Review of Defining Twilight vocabulary workbook by Brian Leaf

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review of Defining Twilight vocabulary workbook by Brian LeafDefining Twilight by Brian Leaf
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on 2009-07-01
Genres: Language Arts & Disciplines, Vocabulary
Pages: 192
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
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Can you resist the allure of Edward’s myriad charms—his ocher eyes and tousled hair, the cadence of his speech, his chiseled alabaster skin, and his gratuitous charm? Will you hunt surreptitiously and tolerate the ceaselessdeluge in Forks to evade the sun and uphold the facade? Join Edward and Bella as you learn more than 600 vocabulary words to improve your score on the *SAT, ACT®, GED®, and SSAT® exams! Use this workbook side-by-side with your own copy of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight! Each chapter of the workbook gives you eight words taken from Twilight, with page references for you to read the words in the context of your favorite novel Define the words on your own before turning back to the workbook for their actual definitions At the end of each section you’ll take SAT, ACT, GED, and SSAT drills and quizzes to review and integrate what you’ve learned Plus, you’ll learn synonyms, Latin word parts, and memorization tools throughout the workbook

Defining Twilight by Brian Leaf is a workbook which essentially works in conjunction with Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. The person using the workbook is supposed to read a chapter, then do the vocabulary exercises in the workbook. I think this is an attempt at making SAT studying fun and exciting for students. It’s a nice idea, but as an educator, I’m going to tell you, workbooks are not the best way to go about studying for the SAT. If you want high vocab scores on the SAT read books. Read the classics, they are full of big words. Use this wonderful thing you own called your brain. If you’ve had good teachers, you will know to use context clues to figure out the word. I.e. “Stephanie looked at the GARGANTUAN building as it loomed above her head.” – Clearly, if you are not a dunder head you can probably conclude that gargantuan may mean large, since the building is looming above her head and all. I would love to one day possibly see SAT books replaced with promotions of the classics. Want to know big words to pass a test? OMG read North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, there’s a lovely male lead. Or hey children, check out Dracula by Bram Stoker, gargantuan words, and a non-sparkly vampire.

I suppose if a student hates reading and will only read Twilight, this may be the way for them to go in order to study. However, I see this working as a sort of cramming tool. Each chapter shows several words, the student must then guess what the word means from the context and write down what they think. Hmmm, wheel…reinvent…something, ah I don’t remember the phrase 😉 But I digress. Once students have figured out how to decode words, they must then do analogies and synonyms, then it’s multiple choice question time. I think analogies could be valuable, since that’s pretty hard. I don’t see this as creating lasting learning. I mean, students aren’t even asked to use the words in a sentence or in daily conversation, so it’s as though they only need the word for a test. I also worry that when reluctant readers associate a book they enjoy, Twilight, with work, they may be reluctant to read more, as god forbid they get forced by well-meaning parents into using a work-book.

How about we make vocabulary books that teach students how powerful words are. Oh, hey kid, did you know these words in The Prince by Machiavelli inspired kings? Yeah, bro, royalty. Or oh snap, check out this speech Lincoln gave, Gettysburg address, look at that power. Or for recent times, Obama’s speech when he won the presidency.

I love this quote from one of my favorite movies, V For Vendetta, “Why? Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth.”

Leave the workbook at home, and read a book which changed the world.

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. Just when I think I've seen everything….I don't even know how I feel about this. Sad? Annoyed? Amused? A little of everything? I guess this is proof that people will slap the Twilight branding on anything and try to sell it.

  2. agree completely

  3. I've always thought this book was a bit ridiculous. Thanks for the honest review! 🙂

  4. Haha, great review!!

    What grade are you teaching?

  5. yes, this review was awesome and I love the quote at the end!!!

  6. When I first saw this book – I thought it was a joke, or a dream, or I was hallucinating.
    Thanks for the review – I couldn't really believe it was what it said it was and I don't think I could have reviewed it without using bad words 🙂