Like many teenage girls, I had a less than healthy obsession with vampires. There's something sensual about vampire novels--I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. My fascination began with books like Anne Rice's Interview with a Vampire and Bram Stoker's Dracula. While I read the novels and had lots of typical daydreams of some day being "bitten," I never went so far as to role play or anything more. Eventually I moved on to other things and I thought I was over that phase in my life.
That is, until Friday, when a student let me borrow her copy of Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer. I knew this book was a new favorite among my female students, which ordinarily means I'd hate the book. But, heaven help me, I judged a book by its cover. The sleek, black jacket portrays two pale arms holding the reddest of apples. If I'd turned it over and read the synopsis, a cliché wrapped in platitudes, I probably would've handed it back to her without a second thought. I didn't, though, and I couldn't be happier about that.
The story seems standard enough: new girl in a small town school notices a group of classmates that all seem different, beautiful, and sophisticated. Bella soon discovers they are vampires and falls dangerously in love with Edward, the group's leader. Yes, this book is mostly young romance, with hints of action and mystery. The author makes a strong effort to target a young teen audience, I'd say 13-16. She stays away from all the usual inappropriate topics: drugs, alcohol, sex. Bella eats balanced meals and does all her homework; no one in the book so much as curses. For all that, this book is actually very sexy.
Bella and Edward's relationship is enigmatic at first. It appears he hates her, but as the book goes on we soon find out why. The way Meyer describes the attraction and chemistry between them made my breath catch more than once. She did a masterful job of building the suspense of Bella and Edward's relationship, the climax of which is one of the most erotic kisses I've ever read about. The fact that she achieves this goal without ever lifting a shirt or mentioning genitalia is no small feat.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a quick and easy read. It's a terrific book for teens; although the writing itself is standard, it'll keep their attention without introducing undesirable behaviors or content that's too mature. Moreover, it's the first in The Twilight Saga, a series Meyer continues to write. Series books typically keep their fans reading, a huge plus when considering the average teen reader. I haven't picked up the second book yet, but I'm dying to know what happens. Yeah, this phase is definitely not over.