42. Twilight (The Twilight Saga) by Stephanie Meyer. 498 p. Published September 2006.

Isabella Swan, who prefers to be called Bella, is forcing herself to move from her beloved city of Phoenix, Arizona to the drearily overcast town of Forks, Washington so that her mother will get a chance at happiness. Moving in with her father, the Sheriff of Forks, Bella confronts the hardships of homesickness while acclimating to the different climate and new school.

Bella finds herself making friends fairly easily, but the small group of students sitting by themselves intrigues her to no end. The Cullens and Hales are five statuesque teens who remain separate despite their remarkable beauty. Bella moves on to her next class to find that Edward Cullen is her lab partner, and is shocked to find that he apparently resents her very existence.

Mystified but troubled, Bella does her best to find out more about Edward’s family. But outside of their fabulous wealth and the father’s work at the hospital, the people of Forks don’t give them much attention. Bella finally decides she’s just going to have to manage when an accident leads to an intimate encounter with Edward and his strange abilities. Bella relentlessly hounds Edward to uncover his secret, and clues from her experience and the local Native Americans lead her to confront Edward about his true nature. For Edward, and all his family, are vampires.

Sworn to not feed on humans, Edward and the others live off the local wildlife. But Bella is different, her very scent sending Edward into a near-frenzy. Edward, constantly worried about his self control around the enticing Bella, finally gives in to her advances on the condition they bring their relationship into the open to better protect her. A compromise reached, both revel in the budding relationship. But while meeting Edward’s family, the sudden visit of another coven places Bella at real risk. And when dealing with the nearly invincible vampires, there are no guarantees of safety.

I first bought this for my roommate without reading it myself. Between reviews and prevalence, I had assumed this book would be more exhilarating. What I found was a decent young adult romance. Now, I’m not disappointed with Twilight, as it was a truly great read, but it was not what I had anticipated.

That being said, Meyer pens a decent novel. With top-notch character development and a true gift for encapsuling the world in a young women’s viewpoint, Twilight provides a great story. I’ll admit, the plot-pacing could definitely pick up, but Meyer defends herself well with a unique dedication to storytelling.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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