I grew up in the Twilight fandom. Every year I attended midnight premieres with my mom and every morning I would wake up extra early to douse myself in glitter before I went to school. But I never read the books. It wasn’t that I didn’t like reading, I devoured every raunchy teen novel I could get my hands on. Weekly trips to the library meant the stories of enemies to lovers or summer camp romances filled my mind as I furiously flipped pages during passing periods. Why did I and so many others never pick up Twilight? And why in 2020 has there been a surge in first-time readers and return visitors to the pages of the rainy town of Forks?
For me, I didn’t read Twilight back in 2011 because my mom told me it was written poorly. I think this instilled a concern that the books would let me down instead of expanding the universe and giving me more of the characters I loved so dearly. So I settled for the movies. I watched them over and over with my dad; they were the perfect bonding movies for us because we saw ourselves as Bella and Charlie. I watched them when I didn’t feel well and I had already consumed too much chicken broth and Doctor Who. Bella was never looked down upon for being ordinary, and although I never saw myself as ordinary, it was the only depiction I had seen where a girl didn’t have to change to get a man. I mean quite literally, both Edward and Jacob did not want Bella to “change.”
Fast forward into 2019, I picked up a copy of New Moon from a Little Free Library I passed on a walk with my friend. But I still never opened it. Then the 2020 Pandemic hit, we were all locked inside, instructed to stay away from people like a newborn vampire. Our skin may have not turned into diamonds but we did have little control over if we hurt someone by being in public.
In my isolation, I turned back to Twilight. It appeared on Hulu and Amazon Prime and suddenly I was seeing internet posts about people my age all over America binge watching Twilight again. It felt like we collectively turned to this world that had secrets and chaos that was always overcome by caring for each other. A world where the division of two groups, werewolves and vampires, was so innate and foundational that it was thought to be impossible for them to ever work together. But they did. They did for Bella’s sake and for the greater good. And after diving into the books, I have found Stephanie Meyer writes a world that is so perfectly our world. Her words write characters that could be in our classes, Charlie could be our dad, and Bella is intelligent like us.
The messages of the movies and the realism of the books make it obvious to me why Twilight had a 2020 resurrection. This year has been a time where the world has secrets, is chaotic, and America hasn’t been so divided since Jasper was a human. But this franchise faces these issues with compassion and hope, and over and over again Stephanie Meyer shows us that everything can be safe if we work together to care for each other.