The saga begins…
Synopsis: Bella has moved from Phoenix, Arizona to the tiny town of Forks, Washington. The sun-loving girl isn’t too happy about the move, but it’s a self-imposed exile from her mother and her mother’s new husband. At Bella’s new high school, she is a bit of a novelty. Before long, several boys are vying for her attention, but those aren’t the boys appearing in her dreams. It’s the mysterious Edward, a beautiful, otherworldly creature who haunts her every move and every thought. When Edward saves her from an out of control van in the school parking lot, their lives seem to become inexplicable intertwined.
As soon as I started reading chapter one, I remembered why I put this book down the first time. While I do not claim to be a grammar perfectionist, Meyer’s writing style breaks all the rules I learned from my creative writing teachers in high school and my English professors in college.
Perhaps she gets away with it because she writes YA fiction. Here are a few examples directly from the first five chapters.
Meyer overuses filler words like “that.” Although the word is necessary at times, most of the time it is superfluous.
In order to convey to the readers what Bella looks like, Meyer has Bella look in a mirror. My college English professor would protest. There are many other ways to describe a character without resorting to the “mirror scene.”
Perhaps the most annoying aspect of the book thus far is Meyer’s tendency to add an adjective after each line of dialogue. After Edward speaks, for instance, he usually smirks, snickers, chuckles or smolders.
Good dialogue should speak for itself. In other words, if the dialogue is well written, we know the character is smirking without having to be told. By the way, doesn’t it seem like Edward smirks a lot in this book?
This being said, I now confess, I am a tiny bit hooked. Despite my irritation at Meyer’s writing during the first few pages, by chapter five, I found myself ignoring these minor aggravations and beginning to enjoy the story. Although I think Meyer’s writing is juvenile, she taps into what it feels like to be a high school girl.
I do not wholly identify with Bella. For instance, I like to dance and although I was serious, I was fairly outgoing in high school. However, just like Bella, if I liked a boy, I was mean to them.
Yes, if you are a male from my high school, and I was mean to you, I probably had a crush on you. The more I liked a boy, the nastier I acted towards him. I had forgotten about this aspect of high school until reading the first five chapters of this book.
Meyer’s also captures what it feels like to have a crush on a boy – the butterflies, the inability to think coherent thoughts when he is near, and the intense rush of excitement at the mere mention of his name.
Honestly, how did any of us make it through high school with all those raging hormones? And why didn’t any incredibly handsome vampires with smoldering ocher eyes go to my school?