Julianna's Reviews > Twilight

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
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Feb 25, 09

bookshelves: desert-island-keepers, paranormal-romance, read-2008, young-adult-fiction
Recommended for: Fans of PN Romance or Sweet Romances
Read in July, 2008, read count: 1

Reviewed for THC Reviews
I have to admit that I haven't read a great deal of young adult literature during my adult life, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect from Twilight. There was also a great deal of hype surrounding this book, which can sometimes mean a really great book and other times can be a big letdown. Now that I have finally read Twilight, I have to say that it definitely lived up to the hype for me. I absolutely loved this tale of teen love between a human and a vampire. With this type of subject matter the story could have been completely campy, but instead was very beautiful, in my opinion, with enough romance and substance to rival the best adult romance novels. In fact, I thought that Twilight exhibited a surprising depth of emotion, intimacy and even sensuality without ever resorting to anything explicit. I think the intimacy was owing in large part to the amazing level of communication between Bella and Edward. These two teen protagonists affected more stark honesty in their communication than many adult characters in romance novels, rarely holding anything back from each other. Edward was even forthcoming about who and what he was far sooner than I ever expected him to be. The sensuality was conveyed through simple things like smiles, kisses and touches and most importantly their beautiful dialog. Of course much of this was possible because, neither Edward nor Bella, were really “normal” teenagers. I'm sure I wouldn't have enjoyed the book nearly as much as I did if the main teen characters had behaved in what has seemed to become the “typical” teen manner of extreme cattiness, rebellion, and out-of-control hormones. Instead, the story became a refreshing take on teen behavior, and a gentle reminder that not all teens do behave in the “typical” way.

I honestly can't think of a single thing that's not to like about the two main characters, Edward and Bella. Edward is a kind, sensitive and loving beta hero with a dash of alpha protectiveness (he probably wouldn't be a very good vampire without that). He wages a constant battle in his own mind between the knowledge that Bella is perfect for him and the knowledge that being near him will only increase the risks for his adorable but accident-prone danger-magnet. Edward is frequently reminding Bella of the risk he himself poses to her very life, and yet he always behaves as a perfect gentleman, even in the most difficult circumstances. I also love the gentle way that Edward teases Bella, and sometimes she gives back in kind. I enjoyed this banter and thought that it gave a lightly humorous dimension to the story. In addition to having a good sense of humor, Bella was also very intelligent, shy and a bit socially awkward, and endearingly clumsy, making her entirely relatable to me. Bella considered herself to be a very plain, ordinary girl, but Edward thought her to be completely beautiful. Having played the role of parent in her relationship with both of her parents, one could say that Bella had not had the most ideal upbringing, but it did not stop her from being the best person she could be or loving her parents dearly. I think Bella's best trait though, was her intuitive nature about Edward and things in general. I love it when the heroine in romance novels can simply sense things about the hero and read into that accordingly. Bella did have one moment where I would predict that many adult readers would consider her TSTL (too-stupid-to-live), but I was able to forgive that lapse because of her youth and inexperience with such dangerous situations. Overall, both Edward and Bella were two engaging characters who sparkled (no pun intended, but you'll get it when you read the book) in nearly every scene that they shared. I greatly enjoyed reading them and thought that they complimented each other perfectly.

The secondary cast of characters was a wonderful dichotomous mix of both the human and the supernatural. There were Bella's high school friends, who were generally a mix of pretty good kids, the type I wouldn't mind my own kids being friends with or would have liked being friends with myself in my teen years. Edward's family was an eclectic mix of personalities. There was Emmet, the big, lovable lug of a teddy bear, mysterious and aloof Rosalie, Alice and Jasper with their amazing psychic and empathic gifts, and their “parents,” Carlisle (aka Dr. Cullen) and Esme who have their own fascinating back-stories. I also found the Native American father and son characters, Billy and Jacob Black to be intriguing. They seem to share some contentious history with the Cullens which isn't fully explored in this volume. It will be very interesting to see where this part of the story leads in future installments.

