36 ways 'Twilight' changes when the genders are reversed

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On Tuesday, Twilight fans were thrilled when author Stephenie Meyer announced that—in honor of the 10th anniversary of her supernatural teen romance series—she’s written a new version of the original novel in which every character’s gender is reversed. (Well, almost every character: the protagonist’s parents remain Renée and Charlie, because Meyer is for some reason more concerned about verisimilitude when it comes to child custody law than the existence of werewolves.)

[Take care, sparkly vampire enthusiasts: this post is glistening with spoilers.]


Though the character of Bella Swan has been criticized as a “damsel in distress,” Meyer insists in the prologue to Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined that she’s a “human in distress” who could just as easily have been written as male. The plot of Life and Death is much the same as Twilight’s, but—rather than Bella and Edward—it’s a pale, awkward teenage boy, Beau, who falls in love with an irresistible female vampire named Edythe. There’s also, surprise, an alternate ending, in which Beau may or may not become a vampire himself. (He totally becomes a vampire, you guys.)

We read Life and Death in its entirety—you’re welcome, by the way—alongside Twilight to see exactly how this gimmick changes the central story. For one thing, Beau is a lot more forward physically with Edythe than Bella was with Edward (which, in the context of the reliably chaste Twilight universe, means they do a lot of holding hands), and the characters even go so far as to say the word S-E-X out loud. There are also some narrative allowances made for Edythe’s relatively smaller frame in comparison to Beau’s.


But most of the discrepancies we found were charmingly ridiculous. Here are 36 of our favorite gender-swap moments from Life and Death, each side-by-side with the original passage from Twilight.


