Little, Brown & Co., 2005 (2005)
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Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
is a tale that develops in a tantalizing manner. It begins like a standard YA novel - Isabella Swan, teen daughter of divorced parents, moves back in with her dad in order to give her scatter-brained mother space in a new marriage. Charlie Swan is Police Chief of Forks, a small, rainy town in Washington. Bella displays all the usual anxieties of a teenager - about her appearance and extreme klutziness, about fitting in and making friends at Forks High School.
hen she meets the attractive Edward Cullen (he's her lab partner) and his '
', reclusive family. Why does he seem so angry with her on first meeting? And how does he manage to save her life when a car skids on ice in the school parking lot? Bella, who's a '
magnet for trouble
' and inexplicably popular with her peers, feels a strong attraction to Edward and dreams about him. Then, at a beach party, she meets Quileute Indian Jacob Black and hears an old story about a treaty between '
' (civilized vampires) and werewolves. She begins to wonder. The romance between Edward and Bella proceeds at an andante pace. She steadily learns more about him, while he's fascinated by her unpredictability, and fights his conscience about allowing her close to the danger he represents.
dward tells Bella that twilight is '
the safest time of day
' for his kind, and that his family members '
try to retain whatever essential humanity we can.
' He can read human minds - all except Bella's - so is able to track her through others, and to come to her rescue repeatedly - it seems that Isabella '
can't walk across a flat, stable surface without finding something to trip over
'. But after Edward brings Bella to meet his family, their gentle relationship is suddenly torn apart by the approach of intruders with more traditional hunting habits. One turns out to be a very wily
and has Isabella's scent. Though Edward's family do everything they can, a confrontation is inevitable after Bella's loved ones are threatened.
sabella is an engagingly vulnerable lead, with an underlying strength. As this episode ends, she tells Edward, '
I can't always be Lois Lane ... I want to be Superman too.
' Though he resists, the reader wonders if and when she'll take the next step. I enjoyed
very much, but recommend it mainly to female readers. It's not in the kick-butt
style, but rather explores feelings and a developing relationship between two very unusual leads.
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