Starting Over in Forks, Washington: Twilight, Chapter One

It’s tough switching schools during the middle of the term. It’s even tougher when your new school has beautiful, mysterious guys.

Chapter One Highlights

Bella Swan flies from beautiful Phoenix, Arizona to Forks, Washington. Her parents have separated or divorced, and her father lives in the northwestern U.S. His name is Charlie, and he’s the police chief of Forks. Bella doesn’t tell us why she’s going to Washington. If I were her, I would have stayed in Phoenix. Then the whole vampire romance thing might have never happened.

Charlie picks Bella up at the airport and driver her to his place. During the ride, they have the inevitable awkward conversation. Cars are terrible places to have an awkward conversation, because short of opening the door and jumping out onto the road in front of oncoming vehicles, there’s no escape (now sometimes this is preferable to talking; you’ll have to use your judgment).

At Forks High school, the first student Bella meets is Eric, “the overly helpful, chess club type.” He helps Bella find her classroom and tells her, “Maybe we’ll have some other classes together.” Thirsty, much? The biggest detractor for Eric, in my opinion, is that he doesn’t understand sarcasm. It’s the salt that gives life flavor. Without it, the world would be a pretty boring place to live in.

In the cafeteria, Bella sees a group of beautiful people. So beautiful, in fact, they don’t seem to be human. They’re adopted, she learns. Moved here from Alaska a couple years ago. One of them stands out to Bella. Pale, gorgeous, reddish-brown hair, long fingers, speaking while barely moving his lips, eating a bagel. He makes eye contact with her, and it’s awkward for the both of them.

As it turns out, his name is Edward Cullen and he’s in her biology class. They make awkward eye contact again, and Bella discovers that his eyes are black. For the duration of the class, Edward acts as if he’s repulsed by Bella, sitting unrelaxed with hands clenched into fists. This only intrigues her more, and she stares at him until the class ends. So far, she’s the creepy one.

Bella says, “I peeked up at him one more time, and regretted it. He was glaring down at me again, his black eyes full of revulsion…the phrase if looks could kill suddenly ran through my mind.” So Edward hates her now, but why?

Enter Mike, the nicest person Bella meets on her first day of school. Baby-face, gelled hair, lived in California until he was ten. Like Eric, Mike also has trouble hiding his feelings toward the new girl: “If I were lucky enough to sit by you, I would have talked to you.” But so far, he’s the top candidate for Bella.

Bella finishes the chapter by crying in her truck on the drive home.

Bella’s Potential Boyfriend Power Rankings

  1. Mike – He’s only at the top of the list because the other two candidates are so weak.
  2. Eric – I didn’t like him. He can’t handle sarcasm, so he can’t handle Bella. But I can’t put him below Edward.
  3. Edward Cullen – You can’t date someone that hates you, no matter how beautiful they are. Those are just the facts.

Worst Use of Attribution

“‘I want to go,’ I lied.” Never use lied when you could use said. Which is 96.5 percent of the time. Don’t tell me that a character lied. Show me. That’s almost always the better option.

Best Details/Images

“The desk now held a second-hand computer, with the phone line for the modem stapled along the floor to the nearest phone jack…The rocking chair from my baby days was still in the corner.”

The fact that the computer is second-hand really pushes this sentence above the rest. The stapled modem is a nice touch.

Worst Description

“My mom looks like me, except with short hair and laugh lines.” This shows up near the beginning of the chapter, and it doesn’t help me at all. Stephenie Meyer doesn’t give us any description of Bella, so how are we supposed to picture her mom? This would be like me telling a man who’s been blind since birth that a narwhal looks like if a whale and a unicorn had a baby. That blind man has no idea what either a whale or a unicorn look like, so he is definitely not going to be able to picture a narwhal. Meyer describes Bella a few pages later, but it’s a few pages too late.

Next Time

How is Bella going to get along with Charlie? Are either Mike or Eric going to make their move? Is there a love triangle in the works? But most importantly, will Bella find out why Edward hates her so much?

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