I know I said I wasn’t going to post the individual recaps I did for Twilight, but I decided that I would post one or two of them anyway, while I wait for Mike to catch up a little, just to show you how much this book is the same thing over and over, so you’ll understand why I’m doing a full summary recap instead of individuals for this one. …And also because I’m bored of reading the book and feel like posting something before I fall asleep. So here’s one of them; I may post one or two more, but that’ll likely be it before the full book recap. Enjoy! And remember that I wrote this expecting to continue doing the individual recaps.
These chapters are looooong, and that’s going to make this a difficult task. Needless to say, I’m not really looking forward to how long it’s going to take to get through these recaps…but I do have to admit that I enjoyed this chapter a lot more than I expected to. I’m not sure if that’s because it was actually good, because I do know that it was quite emo, or if it’s just because I’m coming to it after The Host, and I have to think that anything would be better than that…but either way, it was bearable, so yay for that.
Meyer is as descriptive as ever as she starts this chapter, outlining what Bella is wearing, what the weather is like, and giving a general summary of what the place Bella is going to is like (so we can feel bad for her for having to go there, even though it’s made clear multiple times that it’s her decision to go), as her mother drives her to the airport.
We know from the get-go that Bella is pretty spoiled, as she mentions that she “put her foot down” about going to this super gloomy place (Forks) every year to see her dad, so her dad began to vacation with her in California for two weeks every year instead. The extra spoiled bit is that she’s from Phoenix, so it’s not like he was just visiting, he actually had to take her to California every year, just because she said so. So yeah, entitled teenager who decides to move to a place she apparently detests (and feels ‘great horror‘ about ‘exiling‘ herself to)…the emo will be strong with this one.
Bella’s mom reminds her that she doesn’t have to go, which makes Bella panic a little about how her “loving, erratic, hare-brained mother” will survive without her, and I must say, that’s some ego she’s got going on there. Especially since her mother apparently has someone named Phil with her to take care of things anyway. But maybe her mother actually has some sort of mental difficulty, and that’s what Bella’s referring to here…if so, though, I’m not sure why Bella would leave. Why go somewhere you don’t want to go, when there’s somewhere you do want to be that is also where you should be? I guess we’ll find out (maybe)!
Bella lies (and we’re informed that she’s a bad liar, but she’s been telling the lie so frequently that it sounds almost convincing…Wanda, anyone? This makes me wonder if Meyer is actually capable of writing more than one main character) and says she wants to go, so she and her mother say their goodbyes, with her mother reminding her that she can come home whenever she wants. Then Bella gets on the plane and we get details of her entire path of travel from Phoenix to Forks before we get to learn a bit about her dad, Charlie.
Charlie is happy that Bella is coming to live with him (though confused as to why…at least I’m not the only one), but their relationship is awkward because they don’t talk much, and that’s actually all we get to know about him for now, so “a bit” was definitely accurate. Oh wait, when she gets to where she meets him, after she’s done being uber emo about the weather, we learn that Charlie is a police chief, and that Bella is embarrassed of being driven around in his police cruiser (actually, she refuses to be), because she is soooooo coooool, so she wants to buy a car. Yup.
Charlie greets “Bells” and asks about her mom, then they talk about a truck he apparently bought for her from someone related to some “painful, unnecessary” memories that she blocked from her childhood, that we’re going to get to know as little about as we are the reason why she’s moving there, of course, because that’s the way Meyer attempts to build dramatic tension. Maybe at the end we’ll find out she used to be an alien.
Blah blah blah, the truck is ridiculously old, Bella’s worried it won’t be in good shape and she won’t be able to afford to fix it, but Charlie says it runs well and he bought it for her as a gift because he wants her to be happy there, though that’s not gonna happen because even when she’s just been told she’s getting a free truck, she’s still thinking about how being happy there is impossible. And then there’s this:
“And I never looked a free truck in the mouth — or engine.”