Twilight is a very sweet and innocent romance, which I mentioned earlier has no explicit elements. There is no sex, only a couple of mild profanities, and considering that the subject matter deals with vampires, the violence is kept to a minimum. In my opinion, this book is quite appropriate for the age group for which it is intended. I would have no problem at all with my children reading it when they are a bit older. In fact, I felt as I read the book that it sends some positive family and relationship messages to teens. Even though Bella's relationship with her parents is less than ideal, there is still love and respect between them, and Edward seems to have very loving “family” connections as well. What I liked most though, is the development of Edward and Bella's romance. Their physiological attraction to each other is immediate and powerful, yet they take the time to build a friendship that is based on mutual trust, respect and love, which is more than can be said for many adults. Edward and Bella only discuss sex one time over the course of the novel and in very subtle terms, but in my opinion, Edward's blood lust could be taken as something of a metaphor for sexual desire. Whether taken in the metaphorical or mythological context, I thought that Edward's self-control contained a beautiful message of his pure love for Bella superseding all other desires.

I found Twilight to be a thoroughly enjoyable read which has earned a place on my keeper shelf. The first two-thirds of the book moves at a rather languid but steady pace owing to the extensive character and relationship development. After that, it almost instantly turns into a taut suspense/thriller when Bella's life is threatened. This is one of those books that was very difficult to put down. I just couldn't wait to see what might happen next or what new piece of the puzzle might be revealed, and Ms. Meyer also did not disappoint with her own unique take on vampire mythology. Even though the book is written entirely in first-person from Bella's perspective, I thought the author did a good job of conveying Edward's thoughts and feelings too, through extensive use of dialog. As an aside, I really liked the small-town atmosphere of Forks, but as a Phoenician, I couldn't help but have a soft spot for the scenes in Phoenix. As such, I can attest to all the place names being real and the descriptions of the city to be spot on, which isn't surprising since Ms. Meyer is a Phoenician as well. It was rather surreal but also pretty cool to read scenes that are set in places that I have actually been. Twilight is the first volume in the Twilight Saga followed by New Moon , Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn . Ms. Meyer is also planning a re-write of Twilight from Edward's perspective titled Midnight Sun. I am really looking forward to continuing this fascinating series, and even though I am often disappointed with movie versions of my favorite novels, I am truly looking forward to the the Twilight movie which is due to be released in theaters this December.
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Comments (showing 1-46 of 46) (46 new)

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message 1: by Daisiemae (new)

Daisiemae Great review Mom:) I am ordering this for one of my teenagers I work with. I think she will love it:) Too bad it's in first person, or I would read it myself..dang first person!


message 2: by Auntee (new) - added it

Auntee Wow, Julie! Great review! I always wanted to know what the hubbub was about this book--you spelled it out very nicely! :)


Julianna Thanks for the compliments, ladies!

Daisimae, I hope the girl you work with enjoys it. I know I sure did. It was so good, it's hard for me to believe that this was a debut novel for Stephenie Meyer. This lady definitely has talent. Yeah, it's too bad you don't do first person. I was actually thinking of you and all my other GR friends who don't like that while I was reading the book.


Collette Oooh!! This is in my on-deck pile and now I'm really excited to read it. I read a poor review of it awhile back and wasn't sure what to think, as I always like to form my own opinion, but now your review has made me excited to read it again. Thanks Mom! lol


Tammy I enjoyed your review, Julie. My 15-year-old daughter picked this one up when we were shopping last Saturday evening. She started the book as soon as we got home and couldn't put it down! Somewhere around midnight (and 250 pages into the book) I finally told her to give her eyes a rest. I can't wait to read it myself now.


message 6: by Julianna (last edited Jul 22, 2008 12:19PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Julianna Collette,
Glad I could renew your interest in Twilight. I know what you mean about bad reviews. I had the same thing happen to me with the BDB series. I saw some really bad reviews for Lover Unbound, so I procrastinated reading it for months. Of course, I ended up loving it, and asking myself why I'd waited so long.;)

Tammy,
I can relate to you daughter. I was sooooo frustrated every time I had to put it down.

Hope you both enjoy the book as much as I did.


Kathrynn Nice Review. I've been curious about this book for some time now. My daughters are NOT interested in anything vampire, so they have been rather emphatic about NOT reading it.

