by Stephenie Meyer
Twilight begins with an unnamed narrator (whom we later find out is Bella) giving a brief account about how she is about to die at the hands of a hunter. She is dying in the place of someone she loves, and the narrator does not regret any of the choices that brought her to this point. The past few months have been extraordinary, and she can’t complain.
Zip! Now we’re following the life of Isabella “Bella” Swan, our seventeen-year-old narrator. Bella is moving to Forks, Washington, to live with her dad. We later learn that she volunteered to do this so that she wouldn’t hold her mother back from spending more time with her mother’s new husband. Forks is isolated, cold, dreary, and wet, and Bella’s relationship with her dad is distant, since she was raised by her mother in Phoenix. Bella's new life is dull until she gets a glimpse of the Cullen family – five gorgeous, mesmerizing siblings who attend her high school. She learns they do not socialize with anyone but each other. One of the boys in particular, Edward, pays her close attention and seems to regard her with alarming hostility when she's forced to sit next to him in Biology class. The next day, he is absent from school.
Bella continues to adapt to her new life in Forks. She gets a lot more attention from boys than she was used to in Phoenix. She makes several friends quickly. A few days later, Edward finally is back in school. Now he’s friendly to Bella. His mere presence excites her. That afternoon in the school parking lot, a boy’s truck almost hits Bella after skidding on some black ice, but Edward uses his body as a shield in order to save her. Wait, how’d he do that?! Bella is totally baffled by this, but Edward refuses to explain his inhuman strength. She begins to have dreams about Edward, but at school, he gives her the cold shoulder. His behavior is very confusing, indeed.
Bella gets asked to the upcoming school dance by not one, but three boys, all of whom she rejects. The next day, Edward gets Bella to talk to him during lunch – for the first time he’s spending lunch apart from his siblings. Knowing that she's trying to make sense of his strength and how he saved her, Edward asks for her “theories” on him. Next, it’s let’s-figure-out-your-blood-type day in Biology class, and Edward’s skipping class. Bella becomes faint at the mere thought of blood, and gets taken to the nurse’s office (Edward appears outside and intercepts her from Mike, one of the guys who has a crush on Bella). Edward insists that he take her home.
That weekend, during a trip to a beach at La Push Indian reservation, Bella meets Jacob Black, who tells her about “the cold ones” (vampires). Word around the reservation is that the Cullens are vampires. When Bella gets home, she does some internet research and things start falling into place. Bella decides that she’s too in love with Edward to resist him, even if he is a vampire.
Soon after, Bella takes a trip to Port Angeles with a few friends, where she gets lost looking for a bookstore. Some thugs almost attack her in a dark alley, but Edward appears in his shiny Volvo and saves her. They have dinner together, and he drives her home. He reveals that yes, he is a vampire. Edward doesn’t want to be a monster, though, and actually only drinks the blood of animals. Bella knows now that he does thirst for her blood, yet she still is in love with him. Edward repeatedly warns Bella that she should be afraid of him and stay away, if she’s smart.
Edward and Bella take a mini-field trip together and spend the afternoon in a nearby secluded meadow, where Edward shows Bella that his skin sparkles in the sun (which is why vampires only come out at night or on cloudy days, which are common in Forks). They are completely in love. They kiss for the first time. Bella learns more about Edward’s family and their past. Edward struggles with abiding his morals (not tempting himself by getting close to a human) versus what he desires – to be near Bella.
Edward spends the night in Bella's bedroom, watching over her as she sleeps (without her dad knowing, of course). Bella visits Edward’s house, meets his family, and learns more about their “kind” – vampires who don’t feast on humans. They go back to her house where Jacob and his father Billy Black show up to see her dad (Billy and Charlie are friends). Being a Quileute elder from the La Push reservation, Billy knows about the Cullens' secret and is worried for Bella's safety. He warns her to stay away from the Cullens. After the Blacks leave, Edward returns in his brother's jeep to pick up Bella. They’re going to play baseball. It's a Cullen family bonding ritual, evidently.
While the Cullens are playing their crazy version of baseball (they're all incredibly strong and fast), three other vampires show up. One named James takes a liking to Bella (in the “I want to eat you” kind of way). Edward and his family get Bella away from James long enough to make a plan. They know that James is trying to track Bella, so Alice and Jasper (Edward's adoptive siblings) whisk her away to a hiding place in Phoenix, but James lures Bella to him by telling her that he has captured her mom. He’s about to kill Bella when the Cullen clan shows up. The only problem is that James has already bitten Bella. If Edward doesn't suck the venom-infected blood out of her, she'll become a vampire. Though it's difficult for Edward to control his urge to suck all of Bella's blood, he manages to cure Bella without killing her. The Cullens kill James and get Bella to a hospital, where she starts to recover from her many injuries.
Overall Bella’s OK, though banged up. She and Edward are more in love than ever. However, they argue because Bella wants him to bite her and make her into a vampire so that they can live together forever; Edward refuses. Regardless of their different species, they are devoted to one another completely.
In the Epilogue, Edward surprises Bella by taking her to the prom – she's horrified because she's uncoordinated and worried about dancing in public. Jacob shows up at the dance and delivers a message – Billy wants Bella to dump Edward. He also wants her to know that they “will be watching” (Epilogue.118). Anyway, Edward and Bella go outside to have some time alone – it’s twilight outside. Again, Bella asks Edward to make her into a vampire, and he refuses. Edward says to Bella, “I will stay with you – isn’t that enough?” and she replies, “Enough for now” (Epilogue.204).