Annnnd that’s how we know we’re really reading a book written by Meyer. Good to know she’s at least consistently bad. God, what a stupid line.
Bella thanks her dad anyway, so at least she’s outwardly polite, and then they talk about the weather for a bit before going silent. Meyer treats us to a description of how green everything is, including the air (not sure that’s a good thing), and though it’s beautiful, Bella has to complain about it, because that’s what Meyer’s characters do…so it’s too green. It’s alien to her. Haha, alien. Oh god.
They get to Charlie’s place, which is briefly described, and there, Bella gets to see her new truck for the first time. The description of it sounds kind of horrible, but apparently she loves it, so yay, no complaining! She thanks her dad again, and then the beauty of the moment is ruined by the fact that she immediately jumps into complaining again about her “horrific day tomorrow“, with another shot at her dad’s police cruiser. Yay.
Bella gets all her stuff into the house, we get a description of her bedroom, she tries not to dwell on the fact that she has to share a bathroom with her dad, god forbid, and then we get some positivity from her about Charlie, as she starts in on what she appreciates about him. Oh, wait, what she appreciates about him is that he doesn’t “hover”, allowing her to “stare dejectedly out the window at the sheeting rain and let just a few tears escape“. Great, so this really is going to be that kind of book. I’m so excited.
I mean, okay, I definitely ‘get’ depression; I’ve got it myself, and have had it for longer than I’d care to think about…but still, this seems a bit excessive to me. It’s overwhelmingly emo and angsty, and it just comes off as annoying to me. Then again, this is written for teenage girls, so they would probably identify pretty well with feeling that way…so fine, I’ll accept it. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it.
Oh great, it gets better:
“I wasn’t in the mood to go on a real crying jag. I would save that for bedtime, when I would have to think about the coming morning.”
Why the hell did you move there if it’s going to cause you to hysterically cry every night?! Can we have some answers here, please, instead of just emo, emo and more emo without any explanation??
At least I’m only on page 3 of this recap while I’m on page 6 of the book; that’s pretty much the opposite of what happened when I was recapping The Host, so let’s hope it’s a sign of things to come. Happy thoughts!
Bella informs us that Forks High School has only 358 students, herself included, whereas her previous school had more than 700 just in her year, and that worries her because here, everyone knows one another because they grew up together, so she will be the odd one out. Awww, poor muffin. Kidding; I know it can be hard.
She thinks her chances of fitting in will be even slimmer because she’s too pale to look like she could have come from where she did, and she’s horrible at sports, which is apparently really important for some reason. But she sounds cute and awkward, so that works for me, and will surely work for someone else in the school, considering there are still over 350 people there. And, y’know, considering the fact that I kind of already know she meets a guy. We’ll just gloss over what kind of guy he is for now, but hey, she was obviously made for him. Her skin defied her very surroundings to make her attractive to some guy in a place she moved to for some unknown reason despite hating it! That’s gotta be fate.
Sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Soo yeah, when she’s done unpacking, Bella goes to the bathroom to clean herself up and decides she looks unhealthy in Forks, because apparently it’s so horrible it even has the ability to change her physical appearance within hours. She then begins to accept that her inability to fit in – that has not yet been proven because she has not yet attended school – is not just because of how she looks, it’s because she doesn’t relate to people very well; not even her mother. So basically, she’s a lonely, misunderstood little spoiled girl who puts herself in situations she hates and then bitches about them because she can. And this is our main character, folks. Greeeeeeat. That’s gonna be awesome.
She thinks there might be some difference between the way she views the world and the way other people do, because she is that unique and misunderstood, but decides that doesn’t matter, all that matters is how absolutely miserable tomorrow is going to be, because self-fulfilling prophecies are a thing.
It seems Meyer decided not to use section breaks in this book the way she did in The Host, but that’s okay because at least she spaced it well enough that I could tell it was a break. And it’s a legitimate one, too; not one of those ones that just carries on with the next line of the scene before it for some reason! Ahh, we’re really moving up in the world with this one. Proud of you, Meyer. Or your editor. Yeah, probably your editor; it seems you may have actually had one for this book.
