Book 85 of 2015: Life and Death by Stephenie Meyer

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Celebrate the tenth anniversary of Twilight! This special double-feature book includes the classic novel, Twilight, and a bold and surprising reimagining, Life and Death, by Stephenie Meyer.

Packaged as an oversize, jacketed hardcover “flip book,” this edition features nearly 400 pages of new content as well as exquisite new back cover art. Readers will relish experiencing the deeply romantic and extraordinarily suspenseful love story of Bella and Edward through fresh eyes.

Twilight has enraptured millions of readers since its first publication in 2005 and has become a modern classic, redefining genres within young adult literature and inspiring a phenomenon that has had readers yearning for more. The novel was a #1 New York Times bestseller, a #1USA Today bestseller, a Time magazine Best Young Adult Book of All Time, an NPR Best-Ever Teen Novel, and a New York Times Editor’s Choice. The Twilight Saga, which also includes New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella, and The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide, has sold nearly 155 million copies worldwide.

I’m going to start this with an admission. I have a guilty pleasure for the Twilight series. I have all the books and all of the movies. I watch the movies fairly often (and I like the movies better than the books). Even though I do the Twihard thing, I don’t want to label myself as that. I don’t consider this the best form of young adult literature and there are days that I’m scratching my head wondering why I love the series. And so, I call it a love/hate relationship. I love the impact the series has been for its fans and the community of Forks. I love that a large group of people can come together and gush over literature. As a Potterhead, I can understand a Twihard. Le Sigh, let’s face it, I just may also be a quasi-twihard.

Now that that’s done. When I found out about the gender bending version of Twilight, I knew I had to grab it. I wanted to see what was different. I love speculating about books. I love trying to see if the book would have been better in some ways. Life and Death did that for me.

Yes, it’s basically a fanfiction written by the original author. The ending is different from the original and all of the genders have been switched (with the exception of Charlie, Renee’, and Phil). But, basically it is the same story. Beau is a tad bit different from Bella. He’s a little more OCD. Surprisingly, I liked him better than Bella. Which is amazing because I’ve read reviews with people saying he was worse than her.

Now, for the controversy that lies in Meyer’s work, I didn’t see Life and Death as a reinforcer of gender norms. However, I have come to realize how Edward could be seen as abusive or have abusive like qualities through reading Edythe. Strange, isn’t it? I think I had to see her demanding nature to see what people were talking about with Edward. I still don’t think it’s so bad, but I can get where they are coming from.

In all, the book was the same as the first. I liked that it ended and that was that. I also liked the change in the Volturi. But yeah, if you are a Twihard, you probably have already finished this book. If you aren’t and are thinking of reading the series, obviously go for the original and then work your way to this one.

That said, I only ask one thing… for the 15th or 20th anniversary, will we be seeing an LGBTQ version of Twilight? If so, I will be reading that. I actually hope so.

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