When I taught at CTY last summer, all of the girls were reading Twilight. They would read it under their desks during class and stay up all night reading it in the dorms. They passed it around and all their copies were worn with reading and rereading. I'd seen the same thing with the younger kids and Harry Potter the year before. I was curious enough to want to read the book myself, but resisted, until the movie came out. I wanted to see the movie. I've always like movie and literature about vampires. I was still a bit embarrassed to read it in public, but in the safety of my own home I finished the book in three days. It amazes me how much people like this book. Friends of mine, adult women, who almost never read, are reading it.
I don't think it is a great book, but what Stephanie Meyer is great at, is making it difficult to put the book down. The big revelation after the first three hundred pages is something that the reader already knows if s/he has looked at the back cover, seen the trailer for the movie or knows at all what the book is about. Edward is a vampire. Bella is in love with a vampire. When I would ask the girls in my class last summer what the book was about, they would think about it for a minute and then say, "It's about a girl who is in love with a vampire." The thing is, that is what it is about, not much more. If you hang on until the last hundred pages (which Meyer makes it relatively easy to do), there is some action, but only for a small portion of the book. The majority of the novel's 500 or so pages, is an exploration of how essentially vampiric teenage love is. I was reading my own journal from high school last night, and it shocks me how much love and obsession were linked in my adolescent mind. I want to say something interesting about this book and about teenage sex and vampirism, but I'm out of practice. The New York Times review does a better job than I would, I think. It made me want to see it.
Overall I think that the book is a fun read, and reminds me of how excessively I felt at one point in my own life. The movie is also entertaining. I think that it is true to the book for the most part and I enjoyed it, although I don't think there is much more to say than that.