Isabella Swan loves Phoenix, and she loved living there with her best friend, her mom. But mom got remarried to a baseball player, and Bella felt in the way. So she's joining her dad in cloudy Forks, Washington.
Bella does her best to adjust, but everything in Forks is unsettling. Most unsettling of all is her classmate, Edward Cullen: beautiful, aloof, strange...and strangely angry around Bella. Edward and his rich foster sib-lings seem like a different, higher species to Bella. But as her notorious clumsiness leads her into danger, Edward comes to the rescue, over and over. Soon, they become friends. Then something more. And finally, Edward's secret forces Bella to question everything she believes.
Meyer's debut is a gorgeous, passionate paean to first love with a dark core that's as bracing as a Northern Pacific breeze. Reserved Bella's transformation from self-contained loner to desperate daredevil is fascinating. This book in no way feels like an introductory chapter, but it is welcome news that Meyer intends to write at least two more books about Edward and Bella. (Oct., 512 pp., $17.99)