81qBmqMWSvLOn Tuesday, in honor of the 10th anniversary of Twilight, author Stephenie Meyer released a version of the book with 400 pages of new content. Twilight Reimagined: Life and Death tells the story of Edythe and Beau. Yes, you read that right. Bella is now a boy, Edward and Jacob (Julie) are girls.

Talking about the new book on Good Morning America, Ms. Meyer said she did so in response to readers who felt Bella was simply a “damsel in distress.”

“It’s always bothered me a little bit because anyone surrounded by superheroes is going to be … in distress. We don’t have the powers,” Meyer said. “I thought, ‘What if we switched it around a bit and see how a boy does,’ and, you know, it’s about the same.”

“The further you get in, the more it changes because the personalities get a little bit different, but it starts out very similar and really, it really is the same story because it’s just a love story and it doesn’t matter who’s the boy and who’s the girl, it still works out,” she said.

The idea that it doesn’t matter who’s the boy and who’s the girl in a love story is antithetical to traditional romance. At least I think it is. When I imagine swapping the genders in most of my reading, I’m flummoxed. I can’t imagine Dain as dainty and Jessica as a rake. In fact, I’m not sure I can think of a romance where the gender of the leads doesn’t matter. (I don’t read fantasy or sci fi which may lend itself more to this.)

Maybe I don’t understand what Meyer has done. And given that I’m unlikely to read the novel, I’m not going to learn. I’m curious, but not that curious.

What do you think? Could Bella’s voice be believably male? Would it be interesting if it was? Have you read any romances lately that you could switch the genders of the lovers and it wouldn’t matter? Would you want to read this one?

Dabney Grinnan