Anyone who’s past their teenage years can identify with and remember the feeling that comes with first love. It overwhelms you just when your romantic dreams are most active and your hormones are least able to handle it. And you remember it for the rest of your life. Your mortal life, that is.

It was in this frame of mind that I picked up my daughter’s copy of Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer.  The story of Bella Swan and Edward Cullen, on the surface, is just such a story about teenage love.  However, it takes about two minutes to realize that there is something very different about the Cullen kids. Putting aside their alabaster skin, graceful poise, perfect hair and strangely colored eyes that can be a walking advertisement for Freshlook Colorblends contacts, they are normal seventeen year old teens.  Not convinced? You shouldn’t be. Something very strange is lurking in Forks, Washington, and it’s centered on the Cullen family.

Bella is a pretty  teenager prone to some awkward occurrences, like hitting classmates with badminton rackets and tripping over her own feet. She  comes to live with her father, Charlie, the Chief of Police, in Forks, where the perennial gray skies and rain  make the town an attractive spot for the local undead. Bella is irresistibly drawn to Edward Cullen,  another Forks teenager  (on the surface). It’s her deep attraction to him and his to her, that gets them into trouble. And then miraculously, gets them out of it.

What drew me into this story and had me finishing it in two days, which is unusual for me as I usually do not read anything that even hints of horror, is the author’s way of handling Edward’s “affliction.”  He seems almost normal, although highly sensitive,  for a seventeen year old who has lived eighty some odd years and has to quench his occasional “thirst” on some very interesting liquid.  He’s kind, he’s loving and affectionate and he loves Bella with all his heart, and will do anything to protect her, as will the rest of his adopted undead family. It’s so endearing that you may actually forget the  premise of the book. Briefly.  After all, who wouldn’t want to be loved like that? At any age??  Bella’s casual acceptance of who or what Edward is and her willingness to be with him despite the fact her very life is dependent on his self control, adds to the appeal and the suspense There are other forces that these two need to be wary of. Edward is the least of Bella’s concerns, and she tries many times to assure him that she knows he would never hurt her.

I loved this book. It wasn’t the vampire elements (although the author managed to make even the lessons in vampire lore very interesting)  that got me. It was the innocence of first love between Bella and Edward.  That, combined with what Edward is, made this a page turner. I recommend this one and will be reading the sequels, as soon as I put a bandaid over the marks on my neck.

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