Anyway, after the extra spacing, Bella reveals that she didn’t sleep well even after she was done crying (-_-), because of the sound of rain hitting the window. The poor thing didn’t get to sleep until after midnight! How will she ever make it through the day on only 6-7 hours of sleep?!? Oh, sweet Bella, I hope you have the strength to stand!
She gets claustrophobic about the sky, then has a quiet breakfast with her dad wherein he attempts to be nice and she, once again, is super negative about everything, before he leaves and she describes the kitchen and family room. Fascinating stuff. She runs through a bunch of pictures Charlie has around the house of her and her mom, feeling embarrassed by the ones of her and uncomfortable about the ones of her mom, because they’re apparently proof that her dad never got over her mom when she left him. Awww, poor guy. Legitimately; he seems nice so I feel bad for him.
Bella puts on her biohazard suit (apparently that’s what her jacket feels like; I guess she’s never worn one before or something?) to leave, since she just can’t bear to be in the house anymore because pictures are hard. She locks up the house with a key hidden under the eaves (I guess she can’t be trusted with her own key), finds a couple of other new ways to bitch about the rain despite coming from a place that has monsoons, and gets into her truck.
We get a description of the inside of the truck, and then Bella heads out to find her new school, which she manages to do with relative ease. She seems disappointed that the school doesn’t feel like a prison, because nothing is ever good enough, even when it should be, but she goes ahead with the plan anyway and parks by the front office to get directions.
There’s a description of her walk to the office and then the office itself, blah blah blah, and finally she speaks to someone, introducing herself. As would be expected of any main character that Meyer writes, Bella is exotic and famous, so everyone already knows who she is, so the woman she speaks to immediately jumps to get her school schedule and map ready for her. They go over the paperwork, she gets a form for all her teachers to sign, then the woman wishes her well, and off she goes again.
She drives around and parks, happy that her crappy truck fits in with all the other crappy vehicles, then memorizes her map and psyches herself up for school. Meyer tries to be clever by using the line “no one was going to bite me” as she does so, but it’s really not clever, it’s just lame. We know it’s a vampire book, Meyer. Please don’t try jokes like that again.
She leaves the truck, happy to discover that amazingly enough, other people in the world wear black, and finds the building she’s supposed to go to. There are more happy surprises in there, in the form of other people with pale skin and an assigned seat at the back of the class where no one can stare at her, even though they do anyway because she’s sooooo interesting.
She looks at the reading list for the class, solely to remind us how much better she is than everyone else because she’s already done all this stuff before, and eventually the class ends and Bella has to contend with someone who is clearly supposed to be unattractive talking to her. Oh noes! He offers to help her find her next class, which is apparently “over-helpful” because yet again, she’s can’t appreciate anything, annnd we find out that his name is Eric. Will that be important? Probably not, because he’s not attractive, so Meyer can’t possibly keep him around for long.
They head outside (and this begs the question: Are most schools in the States set up like this, with separate buildings you have to walk to between classes? I’ve never seen a school that didn’t have at least most of the classes all in one building…), and Bella gets paranoid that people are trying to eavesdrop on her, because again she’s just that special, then Eric and Bella discuss how different Forks is from Phoenix. Bella is relatively dismissive with him, only giving short answers, which is a pretty stupid thing to do if you want people to like you, but hey, whatever.
She makes a sarcastic comment about being part albino when Eric comments on the fact that she’s not tanned, but because Eric doesn’t laugh, she decides that “clouds and a sense of humor” don’t mix. What the hell? Is that supposed to be another joke? If so, you really suck at jokes, Meyer.
