In Eclipse, the third installment in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight saga, Bella once again finds herself in deadly peril. Her malicious vampire enemy Victoria builds a bloodthirsty army of newborn vampires in order to finally kill Bella. Faced with a common enemy, Edward's family of good vampires, the Cullens, forge an unlikely alliance with the Quileute werewolves to fight Victoria's vampire army. In the midst of it all, Bella has to decide between her love for Edward and her love for Jacob. And if that wasn't enough for one human girl to handle, she also has to choose between her life as a human and an immortal vampire existence with Edward.
According to Stephenie Meyer, the plot development of Eclipse centers on Bella's transformation:
In both Twilight and New Moon, Bella commits to becoming a vampire without once really examining what price she'll pay. In Eclipse, Bella fully comprehends that price. And then she chooses to pay it. Every aspect of the novel revolves around this point, every back story, every relationship, every moment of action. (source)
Eclipse came out in summer 2007 and soon knocked Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows from its No. 1 perch (source). Just before this, Barnes and Noble Booksellers accidentally shipped advance copies of Eclipse to some of the customers on who pre-ordered the book. Immediately, many fan site forums for the Twilight series were shut down to prevent spoilers from popping up online. Stephenie Meyer even wrote a letter to the fan site Twilight Lexicon, in which she pled with those few lucky advance readers to keep the secret. Barnes and Noble apologized for their computer error, only for the same mistake to occur during the release of Eclipse Special Edition. It was to hit store shelves on May 31, 2008, but multiple copies were released up to a whole week early. Even a few of Stephenie Meyer's close relatives leaked copies of the book.
Although Eclipse received mixed reviews, there seems to be something so irresistible that even booksellers and the author's family broke the rules to share the story with the world. What might that be? Well, there's only one way to find out. Read on…
Why Should I Care?
As is the case with all books in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series, Eclipse has sold millions of copies. According to Megan Tingley, a top editor at Little, Brown and Company (the publishing house for the Twilight series), the sales of Eclipse were so robust because the book doesn't include sexually provocative material or graphic language, which makes it an easier sell for parents. "There is a lot of young-adult fiction that is pretty racy, but parents know these books are romantic, not sexual," she says (source).
Although Eclipse doesn't feature overtly sexual material, it does talk about sex and choice. Bella, for example, is eager to make love to Edward as soon as possible. He, on the other hand, would rather wait until they're married. Later, he gets carried away and Bella stops him. She's decided that for her the right order of things places marriage before sex.
What does all this mean? Well, there's a lot of opportunity in this book to talk about when it's right to have sex, and Eclipse has become a new sex education tool for parents. So cheer up, all current teens and teens-to-be! Forget about the birds and the bees – it's all about vampires and werewolves now. Plus, parents now have a perfect excuse to read the whole Twilight series "for educational purposes." Everyone wins!