Life and Death

1.I was wearing my favorite shirt—sleeveless, white eyelet lace; I was wearing it as a farewell gesture. My carry-on item was a parka.I had on my favorite shirt—the Monty Python one with the swallows and the coconut that Mom got me two Christmases ago. It didn’t quite fit anymore, but that didn’t matter. I wouldn’t be needing t-shirts again soon.
2.My mom looks like me, except with short hair and laugh lines.My mom says we look so much alike that I could use her for a shaving mirror.
3.[Forks, Washington] was beautiful, of course; I couldn’t deny that.[Forks, Washington] was probably beautiful or something.
4.Maybe, if I looked like a girl from Phoenix should, I could work this to my advantage. But physically, I’d never fit in anywhere. I should be tan, sporty, blond—a volleyball player, or a cheerleader, perhaps...Maybe if I had been one of the cool kids, I could make this work for me. Come in all popular, homecoming king-styles. But there was no hiding the fact that I was not that guy—not the football star, not the class president, not the bad boy on the motorcycle.
5.[Rosalie Hale] was statuesque. She had a beautiful figure, the kind you saw on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, the kind that made every girl around her take a hit on her self-esteem just by being in the same room. Her hair was golden, gently waving to the middle of her back.[Royal Hale]—who was definitely taller than me, I’d guess six-five or even more—was clearly the school’s star athlete. And the prom king. And the guy who always had dibs on whatever equipment he wanted in the weight room. His straight gold hair was wound into a bun on the back of his head, but there was nothing feminine about it—somehow it made him look even more like a man.
6.“That’s Edward. He’s gorgeous, of course, but don’t waste your time. He doesn’t date. Apparently none of the girls here are good-looking enough for him.”"That’s Edith [sic]. She’s hot, sure, but don’t waste your time. She doesn’t go out with anyone. Apparently none of the guys here are good enough for her.”
7.He was leaning away from me, sitting on the extreme edge of his chair and averting his face like he smelled something bad. Inconspicuously, I sniffed my hair. It smelled like strawberries, the scent of my favorite shampoo. It seemed an innocent enough odor.She was leaning away from me, sitting on the extreme edge of her chair and averting her face like she smelled something bad. Inconspicuously, I sniffed. My shirt smelled like laundry detergent. How could that be offensive?
8.He had the long sleeves of his white shirt pushed up to his elbows, and his forearm was surprisingly hard and muscular beneath his light skin. He wasn’t nearly as slight as he’d looked next to his burly brother.She had the sleeves of her white henley pushed up to her elbows, and her forearm flexed with surprisingly hard muscle beneath her pale skin. I couldn’t help but notice how perfect that skin was. Not one freckle, not one scar.
9.Edward Cullen stood at the desk in front of me. I recognized again that tousled bronze hair… He was arguing with [the receptionist] in a low, attractive voice.Edythe Cullen stood at the desk in front of me. Impossible not to recognize that tangled bronze hair… She was arguing with [the receptionist] in a low, velvety voice.
10.Mike, who was taking on the qualities of a golden retriever, walked faithfully by my side to class.McKayla, who was starting to seem weirdly, I don’t know, territorial about me, walked by my side to class.
11.His hair was dripping wet, disheveled—even so, he looked like he’d just finished shooting a commercial for hair gel. His dazzling face was friendly, open, a slight smile on his flawless lips. But his eyes were careful.Her hair was dripping wet, tangled—even so, she looked like she’d just finished shooting a commercial. Her perfect face was friendly, open, a slight smile on her full, pink lips. But her long eyes were careful.
12.“Ladies first, partner?” Edward asked. I looked up to see him smiling a crooked smile so beautiful that I could only stare at him like an idiot.“Ladies first, partner?” Edythe asked. I looked up to see her smiling a dimpled smile so perfect that I could only stare at her like a fool.
13.Then a doctor [Carlisle Cullen] walked around the corner, and my mouth fell open. He was young, he was blond... and he was handsomer than any movie star I’d ever seen.Then a doctor [Carine Cullen] walked around the corner, and my mouth fell open. She was young, she was blond... and she was more beautiful than any movie star I’d ever seen. Like someone sliced up Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, and Marilyn Monroe, took the best parts, and glued them together to form one goddess.
14.Tyler Crowley was impossible, following me around, obsessed with making amends to me somehow.Taylor Crowley was super annoying, following me around, coming up with different hypothetical ways to make it up to me.
15.No one else watched him the way I did. How pitiful.No one watched her the way I did. It was pathetic, and kind of stalkerish.
16.His voice was quiet as usual—velvet, muted.Her voice was just a murmur, muted velvet, and her lips were holding back a smile. Like she thought I was hilarious.
17.I kept walking, sloshing angrily through the rain. But he was next to me, easily keeping pace.“I’m sorry, that was rude,” she said, somehow right next to me, keeping pace though my legs were probably twice as long as hers.
18.“Myself, obviously.” He enunciated every syllable, as if he were talking to someone mentally handicapped.“Myself, obviously.” She enunciated every syllable, like she thought maybe English wasn’t my first language.
19.I didn’t feel like mentioning that my stomach was already full—of butterflies.I didn’t think it was necessary to mention that my stomach wasn’t steady enough for food.
20.“What if I’m not a superhero? What if I’m the bad guy?” He smiled playfully, but his eyes were impenetrable.“But what if I’m not a superhero? What if I’m a villain?” She smiled as she said this, playfully, but her eyes were heavy with some burden I couldn’t imagine.
21.”You’re dangerous?” I guessed, my pulse quickening as I intuitively realized the truth of my own words. He was dangerous. He’d been trying to tell me that all along.“You’re dangerous?” It came out like a question, and there was doubt in my voice. She was smaller than I was, no more than my age, and delicately built. Under normal circumstances, I would have laughed at applying the word dangerous to someone like her. But she was not normal, and there was no one like her... Under the doubt, outside the incongruity of the word dangerous applied to her slim and perfect body, I could feel the truth of the foundation. The danger was real, though my logical mind couldn’t make sense of it.
22.Suddenly the sidewalk disappeared from beneath me. My eyes flew open in shock. Edward had scooped me up in his arms, as easily as if I weighed ten pounds instead of a hundred and ten.And then a thin, strong arm was under both of mine, and I was on my feet without realizing how I got there. The strong arm, cold like the sidewalk, held me tight against a slim body, almost like a crutch. My eyes flipped open in surprise, but all I could see was her tangled bronze hair against my chest.
