by Stephanie Meyer

Reviewed by Coral

Bella Swann, for reasons that sound more author-driven than really organic to the character, moves from her mother's house in sunny Phoenix to her father's house in grey and dreary Forks, a small town near Seattle.
Bella is dreading her first day of school - because it's such a small town and everyone will have known each other forever and she will be the outcast and unpopular like she was in her school in Phoenix. But, lucky Bella, being the new girl seems to pay off! Everyone wants to know her and be her friend! And, best of all, boys - who had never really paid much attention to her in Phoenix - are suddenly all over her. Almost all the boys in town! Except one, Edward Cullen. Which of course means that Bella is bordering on obsessed with Edward. Plus he's hot!
But then Edward starts talking to her, making Bella wonder if she imagined his earlier dislike. Suddenly he wants to get to know her, when he isn't telling her that she should stay away from him for her own safety - mixed messages much. But instead of doing the sensible thing and taking him at his word that he is bad news for her, this only makes Bella want to know him more.
Curious, Bella asks more and more questions, piecing together what she knows about him, until she reaches the unbelievable conclusion: Edward is a vampire.
Instead of fearing for her life, Bella worries are simpler: will Edward's vampire family accept her? Can she protect his family from suspicion should something happen to her while they are dating? Yes, that's right. Bella's not worried that Edward might do something to her, but that he might be blamed should he do something to her. Disturbing.
Worse, a nomadic band of vampires have arrived in Forks. And, of course, the head vamp is also enraptured with Bella. Now Bella can worry about nobly sacrificing herself so that Edward won't die trying to protect her.
Yeah, this is completely not my type of book.
Kind of getting to be a cliché now, but the character of Bella was a Mary Sue from head to toe. Small difference in that here she's clumsy and bad at everything instead of being perfect at anything she tries, but it's still unrealistic. Every guy still wanted her, even the bad one, the only people who didn't want to be her friends were the villains or the weird Cullen sister that people ignored.
Edward and Bella's romance was not that romantic. It was more creepy. Someone who watches you in you sleep - without your permission and who you don't know is there - is not romantic. It's at the very least creepy, bordering on obsessive and stalkerish. Vampire or not, that should have sent Bella running far and fast away from Edward.
Onto the vampire thing. Now, while there really isn't a realistic way of acting when someone tells you they're a vampire, Bella's reaction rang particularly false. I much preferred Elena's reaction on Vampire Diaries: scared, nervous to be alone in the woods with her vampire boyfriend Stefan, and needing some time apart to process it all.
Lastly, the sparkling vampire thing was just a little too corny for me.
I probably won't be reading the rest of the series. Of course, I also said that I would never read this book, but some friends kept bugging me so I gave in. Thanks friends!

Grade: C