A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Bella studies vampire lore from around the world in a series of web searches. Readers can compare the various myths to the author's interpretation. Mentions of classical music pieces and the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918.
On the plus side, loyalty to family and friends and self-sacrifice. On the minus side, depicts a possessive relationship with some stalking behavior that's not called out.
Positive Role Models
Bella is quiet, studious, and accident-prone and is often being saved by Edward. By the end of the book she says he shouldn't be doing all the saving -- she'd rather be his equal and not Lois Lane. Edward angers easily, is possessive, and sometimes stalks Bella and watches her sleep -- to make sure she's safe, he says. He mellows out a bit, but maintains that uncomfortable air of authority over someone he loves. Some Native American characters, and when White students go to beach near a reservation, White and Native American teens mingle harmoniously.
Violence & Scariness
The fangs don't come out until the end, when injuries are blood loss, a broken leg, and a cracked skull. There's only a mention that the bad guy is ripped up and burned by other vampires. Plus a car accident with minor injuries and men threaten the main character in an alley. Mentions of how vampires turned years before: in an attack, after nearly dying in a suicide attempt, and in the 1918 flu pandemic.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some passionate kissing and flirting.
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Versions of "damn" and "hell" a few times.
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Products & Purchases
Edward's family loves their cars, especially the Volvo, BMW, and Jeep.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Bella takes cold medicine to fall asleep the night before her big date.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Twilight is the first book of a series that brought the vampire-romance genre back from the undead in 2005. Movies starring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, fan groups (Twihards), and a whole lot of merchandise followed. The forbidden, obsessive romance in Twilight attracted many fans and worried more than a few parents of teen girls -- still does. Edward the vampire is possessive, angers easily, and stalks Bella, his human love interest. He even sneaks into her house to watch her sleep before they start dating. After one date he says to her, "You are my life now." By the end of Twilight, Bella professes that she's sick of being the weak one who always needs to be saved, and would like the relationship to be more equal, but Edward still has power over her because of what he is. For a romance, the sexual content is mild -- just kissing. And for all the talk of the killer instinct of vampires, there are only a few harrowing scenes with injuries including blood loss, broken bones, and a cracked skull.
Is It Any Good?
Fans of obsessive and impossible romances swoon over this hot-vampire story despite its length and some excessive moony-ness. Moony-ness as in the million ways love-struck Bella describes Edward as perfect. Here's one: "I couldn't imagine how an angel could be any more glorious. There was nothing about him that could be improved upon." Really, Bella? He gets angry awfully easily and he watches you sleep. Still, with the world of teen romance so hard to navigate, there's something about having your love life all figured out in one date. And author Stephenie Meyer may not write with economy or brilliant turns of phrase, but she builds up the romantic tension successfully.
Meyer is also successful at building her curious world of vampires. It's clear she's carefully considered each of her minor characters. Their origin stories of how each turned and joined the coven add an extra layer to this fantasy world. The setting in small-town Washington also adds appeal. The rain-soaked green and aliveness of Forks make the presence of deathly pale vampires in the town even more surreal. But readers will mostly sink their fangs into Twilight for the dramatic romance, and there's plenty of that here and in the rest of the series.
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.