Maybe I will!

;-)


Tammy Kathrynn, my daughter was the same way about this book. I offered to buy it several times, but she always refused. BUT we saw the new Batman flick in the theatre over the weekend and got to see the trailer for TWILIGHT. That pretty much did it for my kid!


Kathrynn Tammy, it's coming out at the theater? I didn't know that. Thank you for the info. That may change my girls opinion to read it.

How was Batman? We plan to see it this Friday.


Tammy Twilight will be in the theatres December 12th of this year. I'm pretty sure you can find the trailer for the movie online.

We LOVED Batman!!!! I was blown away by Heath Ledger's performance. If I hadn't known in advance that it was Heath playing the part of the Joker, I never would have believed it. (He was one of my daughter's favorite heartthrobs and I loved him in 10 Things I Hate About You.) I keep hearing talk of Oscar nominations. Definitely will be seeing this one again! But be forewarned the movie is a little over two and a half hours long.


Kathrynn Thank you for the heads up. I didn't know it was that long.


message 12: by Julianna (last edited Jul 22, 2008 04:44PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Julianna Kathrynn,
You can find 3 different trailers and a short behind the scenes featurette for the Twilight movie here:
http://www.twilightthemovie.com/

The trailers were pretty exciting, but based on what I saw, it seems like they may be trying to spice things up a bit by making the movie a little scarier and more action oriented than the book is. The book is definitely all about the relationship with the action being secondary. I'm still looking forward to watching the movie, but I'll probably be picking it apart for all the differences. I was already seeing some in the trailers. I'm terrible that way.;) It's rare that I read a book I really enjoy and then like the movie as well, but hopefully it will still be good.


Tammy Oooooh! Thanks for the link Julie. It will be fun to look up the other trailers with my daughter tonight! (BTW: She just called me at work to ask if I can stop at B&N and pick up the 2nd book in this series. She HAS to have it tonight! LOL!!)

Don't worry about comparing books and movies. I do the same nit-picking thing. Oddly enough, I liked the movie versions of The Notebook and PS I Love You better than I did the books. Sometimes the movie script/re-write can be more interesting.


Kathrynn Thanks Julie.

I do the same thing with books and movies.

I have to say, the only book that I recently read and then saw the movie and they were almost identical was 30 Days of Night.

I think even the dialogue was the same. ;-) Good movie and good book--lousy ending.


message 15: by Julianna (last edited Feb 25, 2009 02:52AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Julianna LOL, Tammy! Yeah, this book has that effect on people. I was just one chapter from the end, when I went rushing out to Sam's Club to see if they still had Book 2 & 3. It turned out they only had #2, but that's good enough for now. I wasn't quite sure what I was in the mood to start last night, and ended up going with a Harlequin instead. I'm starting to regret that decision now. New Moon is sitting here calling to me. Help! I think I'm obsessed.;)

When it comes to books that are made into movies, I think I tend to prefer whichever one I experience first. When the book is really great for me though, the movie almost never measures up. I think the only one I can think of so far where I liked the book and movie equally well was The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe, but as my husband says, that book was just the perfect length for making into a movie without loosing any of the story or having to modify it to fit everything in. I do admit that the first 2/3 of Twilight moves at a pretty slow pace, which is fine for reading but would probably put movie audiences to sleep.;) I just hope that the beauty and nuance of the relationship doesn't get lost in the added suspense.


Tammy I have high hopes for the movie after I watched the trailers last night! My daughter is already half-way thru the second book now (she bought it last night) and she keeps demanding that I read the first book next week on vacation. We are such a funny family - we haven't packed a single swimsuit or planned our wardrobes but by golly! we know exactly which books we are taking on vacation. = )


Julianna LOL, Tammy! You're actually not so strange.;) I started picking out my vacation reading material long before I picked out any clothes. My daughter did too. I must have taken more than half a dozen books with me and then ended up being so busy, I barely had time to read at all. I was going through serious withdrawal by the time I got home.;) Have fun! I you decide to read the book, I hope you enjoy it!


