I started planning what to say about this book as soon as I got a few pages in to it, but I still don't know exactly what to think. It's gotten a lot of hype, and according to my middle school librarian source it's fairly controversial because of its purportedly erotic nature. On the one hand, this book never would have made it onto my bookshelf if it hadn't been well-publicized as being edgy, because it is a teen vampire novel. Gag me. But the other interest I had in it was the setting, which takes place mere few hours from my hometown here in the Pacific Northwest. Forks, the town in which the novel is set, really is an ex-logging town on the Olympic Peninsula, and I enjoyed reading the lush descriptions of local forests, beaches, and, of course, weather. The book centers around two teenagers, Edward and Bella, who are in love. It's giving away nothing to say that Edward's a vampire, since the book's jacket says so in the first sentance; however, it takes Bella the first hundred pages or so to figure it out, and the rest of the book she spends all googley-eyed and loopy at his amazing vampire-ness. I can see how this could be a sensuous novel to a young reader, but there are very convenient limits to how far their relationship can go: they cannot really kiss; they cannot have sexual relations; they cannot get too excited around one another or else he might eat her. There's the basic tension for the whole of the novel. In fact, I found their relationship to be extremely suffocating. Often I rolled my eyes thinking to myself, "how can they possibly be so glued at the hip? How can anyone keep up that level of intensity and inseparability?" Ah, but you know? It's a teen vampire novel. Enough said, I guess. But as much as I could rant about the book and it's somewhat under-developed characters, it's mushy main lovebirds, the annoying repetition of different variations of "he's so perfectly beautiful and his breath smells so good and his eyes are so amazing and he drinks grizzly bear blood", there was something that also held my attention. I don't know what it was, but I couldn't put this book down. In fact, I may even read the sequel. I can't explain it. Maybe there's just something so parasitic and mysterious about teen love and obsession that it just makes sense.

1 comment:

Lisa, Young Adult Librarian said...

Hello Dejah! I just heard from Zach that you're doing this blog and I had to see your thoughtd on Twilight. I probably would have loved this book when I was 14, but now I want to have a sparkly-vampire barbeque with Bella sauce and Stephenie Meyer rump roast. And I'm a vegetarian. I agree, though, that there's something ineffably catchy about it. I think it might be the effin' fact that if you don't see them effin' kiss you will have to effin' hurt something. Then, you have to keep reading the sequels, because eventualy, Mormon or not, somebody has to have sex with somebody, right?

Anyway...I hope all is well in the land of Seattle!

-Lisa (from Ashlandia)