Okay. So I did it. I borrowed the book, I broke down and I read it. Despite the fan-grrrls obssessed with it (which is off-putting), despite the fact that it was a teenage vampire romance (which is trite), despite the fact that it is literally EVERYWHERE in my face these days (which is annoying), I still picked it up and read it all the way through. I was really and truly prepared to hate it. But...I didn't. I actually enjoyed it. Sure, it's not perfect; there are plenty of flaws. Despite its flaws, though, it's a damn decent YA novel.
First off, it won points on the strength of the writing. Either Stephenie Meyer is a solid A writer, or she has an outstanding editor. Writing is a deal-breaker for me - if the story is good and the writing is subpar, I will think the book is awful. It's happened several times. But here...Twilight is well-written. There's a good structure, a definitive style, smooth transitions - in other words, it has good bones. It also has well-defined characters, which is another must for me. Obviously, the main characters of Bella Swan and Edward Cullen have depth, but a lot of authors would stop there. Meyer spent time slowly building the characters of the other Cullen family members - particularly Alice - and some of Bella's other friends, like Mike and Jacob Black. Finally, the story really pulls you in. The plot is good, thought out, engrossing. It's one of those books that's hard to put down once you get started.
All of that aside, there were things that irked me about the book - for one thing, Bella. I have the same complaint about her that I always had about Dawson's Creek when it was on (and all of my friends were swooning over how awesome it was) - TEENAGERS SIMPLY DO NOT ACT AND TALK THAT WAY. Bella acts as though she's 30 years old when she's supposed to be 17! Even the most mature and astute teenagers I have ever known still act like teenagers - they can't help it, it's human nature. Also, how lax BOTH of her parents seem to be about where she is, who she's with, etc. - my parents were in my business constantly when I was a teen. I'm pretty sure most other parents are the same way. Because teenagers and sneaky and generally doing things they shouldn't be, and parents remember how they acted as teenagers. A book about a kid where the parents are virtually absent from the story is just not realistic to me.
So bottom line - it wasn't my favorite book of all time. But - it surprised me. I liked it much more than I really thought I would. I liked it enough that I plan to borrow the next one and read it, too. After that - we'll see. I'm going to commit one at a time rather than committing to the whole series at once. I guess I'm still a smidge skeptical :)