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) This was a beautiful review, Julie. If I didn't want to read this book already, your review would have encouraged me to read it. I loved the movie so much I knew I had to read the book. I felt what you described when I watched the movie. I am excited that those elements are in the book.


Julianna Thanks Danielle. I really enjoyed the movie too. If you liked it, you're sure to love the book. It's actually better, because it has so much more detail that they just couldn't squeeze into a 2-hour movie.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) That's why my sister said. She's turned into the ultimate Twilight fan. She's seen the movie four times already and spot rereads the book. Plus she watches tons of Edward and Bella videos on You Tube and scenes from the movie. I think I will take the first two with me when I go to Ft. Worth for the next few weeks.


Julianna Yeah, that's me too. Even though I've only seen the movie and read each of the books once (so far) I've become something of an addict. Every chance I get, I'm checking the Twilight gossip sites for all the latest news.:-)


Roksana Julie...THANK YOU!! Thank you....so sick of "We hate Twilight group" (Arrgghh)

Love your review! Couldnt have said it better...

I LOVE this series!! Love the movie and cant wait for NEW MOON to come out (it looks awesome)


Julianna You're welcome, Roxy, and thank you for the wonderful compliment. I'm also very excited to see New Moon and based on the trailers, I think it looks like it should be great.:-)


Feu d'Issey (Laura) "These two teen protagonists affected more stark honesty in their communication than many adult characters in romance novels, rarely holding anything back from each other. Edward was even forthcoming about who and what he was.." I agree there. These two protagonists have more communication than most real-live adults. That is why so many women love the story, right? That is the attraction of Edward - he TALKS!


Julianna Yes, NZ, I think that's one of the many things about Edward that is so appealing.


Feu d'Issey (Laura) Julie (Mom2lnb) wrote: "Yes, NZ, I think that's one of the many things about Edward that is so appealing." One of the maaaany things. lol




Allison Hi Julie, I don't know if u still check these posts but i have to say that ur review is brilliant. I guess thats bcoz u liked the series so much. I fe...moreHi Julie, I don't know if u still check these posts but i have to say that ur review is brilliant. I guess thats bcoz u liked the series so much. I feel the same way about this series and was getting very disappointed and questioning my choice to join this website when i saw the horrible things members have said about the books. Now, i have no regrets to c that there r members here with familiar tastes.

U r right about the love Edward and Bella have for each other, the love they have for their families and friends.

I'm so mesmerised by Edward, He's so perfect. What I like best about him are his dialogues, his intense, passionate love for Bella conveyed in such beautiful words.

Bell, too is an amazing character. Her love, compassion, thoughtfulness, loyalty and so many other aspects make her a character one would love and respect.

Thank u again for the great review. I'm here to stay now:-)


Julianna Wow, Allison! Thank you so much! Your compliment really touched my heart. It's an honor to know that my words inspired you to stay at GR. There certainly are a lot of scathing reviews of this series, but I've met lots of people here who love them too.

I totally agree with everything you said about Edward and Bella. They're wonderful characters, and theirs is one of the most beautiful love stories I've ever read.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) Allison, you are not alone. There are many of us Twilight lovers on here!


Julianna Thanks so much, Cecilia! I'm really glad that my review has been able to touch so many readers, and hope that it will continue to do so. There is far too much negativity and cynicism out there about the series, but I, like you, think it is one of the most truly beautiful love stories I've ever read.


message 31: by Lily (new) - rated it 1 star

Lily bella is annoying, she cries and hurts herself until edward comes back to her, shes not friendly and shes not very smart in making decisions, she gets married at 18 and pregnant and gets beaten up by her boyfriend, she gets pier pressured into doing things and is obsessed with beauty more than personality


message 32: by Julianna (last edited Dec 02, 2011 08:15AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Julianna Lily, I notice that you rated Twilight 4 stars. That seems like rather harsh criticism for such a high rating.

In any case, I can understand why some readers aren't enamored of Bella. Even I'll admit that her self-esteem isn't very good. I could relate to her though, because I know lots of people, myself included, who have dealt with self-confidence issues. I also know that Bella isn't exactly the empowered woman that tends to be admired by society nowadays, but being rather old-fashioned myself and not particularly the feminist type, again I could understand her on some level. Sure, I wish that she could have seen in herself what Edward, Jacob and seemingly everyone else around her saw, but the harsh reality is that we are often our own worst critic.

