I clearly recall buying this book - based largely off the fact that it just kept showing up in conversations and online communities - and reading it in about six hours.
I was amazed at how quickly I was drawn in to the story. It seemed so simple: an ordinary girl moves to a new town and meets a boy. Only this boy is very different. This is not an every-day romance - because Edward Cullen is a vampire, and to him, Bella Swan is irresistible.
So began a story quite unlike anything I had ever read. Bella - a girl who never will
believe in herself - attracts the attention and focus of Edward, a brooding, eternally 17-year old vampire who, along with his family, has sworn off feeding off of humans, choosing instead to hunt animals as their prey.
Edward and Bella fall in love effortlessly, almost too quickly, amidst worries that stretch beyond prom and pimples: what if Edward gives in to temptation and bites the too-willing Bella, who has decided he is her future? She is resolved that she wants to become like him, to spend eternity with him - while Edward maintains he cannot steal her soul, cannot condemn her to life among the undead.
To say this story is charming and whimsical and also steeped in an underlying darkness is entirely true. Finishing the book was like waking up after the most wonderful and terrible dream.
Who hasn't longed for a love like Edward and Bella's - love that truly conquers all, or at least hopes to do so? And yet, having found that perfect love, who would not be afraid it is too good to be true?
(It should be noted that, while reading this book, I was 100% pro-Edward/Bella. Time though, offers an objectivity that throws some truths into the light. Even if I can no longer condone Edward and Bella, I do honestly think that they loved one another, and that this first book in the series was honestly quite good.)