A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Greek myth of Persephone and her relationship with Hades figures prominently. Readers can compare Bella and Edward as narrators as they read this version and think about other favorite books -- how they'd be different with other narrators. Mentions of other interpretations of vampire lore, classical music pieces, the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918.
On the plus side, loyalty to family and self-sacrifice. Many reminders of the joys of mortal life as opposed to eternal one. On the minus side, depicts a possessive relationship with some stalking behavior -- though this feels like slightly less of an issue than in the original Twilight.
Positive Role Models
Edward is intense, brooding, serious about doing what's right as opposed to what would make him happiest. After he decides he's strong enough to tame his vampire urges to kill Bella, he has some more common relationship missteps. He's overbearing and so protective that he sneaks into her house, watches her sleep. In this version, he admits to being uncomfortable with his behavior, seems willing to change. Some Native American characters and a longstanding friendship between Bella's father, a White police chief, and a Native American elder.
Violence & Scariness
An attack with injuries from blood loss, a broken leg, a cracked skull. Mention that a villain is ripped up and burned by other vampires. Car accident with minor injuries. Men threaten Bella in an alley. Vampire hunting scenes: a bear is attacked, drained of blood; mentions of mountain lions killed. The death of high school students and faculty plotted by Edward until he decides to control his impulses. A speeding car causes a crash. Mentions of how vampires turned years before: in an attack, after nearly dying in a suicide attempt, and in the 1918 flu pandemic. Edward recalls decades before when he killed humans as a vigilante, especially one where he stopped a man from kidnapping and murdering a 6-year-old girl, another where he found women held captive and killed their captor. Story of Rosalie finding Emmett after a bear attack.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some passionate kissing and flirting. Mention that Emmett and Rosalie shared an "intensely physical" love. Edward hears lots of flirty thoughts in high school and directed at him and Bella.
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Versions of "damn" and "hell" a few times out loud and a few more times Edward hears those words plus "jackass" in other people's thoughts.
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Products & Purchases
Coke at a restaurant. Edward's family loves their cars, especially the Volvo, BMW, Mercedes, and Jeep.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Mention that men are drinking themselves sick in a dive bar.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Midnight Sun is the exact story from the wildly popular vampire romance Twilight, but told from the vampire Edward's perspective. Readers will want to start with Twilight before they tackle this longer version and make their comparisons. They'll notice that there's a bit more violence in this version. Vampires hunt big game, and Edward plots to kill Bella and anyone who gets in his way at the high school. Edward also recalls his time decades before as a vigilante killer and how he stopped the murder of a 6-year-old girl. After Edward decides he's strong enough to tame his vampire urge to kill Bella, he has some more common relationship missteps. He's overbearing and so protective of his mortal girlfriend that he sneaks into her house and watches her sleep. Parents worried about this bad relationship example will be relieved that Edward comes off a little better in Midnight Sun. He's uncomfortable with his own behavior and wants to change. He'd also rather do what's best for his girlfriend than for himself and agonizes over the right course for their relationship.
Is It Any Good?
Fans of Twilight will clamor for this Edward-narrated version of the same story that adds more male brooding, more insight into Edward's coven, and more voyeuristic mind-reading. It's too much of all those things by the end, but fans will still slog through the 650-plus pages to find out just what Edward is thinking in their favorite Twilight scenes. It's what every girl wishes she could uncover about her own mysterious crush -- though you hope you don't find out that he really wants to drink your blood in biology class.
Edward's mind-reading adds the most curious layer to Midnight Sun, especially when he's around Alice, his sister who can tell the future. Alice goes through every possible outcome of a situation while Edward watches in her head. It adds some extra tension to the tracking scene (more than the driving of fast stolen cars through Phoenix) and extra tension to Edward's take on the relationship. Edward sees Bella in Alice's head as a vampire and he doesn't want to do that to her, even if he also sees her fall apart if he leaves her. This struggle makes the story more tragic in this telling than in Twilight, but sets up the sequel well. Midnight Sun couldn't quite stand alone without Twilight as a base, but it's still a literary exercise in perspectives that fans will thoroughly enjoy.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.