Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Twilight series

What you need to know about Twilight.

So you’ve heard about the Twilight series and you’re wondering if you should get the books for your daughter. There are four books in the series: Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn.

Here’s what you need to know about Twilight:

1) What is it about?
Bella (a 17-year-old girl) falls passionately in love with Edward (a vampire who looks 17 but is in fact over 100 years old). Together, they face dangers including other vampires who want to kill Bella, and werewolves (the vampires’ natural enemy.) To complicate things, Bella’s best friend, Jacob, is a werewolf.

2) Will my daughter read them?
Yes. If you’re trying to get your teenaged daughter to enjoy reading, these’ll do it. They contain everything girls love. Well-developed characters and an “emotional plot” – girls like books that allow them to follow the thinking of the characters and understand their motivations. This has it in spades.

3) What’s good about them?
They’re a quick and easy read – like a better-than-average romance novel. They’ll keep your daughter interested, from one chapter to the next and one book to the next. The characters will stay with you.

4) What else is good?
My teenaged friend, Megan, appreciates Bella and Edward’s strong family values. They unselfishly try to protect each other and their families throughout the books. Also, Edward is a “good” vampire, part of a coven that has sworn off killing humans, opting for big game instead. (They call themselves “vegetarians.”)

5) What should I watch out for?
I'd recommend that you read the books and discuss them with your daughter. Emotions run very high in the Twilight series. Bella and Edward fall “irrevocably” in love after laying eyes on each other just a couple of times. In very short order, Bella is ready to die for Edward, and vice-versa. It’s all very dramatic, romantic and highly glamourized. Remember, this is essentially an older man in the body of a 17-year-old, and he admits that vampires are “the most efficient predators.” If Edward was, say, 40, how would we feel about the plot? That’s the stuff you need to discuss with your daughter – just to kind of underline the difference between fiction and real life.

The other thing that’s kind of iffy is that Bella, although she is presented as quite mature, tends to hide things from her parents and make big life-and-death decisions without doing a whole lot of research first.

6) The movie and the merchandise.
There is one movie (available on DVD) and another on the way. The author’s website is There are also about a zillion “fansites” about Twilight. Twilight is huge – think “Harry Potter” huge.

7) Cool facts you can tell your daughter.
*The interesting spelling of Stephenie Meyer’s first name comes from her father, Stephen.
*She has brothers named Seth and Jacob (both names of prominent werewolves in the books).
*She is working on a fifth book, Midnight Sun, which is Twilight written from Edward’s perspective. However, it was leaked on the Internet and that bummed her out. Here’s a link to the author’s statement about the leak. She is still planning to publish the book, likely this year. Update: Nope, she's not doing the Edward book now. Blame the leak. Instead, she'll publish a book from Bree Tanner's perspective (from Eclipse). Read about it here.

Something that bums me out - the books contain some spelling mistakes. (Who’s instead of whose, the odd missing word, and disturbingly, "Bella and I" when it should have been "Bella and me"). But I guess it’s inevitable since the books are, like, 600 pages long. But next time – Stephenie, I can recommend a great proofreader (, hint, hint.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the information on the Twilight series. They look like interesting books, but I did wonder how suitable they would be for young readers.

Joyce Grant said...

You're right, they're definitely for "teens and tweens." You really have to know your child to know what she (it's mostly girls who read Twilight) is ready for.

In this case, Twilight's a fast and interesting read, so I definitely recommend that you read them before your daughter does.