Twilight Summary

Stephanie Meyer's Twilight focuses on the burgeoning romance between Bella Swan, a human girl, and Edward Cullen, a vampire.

  • Bella Swan moves to Forks, Washington in order to live with her father, Charlie.
  • At her new high school, Bella meets Edward Cullen, whom she is immediately fascinated by.
  • After Edward saves Bella's life on several occasions, the two grow closer and begin dating.
  • A sadistic vampire named James becomes fixated on hunting Bella for sport.
  • Bella is kidnapped and almost killed by James, but Edward saves her. She asks him to turn her into a vampire so they can be together forever, but he refuses.


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Twilight is the first book in a multi-volume series aimed at young adult readers that has inspired such loyalty and excitement among its readers that some are comparing it to the Harry Potter phenomenon. Like J. K. Rowling's series, Twilight focuses on a young person who really does not have a functioning family.  Like Harry, Bella Swan learns that there is more to the world than she thought. But where Harry Potter encountered the reality of magic, young Bella must face the fact that vampires are real. And, while Harry quickly falls in love with magic and the world of magic he explores, Bella falls in love in a far more literal sense: she falls for Edward Cullen, one of the beautiful, ethical vampires living in her new home of Forks, Washington.

This leads her into intense danger, first from Edward, who must master his intense desire to drink her blood if she is to live, and then from other vampires who are not as ethical or civilized as Edward and his loving adoptive family. The result is a striking blend: one part young adult novel about high school romance, two parts intense and often erotic desire between a young girl and a hundred-year-old vampire, and a final portion a rollercoaster of a thriller as another vampire tries to kill Bella. Written in clear prose and with a markedly ethical tone, Twilight has appealed to so many readers that it made it onto the New York Times bestseller list. Twilight was made into a movie starring Kristen Stewart as Bella in December 2008.

Extended Summary

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At seventeen, Bella Swan has to leave her mother and her home in Phoenix, Arizona and move to Forks, Washington to live with her police chief father, because her mother has remarried. Her first day in her new high school, Bella meets a number of friendly boys and girls—and the Cullens, a family of adopted teenagers, all of them intensely beautiful young people. Edward Cullen, reacts to Bella intensely. He seems to hate her on sight, and tries to get transferred out of the class they share.

The next day Edward is not in school, and Bella asks her father about the Cullens. He explains that people judge them because they are new to town, rich, and attractive.

A few days later, it snows. Edward Cullen is back in school, and introduces himself to Bella. They work together as lab partners in biology, and talk. The next morning the snow has all frozen. When Bella gets out of her truck in the school parking lot, a van is skidding toward her. Suddenly Edward Cullen is there. He stops the van with his bare hands to rescue her. The accident puts Bella at the center of attention at school, and the power with which Edward moved cues her that something is different about him. She fixates on figuring out what it is.

As Bella and Edward spend time together, she begins to share her theories with Edward about what he is, starting with superhero fantasies. When they test their blood types in biology class, Bella faints, and Edward rescues her again, driving her home.

That weekend Bella goes to a nearby beach with her friends. Some kids from the nearby Indian reservation come along, and one of them, Jacob Black, tells Bella the stories the Indians tell about the Cullens: they are the "cold ones," or vampires.

Bella researches vampires, but finds confusing and conflicting information. To take her mind of Edward, she agrees to go with some of the other girls to Port Angeles, to help them choose dresses for an upcoming dance. Bella goes for a walk alone, and wanders into a rough area of town. A group of men are about to attack her when Edward appears and pulls her into his car. He takes her out to dinner, and shares some specifics about himself: he is telepathic, that wanted to kill the men who threatened her, and that he and his family are vampires who kill animals so they do not have to kill humans—but they always want to drink human blood. Bella is so drawn to him that she does not care.

As Edward and Bella spend more time together, he shares more about what it means to be a vampire. That includes being torn between loving Bella and drinking her blood. When Billy Black, an older native man, visits Bella's dad, he recognizes Edward as a vampire.

When Bella and Edward go for a hike in the woods, Edward reveals more of his nature. He can carry her for miles, and his skin sparkles like diamonds in sunlight. He explains how Carlisle collected each member of the vampire family, converting them to vampires to save them from death or saving them from themselves. When Edward introduces Bella to his family at their home, she learns more of the family's history and nature.

Edward asks to be introduced to her father as her boyfriend. Edward then takes Bella to watch his family play vampire baseball out in a meadow in the woods. It is a great spectacle due to their amazing speed and strength until a group of three strange vampires show up.

They are different from the Cullens; they are openly predators. They are courteous, because they are meeting a larger pack, and get along well until one of them (James) catches Bella's scent and recognizes her as human.

The entire situation changes for Bella and Edward. The Cullens realize James has fixed on Bella as prey, and that he will not stop until he kills her. They race back to Forks, making plans. Bella stages an angry exit from her father's house, in hopes of keeping James from killing him. She and some of Edward's family then drive to Phoenix in a desperate attempt to throw James off track.

Bella calls her mother to let her know she is okay, and leaves a phone number so she can call back. When the phone rings, the first voice Bella hears is her mother's, but then James comes on the line, telling her he has taken Bella's mother as a hostage and that Bella has to come to him. She agrees, and when they go to the airport to meet Edward, Bella slips out a second exit to a bathroom and escapes.

Bella meets James at the ballet studio near her mother's home, where she used to study dance as a child. Her mother is not there. James tricked her using a home movie he stole from Bella's mother's house. He toys with her, then starts to kill her. He badly injures Bella and has bitten her so that she will turn into a vampire in torment when the Cullen family arrives. An intense fight between the Cullens and James rages for several minutes. The Cullens are victorious. James is killed and Bella is saved. Edward sucks the vampire venom out of Bella's body.

Bella awakens in the hospital and eventually recovers. Once she is back in Forks, Edward tricks her into going to the prom with him. While they are there, Jacob Black shows up to ask her on behalf of his father and the Indian elders to break up with Edward. When she refuses, he warns her that they will be watching. The book closes with Bella asking Edward to turn her into a vampire, so that they can be together forever, and his lips closing on her throat.

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