Eric walks her to the building where her next class is being held and wishes her luck, expressing interest in interacting with her further for some reason. She, of course, responds in a relatively rude manner and heads inside, where she has to contend with embarrassingly introducing herself to one of her classes, and then getting through some other classes. She meets several people throughout the day, and it sounds like they’re all nice to her, but she still doesn’t seem all that pleased to have had their help and kindness, considering she can’t even remember the name of one who sat next to her in two classes and had lunch with her. Yep, I’m definitely going to love this character.
So yeah, Bella sits with said nameless girl and her friends at lunch (and don’t worry, she makes sure to forget the names of all the girl’s friends as well; that’s just how much she cares about anyone but herself), and it’s there that she catches sight of five people sitting at a table far away, who aren’t eating, talking or paying any attention to her. Obviously she’s immediately drawn to them, because she’s ungrateful and antisocial, so the only people appealing to her are those who don’t appear to care about her existence.
Blah blah blah, descriptions of the three guys and two girls, who are all very unique (except not really at all) and beautiful, and of course pale, because being pale is super important to Bella. She says they don’t look alike, yet they’re all exactly alike, and that she can’t look away from them because they’re so “devastatingly, inhumanly beautiful“, even though they also look like they haven’t slept in a while because of the dark shadows under their eyes. Hmm, I wonder who these people are. Couldn’t be important characters, could they? Of course they are; they’re gorgeous. I know, I know, I already mentioned that, but it annoys me that Meyer has done this in both the books I’ve read so far that she’s written. Normal and even unattractive people can be just as interesting as – if not more interesting than – beautiful people, Meyer!
Butttt yeah, these people are so gorgeous they look like they’ve been painted as angels, but they’re very wasteful, as Bella watches one of the girls throw out her tray of food even though she didn’t touch any of it. If they don’t eat, they should really just not pick out any food. Not cool, Meyer. I don’t appreciate you wasting food, even if it is only in my imagination.
Bella asks the girl she doesn’t care about at all who the group she’s ogling is, because she’s super considerate, and at that moment, one of the guys in the angelically gorgeous group looks to the girl Bella’s talking to, then Bella herself. He looks away quickly, apparently not interested in the girls, just having heard his name because I assume he has super awesome hearing, so Bella looks away as well, causing the girl to giggle at her. She tells Bella the names of the people in the group, which are Edward and Emmett Cullen and Rosalie and Jasper Hale, though I’m pretty sure the only name that’s going to matter much there is Edward. She adds that the one who left was Alice Cullen, then explains that the entire group lives together with Dr. Cullen and his wife, whoever they are. I’m only adding all this because I assume it’s supposed to be important.
Bella looks at what I’m guessing is Edward again, watching his movements carefully as she silently criticizes the names of the people in the group, which of course she will remember because they’re clearly more important than the names of the people who are actually interacting with her. Oh wait, criticizing the names of the others helped her to remember the name of the girl talking to her! It’s Jessica! Yayyyy! I still hate this.
Bella comments on how “nice looking” the group is, and Jessica agrees, but says they’re all “together”…except for Edward, of course. Couldn’t be more obvious if you tried, Meyer. Bella asks which are the Cullens, because she doesn’t think they look related, so Jessica explains that the Hales legitimately are related, but the Cullens aren’t, they’re adopted, and then gets a bit further into the whole adoption/fostering situation, and I just really don’t care, so I’m going to leave it at that.
Jessica is apparently jealous of the group – or so Bella assumes, anyway – but that doesn’t stop Bella from asking where they’re from (Alaska, it seems; feels like an odd choice, but sure). She is glad to hear that they’ve only been in town two years, because that means she’s not the only newcomer, which is kinda stupid because two years is a slightly long time….but she’s also sad for them for being outsiders that clearly aren’t accepted. Odd thing for her to care about with the way she’s reacted to people trying to accept her so far today.
The one that I guessed was Edward looks at Bella again, this time continuing to stare at her after their eyes meet, even though Bella looks away instantly. Bella asks which one he is, so Jessica confirms that he is, in fact, Edward, and then goes on about how gorgeous he is, but warns Bella that attempting to date him is pointless because he doesn’t date, because none of the girls in school are attractive enough for him.