As far as her getting married at 18, sure, it's a little young by the current standards of western society, but not outside the realm of normalcy. If you look at other societies or historically, that would be virtually an old maid.:-) As for her getting pregnant, they didn't even know that was possible and they were married, so to me, that's a non-issue.

I'm not quite sure what you mean about Bella being peer pressured. If I recall correctly, she seemed to be more stubborn and independent in her thinking, usually going against the grain of what everyone else wanted her to do. I'm also a little baffled by your comment about her getting beaten up by her boyfriend. Edward never laid a hand on her in anger. If anything he was extremely over-protective of her.

Anyway, that's why I still liked it, but as I said, I can understand why you or others might not have and you're certainly entitled to your opinion. It's just a case of different strokes of different folks. Just think of it this way: If we all liked the same things the world would be a pretty boring place.:-)


message 33: by Max (new)

Max I've noticed people who actually give these type of books good reviews are usually adults...


Julianna That may be, Max. I certainly know a lot of adults who love the Twilight series and other YA novels, but I also know lots of teenagers (my own daughter included) who are crazy about them too.


Keira D. Still one of my faves. My daughter gave it to me after she read it. I really wasn't into Young Adult fiction until after this book. Sure, there is some stuff that could have been cleaned up a bit, but it's still a very good love story and who can't fall in love with Edward after reading it?


Julianna It's still at the top of my list too, Kiera, and I agree about falling love with Edward. It always astounds me when I find someone who says they didn't. Not possible!:-)


message 37: by [deleted user] (new)

I don't agree with your review. The plot and charactars where boring and bland and the romance shallow. Though I respect your review, since I had my own twilight phase, I suggest you read more ya fiction. There are better books like Harry potter, va academy, and chronicles of Vladimir Todd. They are more realistic and interesting plot and charactars wise, and more accurate in the way teens act and think. Also the Cassandra Clare series. Vampires are not twilights watered down versions, but Harry potter doesn't really apply though it is an mazing book. I hope that this opens your eyes to a better idea on ya fiction


message 38: by Julianna (last edited Apr 13, 2013 01:42PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Julianna While I wouldn't necessarily call myself well-read in the genre yet, I have read other YA books, some romance, some not. I agree that the Harry Potter books are wonderful and are among my all-time favorites. Most of the other YA books I've read I've also enjoyed, and I have many more on my TBR list that I'm eager to try. However, it's highly improbable that trying new books will change my mind on the Twilight series, but it will hopefully give me more books to enjoy equally as well. I'm just not the type of person whose opinions and tastes are easily altered. There are books that I enjoyed during my childhood and teen years that I still love as an adult woman, and I know that my teenage self would have loved Twilight every bit as much as I do, having discovered it as an adult.

I may not be well-read in the YA genre, but I am very well-read in general with broad tastes, especially in romance, including paranormal. As a writer too, I think that vampires and other mythological creatures can be whatever the author wants them to be. Since they don't actually exist, I'd say there's no real benchmark on what they should or shouldn't be. It's all up to the author's imagination as to what they come up with and the reader's imagination as to what they're able to buy into. In fact, I would go so far as to say this is true in any fiction genre. A big part of that is whether the author is able to make an emotional connection with the reader, and not every reader is going to connect with every author and her books. For me, Twilight happened to hit that emotional sweet spot. I'm sorry that it didn't do that for you, Julia, but I do fully respect your opinion. After all, if we all liked/disliked the same things, the world would be a pretty boring place.:-)

I just ran across this quote from Jeaniene Frost which perfectly sums up what I was trying to say, so thought I would add it to my response: "For some, vampires are still firmly in the 'evil, scary' column. However, in recent decades, vampires also run the gamut from evil to morally ambiguous all the way to fangless and vegetarian. I think part of their appeal lies in their versatility. Vampires can be the villain, the hero, and everything in between, all depending on the writer's whim. You'll also never hear me say that anyone is doing vampires 'wrong' because unless a real vampire stands up and sets the record straight, it's anyone's game as a far as defining them in fiction."