23.I don’t know how he opened the door while carrying me, but it was suddenly warm, so I knew we were inside.I wasn’t sure how she got the door open while dragging me, but suddenly it was warm—everywhere except where her body pressed against me. I wished I could appreciate that more—her body touching mine. I knew that under normal circumstances I would be enjoying this.
24.“Where do you think you’re going?” [Edward] asked, outraged. He was gripping a fistful of my jacket in one hand.“Where are you going?” [Edythe] asked, surprised. Her little hand had a fistful of my jacket. She didn’t look like she’d even planted her feet. For a second I couldn’t answer… I wondered it if it was supposed to bother me that she was so stronger than I was, but I hadn’t been insecure about things like that for a long time… So, this small girl was stronger than I was. A lot. But I was willing to bet she was stronger than everyone else I knew, kids and adults alike. She could take Schwarzenegger in his prime. I couldn’t compete with that, and I didn’t need to. She was special.
25.[Jacob] looked fourteen, maybe fifteen, and had long, glossy black hair pulled back with a rubber band at the nape of his neck. His skin was beautiful, silky and russet-colored, his eyes were dark, set deep above the high planes of his cheekbones. He still had just a hint of childish roundness left around his chin. Altogether, a very pretty face.[Julie] looked fourteen, maybe fifteen, and had long, glossy black hair pulled back with a rubber band at the nape of her neck. Her skin was really beautiful, like coppery silk, her dark eyes were wide-set above her high cheekbones, and her lips were curved like a bow. It was a very pretty face.
26.[Jacob] had a pleasant, husky voice.[Julie] had an interesting voice, warm and kind of throaty.
27.And then Edward stepped out from the trees, his skin faintly glowing, his eyes black and dangerous. He held up one hand and beckoned me to come to him.And then Edythe stepped out from the trees. She wore a black dress. It hung all the way to the ground but exposed her arms to the shoulders and had a deep-cut V for a neckline. Her skin was faintly glowing, and her eyes were flat black. She held up one hand and beckoned me to come to her. Her nails were filed into sharp points and painted a red so dark they were almost as black as her dress. Her lips were the same color.
28.Because when I thought of him, of his voice, his hypnotic eyes, the magnetic force of his personality, I wanted nothing more than to be with him right now.Because when I thought of her, of her voice, her hypnotic eyes, the magnetic way her body pulled mine toward her, all I wanted was to be with her right now.
29.He was removing a light beige leather jacket now; underneath he wore an ivory turtleneck sweater. It fit him snugly, emphasizing how muscular his chest was. He handed me the jacket, interrupting my ogling....under the scarf she had on a pale gray leather jacket, cut short like motorcycle gear, and a thin white turtleneck sweater. I was pretty sure she usually kept her skin covered, which made me think of the deep V of the black dream gown again, and that was a mistake. A patch of warmth started to bloom on the side of my neck.
30.“She wants to know if we’re secretly dating. And she wants to know how you feel about me,” he finally said.She grinned a mischievous smile. “He wants to know if we’re secretly dating. And exactly which base you’ve gotten to with me.”
31.“Tell me everything!” [Jessica] commanded before I was in the seat.Dang, son,” [Jeremy] said. “Who knew you had that kind of game?”
32.But outside the door to our Spanish class, leaning against the wall—looking more like a Greek god than anyone had a right to—Edward was waiting for me.But outside the door to my Spanish class, leaning against the wall—looking a thousand times more beautiful than anyone had a right to—Edythe was waiting for me.
33.His white shirt was sleeveless, and he wore it unbuttoned, so that the smooth white skin of his throat flowed uninterrupted over the marble contours of his chest, his perfect musculature no longer merely hinted at behind concealing clothes. He was too perfect, I realized with a piercing stab of despair. There was no way this godlike creature could be meant for me.I’d never seen so much of her skin. Her pale arms, her slim shoulders, the fragile-looking twigs of her collarbones, the vulnerable hollows above them, the swanlike column of her neck, the gentle swell of her breasts—don’t stare, don’t stare—and the ribs I could nearly count under the thin cotton. She was too perfect, I realized with a crushing wave of despair. There was no way this goddess could ever belong with me.
34.“I come here almost every night.”
I whirled, stunned. "Why?”
“You’re interesting when you sleep.” He spoke matter-of-factly. “You talk.”
“No!” I gasped, heat flooding my face all the way to my hairline. I gripped the kitchen counter for support… I felt and sounded like I’d had the breath knocked out of me.
She sighed. “I’ll come back here after you and your father are asleep. It’s sort of my routine lately.”
I blinked. Then I blinked again.
“You come here?”
“Almost every night.”
“You’re interesting when you sleep,” she said casually. “You talk.”
My mouth popped open. Heat flashed up my neck and into my face… Was I [angry with her]? I didn’t know. The potential for humiliation was strong.
35.“You said that Rosalie and Emmett will get married soon… Is that… marriage… the same as it is for humans?”
He laughed in earnest now, understanding. “Is that what you’re getting at?”
“So I’m just an ordinary human guy, and you’re the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen, and I am just… overwhelmed by you, and a part of that, naturally, is that I’m insanely attracted to you, which I’m sure you can’t have helped but notice, what with your being, like, super aware of my circulatory system, but what I don’t know is, if it’s like that for you. Or is it like sleeping and eating, which you don’t need and I do—though I don’t want them nearly as much as I want you? You said that Eleanor and Royal go off and live like a married couple, but does that even mean the same thing for vampires? And this question is totally offside, completely not first date appropriate, and I’m sorry and you don’t have to answer.”
...She laughed. “Are you asking me about sex, Beau?”
My face got hot again. “Yes. I shouldn’t have.”
She laughed again. “I did climb into your bed, Beau. I believe that makes this line of inquiry quite understandable.”
36.“Hi, Bella!” Alice said, and she bounced forward to kiss my cheek.“Beau!” [Archie] greeted me, enthusiastic like we were old friends. He held out his hand, and when I went to shake it, he pulled me into one of those one-armed bro-hugs, thumping me lightly on the back.

Molly Fitzpatrick is senior editor of Fusion's Pop & Culture section. Her interests include movies about movies, TV shows about TV shows, and movies about TV shows, but not so much TV shows about movies.