloodied by an evil vampire who wants to kill her.
Edward and Bella engage in a number of fairly innocuous kisses. Although Bella and Edward don't have sex, their relationship is extremely intense and sensual. It seems the only thing preventing intercourse is the fact that Edward desires to suck her blood, not to deflower her. He abstains from acting on his thirst because he loves her.
Editor's Choice in The New York Times book section in 2006, 2006 Top Ten Books for Young Adults by the Young Adult Library Services Association
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
- Real teens who act in some of the ways Bella and Edward did probably find themselves in real trouble. Parents may want to discuss how Bella blindly follows a boy she knows is dangerous.
- What might be some of the consequences of becoming involved with a "bad boy," or a possessive person with anger or jealousy issues?
- Also, real teens emulating Edward and Bella would find themselves in sexually compromising situations. Edward stays in Bella's room at night to watch her sleep. They caress each other in a secluded clearing, without anyone knowing where they are.
How can we keep from placing ourselves in circumstances where temptation is too strong?
Can touching in nonsexual ways be dangerous?
Note: Producers often use a book as a springboard for a movie idea or to earn a specific rating. Because of this, a movie may differ from the novel. To better understand how this book and movie differ, compare the book review with Plugged In's movie review.
Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.