Twilight: The Twilight Saga, Book 1



Overlong but engrossing popular vampire romance.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know

Educational value

Even teens who don't consider themselves readers may find themselves tearing through this long book and its sequels.

Positive messages

The books summary nails it perfectly: "captures the struggle between defying instincts and satisfying desires." Romantics will swoon.

Positive role models

Bella is a smart, brave girl, though some readers may wonder why she so naturally accepts that Edward is a vampire (and find it troubling that he could change her forever).


A brutal, bloody battle, and hints about others. And it's about vampires, after all.


Some passionate kissing.

Not applicable

Car brands, OTC drugs, soft drinks.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Bella uses cold medication as a sleep aid.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that, while very mild by the standards of its genre, this is a vampire romance, so there is talk about blood and romantic kissing, as well as one battle with bloody injuries.

What's the story?

When her mother gets remarried, Bella Swan moves in with her father, Charlie, who lives in a small town on Washington's Olympic Peninsula, where it rains nearly all the time. There she meets Edward, a strange and gorgeous boy from a strange and gorgeous family -- and soon she's fallen madly in love with him. She also discovers that he and his family are vampires, which doesn't bother her at all. But it bothers Edward; even though his family long ago swore off human blood in favor of animals', he still worries for her safety, both with him and with his family, who control their lust for human blood only by willpower.

Is it any good?


This incredibly long book is really two books. The first two-thirds of TWILIGHT is a fairly engrossing, if not terribly imaginative, vampire romance, with lots of smoldering eyes, palpitating hearts, mood swings, and a nice touch of fantasy. Then in the final third it turns into an action-thriller, as another vampire sets his sights on Bella.

Despite its length it is very readable, though it's all too easy to read a hundred pages, enjoy it, and then not be able to remember anything that actually happened. The vampires are not only presented sympathetically, but with their amazing superhero-ish powers, spectacular looks, and hipster style, they also make vampirism seem like a sensible and appealing lifestyle choice -- though they would certainly fit in better in Soho than in Forks, Washington. Still, it's mostly good fun, and passes the time pleasantly.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the popularity of the series. Why do you think this story resonates so well with teen readers? Is it the writing itself -- or is it more to do with the vampire theme and the doomed romance?

  • This book has sparked many more books about vampires and fantasy books in general, such as Alex Van Helsing: Vampire Rising or even funny books like Vamped. Do you think publishers should keep printing these books -- or is the market sort of getting oversaturated?

Book details

Author:Stephenie Meyer
Topics:Magic and fantasy
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:October 1, 2005
Number of pages:498
Publisher's recommended age(s):12

This review of Twilight: The Twilight Saga, Book 1 was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written bysakuuya October 17, 2009
I cannot fathom the reason Bella is held up as a positive role model for teen girls. For all her pretensions to intelligence and independence, she is shockingly anti-feminist, and Edward is far from the ideal boyfriend. Throughout the Twilight series, Bella defines herself solely through relationships with boys. Because her one "flaw" is incredibly exaggerated clumsiness, she is unable even to walk across a patch of ice without Edward to protect her. Her interests? Edward. Her goals? Edward. Her dreams? Edward. In a later book, when Edward leaves, she engages in suicidal behavior in an attempt to win him back. For his part, Edward shows several signs of abusiveness. He breaks into her house to watch her sleep, refuses to let her spend time with her other friends, and even breaks her truck so she'll have to depend on him for transportation. Additionally, he's emotionally unstable. He continually tells her how dangerous he is, but spends time with her anyway; Bella also describes his "sudden mood changes [which] left me always a step behind, dazed." None of this would be too bad for older kids if it wasn't presented so appealingly. Bella is too vacuous and ignorant to realize the danger of her situation. She even idealizes Edward, and since the book is written from her point of view, the reader is treated to endless descriptions of how perfect he is. But he is, as discussed above, far from a positive influence, and the way the book idealizes his relationship with Bella is frankly dangerous. Twilight goes farther than simply telling girls that it doesn't matter if their boyfriend is controlling and unstable; it holds such an unhealthy relationship up as the ideal.
Educator and Parent of a 9, 12, 14, and 22 year old Written bySunniemom March 21, 2011

Emotional porn

Amazingly misogynistic for a story embraced by so many girls and women. The typical pattern of an abused woman is to 1) prefer the pain of the relationship rather than being without the person 2) make excuses and take the blame for the abuse. Bella fits the bill, being drawn to a man (who is what-114 years old? Like, ew!) who is dangerous to her, feeling 'unworthy' of his love (exactly what is so special about Edward besides his looks?), enduring his controlling behavior and blaming herself for it. She lies to all of her friends and to her parents. Not a good role model. Meyer indulges in an overabundance of adjectives and flowery language, and it leaves one a bit wrung out. Hearing about Edward's eyes for the umpteenth time left me wanting to poke them out. Give me a break already. It wasn't awful, but it certainly wasn't great. This may be, on the surface, a light fantasy story, but the message is not a healthy one for young girls. It's emotional porn for the tween set. Read it WITH your girls and explain the problems with Bella's behavior.
Parent Written byamomof2girls October 25, 2009

Maybe ok for high school age kids, but not elementary!!

I am glad to see there are others who saw what I saw when I read this book, as a parent previewing it for my young daughters. My 5th grade daughter was begging me to read it because all of her friends had and a couple of moms whom I would usually trust said, "Oh, Twilight is harmless!" But for me, as a single mom who has just left an abusive relationship, the negative messages of this book stood out as ones my young daughters don't need to be exposed to, especially when they are being glorified. There is way too much desire in this novel for young girls to be reading about, let alone the fact that Bella desires someone who is dangerous, and she is more than willing to ignore the danger in the name of love. This is not a sweet, innocent love story, and I am amazed at how many VERY young girls are not only reading this series and watching the movie, but are obsessed with it, and their parents don't see it as a problem. We need to open our eyes with our daughters at this age and think about what we are teaching them about the world and how they, as women in it, should expect to be treated.


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