Is the Twilight Series Age-Appropriate?

Actress Kristen Stewart

Vittorio Zunino Celotto /  Getty Images

Is the "Twilight" series of books age-appropriate for your adolescent or young teen?

The book series by Stephenie Meyer and the movie adaptations have been wildly popular with that audience age. While some parents, teachers, and librarians suggest those ages are appropriate, others insist the books are not age-appropriate at all for younger teens and tweens.

Parental Concerns

Content concerns that parents have about "Twilight" include:

  • Obsessive love. One parent said, "It glorifies a kind of romantic love that is not only unrealistic but sets the stage for abuse."
  • Unrealistic expectations. Edward is an idealized character and yet is "fighting his inner demons." This makes him very appealing but may not be what a parent hopes her child will look for in a romantic partner.
  • Adult topics, including sex in "Breaking Dawn."
  • Violent content.
  • Woman-in-peril themes. The girl protagonist needing to be rescued by a man.
  • Supernatural content, which may be objectionable to parents for religious reasons or science-based reasons.
  • Unhealthy reactions. Some children become obsessed with books and movies. One parent said, "Literarily speaking, reading the 'Twilight' series is like eating a marshmallow. It is fluffy and sweet and addictive, hardly nutritious and, in excess, bad for you."

Age Compared to Main Character

The main character, Bella Swan, is 17 in "Twilight."

One mother said her rule of thumb is that a book is most appropriate for a child or teen who is no more than three years younger than the main character. In this case, that would be age 14.

Movie Ratings as Guides

The movie adaptations came out with PG-13 ratings, suggesting that the content was best for teens age 13 and up, and parental guidance may be needed. "Twilight," "New Moon," and "Eclipse" contain some disturbing images, sexuality, and violent content.

The "Breaking Dawn" movies that are fourth and fifth in the series struggled to get a PG-13 rating rather than an R rating, which would deny entry to anyone under age 17. This reflects the violence and sexual content of the books themselves.

Many parents found fewer concerns in the first three books, but "Breaking Dawn" had more adult content. One parent said, "The fourth book is a glorious celebration of sex and pregnancy."