Bella figures that Jessica is probably just sour because Edward turned her down at some point, which is amusing to her, and then eventually the group leaves without Edward looking Bella’s way again at any point. Bella eventually leaves as well, heading to class with a girl named Angela who has the same class as she does but is too shy to talk to her, and it turns out that “shy” is exactly what Bella thinks she is, though her complete lack of interest in anyone else makes me question if that’s an accurate term.
When they get to class, Angela heads to her seat and Bella notices that there’s only one empty spot left in the classroom, which is right next to Edward. Oooooh, scandalous! Or something. Bella passes by him to go meet her teacher, but when their eyes meet, Edward suddenly looks furious and hostile, which freaks Bella out. She has to sit by him anyway, though, so sit by him she does, making sure not to make eye contact with him again.
Edward leans away from Bella when she sits down, causing her to worry that she might smell bad, but no, of course she smells wonderful; just like strawberries. She’s sooo perfect. The class goes on with Bella keeping her head down and taking notes, though she does sneak glances at Edward from time to time, despite that his rigid, angry posture never changes. She wonders what is wrong with Edward, and questions whether she was wrong about Jessica’s sourness toward him at lunch (thankfully), but knows his attitude can’t have anything to do with her, because he doesn’t know her.
She looks at him one more time before class ends and is met with a glare of revulsion, so she flinches away, but then the bell rings and Edward takes off immediately. Bella stares after him when he leaves, feeling herself grow more and more angry about the situation and trying to hold back tears, until a guy named Mike introduces himself to her and offers her help finding her next class.
She turns down the help, but it ends up that they’re going to the same class anyway, so they walk to class together, Mike telling her all about himself along the way. For a minute it seems that Mike is finally someone that Bella actually likes to talk to, but then he has to go ahead and ruin that by asking her what she did to Edward, adding that he’s never seen Edward act before the way he did while in class with Bella.
Bella plays dumb, pretending she didn’t notice Edward’s behaviour because she didn’t talk to him, so Mike takes that opportunity to tell her that if he’d been “lucky enough” to sit by her, he’d have talked to her. Ooooh, Bella has an admirer. 😉 But his admiration isn’t enough to overcome her feelings of irritation at Edward’s behaviour, so she just smiles at Mike and heads into the locker room (they’re in gym class).
She gets a uniform from the teacher but doesn’t have to participate in class for some reason, so she just watches everyone play volleyball while internally bitching about having to take gym for two more years than she would have had to in Phoenix. I get why that would suck, but again, why the hell did she move there if it’s “literally her personal hell on earth“?
The day finally ends and Bella takes her paperwork to the office, where, of course, she finds Edward arguing with the receptionist. She realizes he’s trying to transfer out of the Biology class he has with her, and is shocked, but thinks his desire to leave must be related to something else that happened that she wasn’t present for, because she can’t believe it could be about her. Valid way of thinking; if it wasn’t already obvious why he’s acting this way, I’d think the same way Bella does.
Someone else walks in the office, and their disruption causes Edward to notice that Bella is there, so he turns and glares at her again with hate in his eyes, which scares Bella, aside from the fact that he’s “absurdly handsome“. This is going to be another abusive relationship, like in The Host, isn’t it?
Edward gives up on his mission, thanks the receptionist for her help, and then leaves, so Bella takes her signed form up to the desk. The receptionist asks her how her day went, so she lies and says it was fine, then takes off to her truck. She sits in the truck for a while, seemingly trying to compose herself, then starts the truck and heads back to Charlie’s house, trying not to cry all the way.
And there we have the first chapter. It’s so nice to have a 25 page chapter and only an 8 page recap; that definitely speaks to the difference in quality between this book and The Host…or at least the lack of attempted (and severely failed) science. Here’s hoping things don’t get too much worse as the book goes on.