Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined

Book review by
Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media
Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined Book Poster Image
Bella/Edward are now Beau/Edyth. Great for gender-role talk.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 13+
Based on 3 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Readers can compare this version of vampire and werewolf lore with other versions throughout literature and film.

Positive Messages

The original Twilight book summary nails it perfectly: "Captures the struggle between defying instincts and satisfying desires." This version also explores gender expectations and biases in a discussion-worthy way. Would most teen boys feel comfortable with a much stronger girlfriend? Is it strange when we talk about a boy smelling good instead of a girl? Do boys fight over girls the same way girls fight over boys, or is the dynamic different? Why?

Positive Role Models & Representations

Beau is comfortable with Edyth being the rescuer here. Edyth is stronger and savvier about her world. The only fault she admits is a temper. Beau fumbles through his new reality with a lot of self-doubt and self-criticism, constantly talking about how amazing Edyth is compared to him.

Violence

A gun is pulled on Beau by a gang. A vampire hunts a human, breaking bones, causing intense pain, and nearly killing him. A fear of kidnapping. A sad funeral. A car accident causes minor injuries. Violent stories of how the vampires in Edyth's coven were turned. One was attacked by a bear, another threw himself off a cliff after his wife went mad and threw herself and his daughter off a cliff, another watched her parents die of Spanish influenza first, another watched her father killed out of revenge before she was turned.

Sex

Some passionate kissing.

Language

"Hell" and "dammit" once or twice.

Consumerism

Car brands, over-the-counter drugs, soft drinks.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Beau uses cold medication as a sleep aid. Repeated talk comparing the intensity of feelings and cravings to drug addiction.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined is a full novel slapped on the back of the Twilight Tenth Anniversary Edition that swaps the genders of most of the characters from the original and keeps most of the story exactly the same. A foreword from author Stephenie Meyer explains why some minor changes were made, and an afterword discusses some surprises we won’t spoil here. The only kids who will be interested in this version will be those who've read the original, so you already know what to expect: some vampire violence and nothing beyond passionate kissing. Also expect some great discussion about what's so different about the feel of this version. Some will cheer on Beau (formerly Bella) for falling for a much stronger, savvier girlfriend. Some will find other parts a little odd, such as that the scent of a boy, as opposed to a girl, can be so talked about and seem so attractive.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

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Teen, 16 years old Written bybria314 November 4, 2015

like it lots

at first, I was a bit skeptical. A rewrite of the book I know and love as it is? But genders reversed? I'll admit, I originally bought it because I saw tha... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byjafnab16 April 29, 2017

What's the story?

Beau isn't excited about moving in with his dad in Forks, Washington, but decides it's time to give his mom in Arizona some time with her new husband. He shows up in the rainy small town and enrolls in school feeling pretty low, even though all the girls at school are gaga for him immediately -- all but one reclusive girl, Edyth, who, at first, seems enraged by his very presence. Beau can't understand why she can't stand him, and she understands it even less when Edyth saves him from getting crushed by a car at the last second. What girl has that kind of superhuman strength? He has his theories, each crazier than the last. And he realizes, no matter what Edyth is, he's totally smitten with her.

Is it any good?

This reimagined Twilight with swapped genders (Bella is Beau, Edward is Edyth) and most of the same content will primarily interest Twi-hards and anyone in a gender studies class. Sometimes the changes work, sometimes they don't. On the working side: It's less weird that Edyth glistens in the sunlight. And more normal -- to the point of being mundane -- is Beau and his father Charlie's taciturn relationship. It's what made Bella more intriguing, this joy in solitude over gabbing with her friends, and what makes Beau kind of boring. In general, Beau's a bit dull and half-formed.

Things that don't quite work: There's no way a teen boy's smell will bring anyone, no matter the species, into raptures. And some of the surprises near the end are too expository for a big finish. And no matter what, a story narrated by a girl, especially one that feels the way many teen girls feel at some point in their development, will resonate more with teen girl readers. So even if they take a shine to Beau and admire Edyth for being so strong and lethal, it will be hard to identify with, and obsess over, LIFE AND DEATH in the same way.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about gender roles. When the characters switch, what seems natural and what doesn't? For things that don't seem natural, why?

  • Does the story work with Beau and Edyth instead of Bella and Edward? Which do you prefer? Why?

  • What other romantic books can you imagine with genders swapped? Would they work as well?

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For kids who love romantic fantasy and vampires

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