When Isabella Swan moves to Forks from sunny California to go live with her father, she thoroughly expects it to be a nightmare. Used to sunshine, she is now in a place where it perpetually rains and is always cold. Despite her awkwardness, she is immediately popular at her new school. She makes many friends, including Jessica, Angela and Mike, who quickly develops a crush on her.
The only person who doesn’t immediately like her is the impossibly handsome Edward Cullen. He and his siblings always seem removed from the rest of the student body, content to be on their own. Bella and Edward’s first meeting in biology class is highly awkward, and she can’t help but feel the anger he directs towards her. Hurt and confused, she is bewildered when he disappears the next day, because no matter what her mind tells her, she knows it is because of something she did.
Upon his return, Edward is much more civil to her. Bella is drawn to him, but she senses the danger that lurks beneath his beautiful surface. When he saves her from an impossible accident on a snowy day, she even starts to suspect he may be something more than human. Her persistence to know answers irritates him, and they frequently disagree on it.
Bella and some of her friends head to La Push, a beach in a reservation. Bella reconnects with Jacob Black, who she knew as a kid. He tells her the tale of the Cullens and his own people, and even though he doesn’t believe the legend, she is much more prone to believing it, with what she has seen of Edward’s strength and speed.
Edward saves Bella once again later on when she goes shopping with her friends, and is herded by men who want to harm her. She finally gets him to admit the truth, that he and his family are vampires. He realizes that she accepts him either way, and that even though he will always be a danger to him, she will be with him forever.
After meeting Edward’s family, Bella joins them for a baseball game on a stormy night. Everything goes well until another group of vampires appear – vampires who don’t share the Cullens “vegetarian” lifestyle. A fight nearly breaks out when James, one of the other clan’s vampires tries to attack Bella. Edward reads James mind and realize that his vampire ability is hunting, and that he will never rest until he has Bella.
Bella is taken to safety by Alice and Jasper, while Edward and Carlisle search for James. When he eludes them, and heads to Phoenix, Bella knows that he will eventually find her. He calls her and threatens to kill her mother if she doesn’t show up alone. Will Bella and her mother survive this attack?
The first book in the Twilight phenomenon is truly enjoyable. It is well written, despite all reports. I appreciated the new direction Meyer took on vampires, and how their existence could be possible. The book was a solid baseline for the other books to follow – how Victoria would become so dangerous to them, much more than James ever was.
Bella as a character is somewhat weak, but mostly she depicts what teenage girls truly are – just a little obsessed with social acceptance and boys, and insecure about themselves.
Will we judge her for dropping her friends in favor for her boyfriend? Yes, because she is absolutely the first girl ever to do that.
Edward, despite being overbearing and protective, seemed like a fine romantic lead to me. If you had to wait a hundred years to meet the love of your life, you would also become a bit obsessed, no?
I think most people who love this genre have read this book already, but if you haven’t, and you like vampire romance, you should give it a try!