Dorothy I honestly thought this was written sarcastically. o.O Do you really think this is a good book? Honestly?


Julianna Dorothy, while I am a big fan of other people's sarcasm (when done well), I'm not talented enough to produce an entire review that is complete sarcasm, so no, it wasn't meant that way at all. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Otherwise, I wouldn't have given it five stars. Honest!


Dorothy Well each to their own I suppose! I appreciate that you were able to give good reasons to support your rating anyway.


Julianna Thank you for respecting my opinion, Dorothy. Giving a good explanation for why I rated a book a certain way is something I always endeavor to do when writing my reviews, so I'm very glad to know that I succeeded in that.


message 43: by Liv (new) - rated it 1 star

Liv So, I am not going to bash you opinion or anything, but I can say that I think you are completely and utterly wrong. You say it is romantic? No. Just no. If you think that a 100 year old vampire watching a 17 year old girl sleep is cute or sweet, we have a whole other issue. I was 8 when I read this, and could still see that this was abuse. And to see an adult that does not seem in any way stupid or irrational think this is love is a little weird. Edward also says he would do anything for Bella, but he leaves her while she is emotionally unstable. And seriously, if Isabella Swan, Queen of Mary Sues, counts as a good role model, I don't know what doesn't. She tries to kill herself to HEAR HER BOYFRIENDS VOICE. I get that she misses him in all, but really? I think the whole idea of a human and vampire is awesome, but Stephanie Meyer completely ruined it. I can think of hundreds, thousands of books better than this. The Mortal Instruments. The Hunger Games. Divergent. The Fault in Our Stars. Every other book known to the universe, except its sequels, which are equally horrifying. I like the villains better than Bella and Edward. And Jacob? He falls madly in love with an infant. Like, whoa. Seriously, whoa. If you want your kids to end up like Bella, needy and dependent on sparkling vampires, that's your problem, but you better watch out for her husband. Just think about that. Thank you for reading, Liv.


message 44: by Julianna (last edited Jun 02, 2014 08:42PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Julianna Liv, you're certainly entitled to your own opinion on these books, and I completely respect that. I just think that you and I see things very differently.

To me, Twilight is simply a new take on the classic Beauty and the Beast theme, which is one of my all-time favorite fairy tales. It's a fictional fantasy that might not be very realistic, but that doesn't mean that it can't be entertaining or even fun within the safe confines of a person's own imagination. Not to mention, I can relate to the main characters in a lot of ways. I've been through many experiences in my nearly 45 years of life that have made me very open-minded to many different situations and points of view. I love to ponder about the what-ifs, which is why I enjoy reading and writing fiction so much.

The reality is that what is sweet, or romantic, or touching to one person, may not be to someone else. There are things in this story that you obviously see one way, but I see a little differently. Everyone's personality and life's experiences are different, therefore each person who reads a story is going to take away something different from it. That doesn't mean that one person is right, while the other one is wrong. It simply means we're two individuals with unique perspectives.

I agree that there are books that are better than Twilight, but there are also many books that aren't as good, IMHO. Twilight may not be the height of great literature, but I don't think anyone can truly deny that it has become a cultural phenomena. Some of the most popular voices in adult paranormal romance, such J.R. Ward and Jeaniene Frost have defended Stephenie Meyer's work or have even attributed a measure of their success to her paving the way for their books.

Yes, I am an adult lover of Twilight, but by no means the only one, and I don't think that my children are going suffer because of my personal tastes in literature. Dozens of my GR friends (all adults) have given this book 4-5 stars and are not afraid to say that they love it too. Even my husband's uncle (a guy no less:-)) loved the series. My viewpoint may not be the popular one right now, but I still stand by everything I said in my review.


message 45: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Choe Huh I liked how you said that without bashing my friend Livvie ;-)


Julianna Presenting a well-reasoned defense of my own opinions has always made much more sense to me than bashing someone else for their opinions. The former can diffuse tension between two people while the latter usually only leads to greater tension, arguing and hurt feelings. I hate drama, so I always opt for the first.;-)


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