First of all, the cover: Good hand model. Definitely masculine, but still, intriguingly delicate. And the green apple is a nice touch.
Let's get to it.
Chapter 1: First Sight
Synopsis: Bella/Beau both leave Phoenix and arrive in Forks. Respectively unpack and go to the first day of high school. Meet friends, see the Cullens, nearly get murdered by Edward/Edythe.
Analysis: Well, it's better. Like, a lot better. Did you notice how much better the prose is? I mean, I guess it's not a surprise; it's been ten years since Meyer wrote Twilight, but, still, I was surprised. It's just easier to read. Interest level-wise, it's feels basically like she used the "find and replace" feature in Microsoft Word and switched out the names, but, still, so much easier to read.
I'm interested in why she chose not to switch Charlie and Renee, when she swapped the gender of every other character in the story, down to the most insignificant teachers (Ms. Varner? come on).
The idea of a scatterbrained but lovable mother seems pretty acceptable, but maybe the idea of a father who couldn't keep hold on his life was too culturally charged (why couldn't he pay bills on time? is he a drunk? why is he so dependent on his kid?). Couldn't a male Renee (Ross?) have been one of those absentminded professor-types?
Or, maybe, and this is just occurring to me, it's too culturally charged to have a mother cede near full custody of her child to his father. Actually, yeah, that's probably it. Because then you wonder what kind of a mother would just give up seeing her son except for two lousy weeks a year? What's going on with her? What could she be doing that was so important that she couldn't leave Forks and live nearer? Maybe she just didn't care enough. It's too troublesome a question to deal with in the half a chapter that Meyer allows for Beau's reintroduction to living with his dad.
That's pretty interesting, actually. Because though it's not explicitly said, you have to examine why we're so willing to accept a father's geographical estrangement from his child as a matter of circumstance or personality, but--were a mother to make the same choice--it would require significantly more explanation to get even close to acceptance.
Alright. This is already getting interesting.
I will say I was disappointed, though, near the end of the chapter, when Beau goes into the office and catches Edythe cajoling the receptionist, MR. Cope, into letting her switch science classes. If we are to take into account all canonical* literature, Edythe knows how her "low velvety voice" affects Mr. Cope, and while it seems toothless to have a young man twinkle his eye at a middle aged receptionist to get her to give him what he wants, it produces a much different visual image to have a young girl batting her eyelashes at a middle aged man, which I thought was a change worth exploring. How would it look from the outside? How would it look from the inside?
Chapter 2: Open Book
Synopsis: Edward/Edythe disappear from school, then just as mysteriously reappear. He/She speaks to Bella/Beau for the first time.
Analysis: Straight up Find and Replace. But still, L&D is better. Sooooooo much better.
Chapter 3: Phenomenon
Synopsis: Bella/Beau gets snow chains! Edward/Edythe stop a van!
Analysis: It's really similar, which I guess is what I expected. There's no reason that stopping a van from crushing someone should be any different for a super-strong female than it is for a super-strong male. Though, when the van swings around to crush Beau's legs, Edythe utters a more understandable "Come on!" rather than Edward's lame "low oath".
There's a different feel to it, though, somehow. When Bella's on a stretcher in the hospital and Edward comes to talk to her, it feels different, more powerless than when Beau and Edythe act out the same scene. Which makes me wonder why?
Well, for one, Beau just isn't as goofy, frankly, and so he doesn't feel so ridiculous. When Bella sees Edward in the hospital, she glares at him, though she says she'd rather "ogle" him (which I find personally embarrassing). Beau simply stares at Edythe, trying to put the pieces together. He's better written than Bella is, which makes him seem just more--I don't know--with it. Less bumbling. Less of a mess.
Next up, chapters 4-6. Someone's going to faint during blood typing!!
*This assumes that Midnight Sun is considered part of the Twilight canon. Which, we're all doing, right?