YA book review: New Moon

New Moon is the second book in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. (Twilight is reviewed here.) I put off reading it for a bit because the first book took over my life for the two days I spent reading it, and I haven’t had the kind of time to spare lately (September? Where are you…??), but clearly after enjoying the first book to an almost obsessive degree, I had to read its successor.

Plot synopsis

We’re back in Forks, where Bella is uber depressed about turning 18, because this not only makes her a year older than the immortal 17-year-old love of her life, Mr. Edward Cullen, but sets her on the path to becoming increasingly older than said love as the years roll on, unless one day EC will finally sack up and just damn her mortal soul already so she can properly walk amongst the dead. Because 30-year-old chicks with 17-year-old dudes? Not cool. (Even though he’s actually over a hundred, but whatevs. This vampire math lesson has come to a close.)

Anyway, because the vamps don’t age, they are super excited for the opportunity to throw a birthday party complete with cake and frivolous presents bought with the loot they’ve amassed over eternity. But clumsy Bella has to ruin the whole party by cutting herself on a piece of scotch tape whilst opening a b-day gift, releasing the sweet fragrance of the nectar of her veins into the air, and sending the bloodthirsty human-flesh abstainers into a crack-fiend-like frenzy.

Once again, Edward feels that his presence in Bella’s life has put her in unneeded danger, so he chooses to abandon her. The entire Cullen family up and leaves Forks.

Bella loses it (literally: there are several months in the book that have introductory divider pages but no corresponding text–wicked cool device, I have to say). After months of floating around in a stupor, much like the undead, she re-befriends Jacob, the boy from the Quileute reservation who she met in the first book. Jacob becomes her BFF, until he comes down with an illness that includes irritability and avoidance of BFFs as two of its symptoms. Turns out, Jacob has a secret of his own.

Meanwhile, Victoria, the red headed girlfriend of psycho stalker James from book one wants Bella’s delicious head on a nice silver platter as vengeance for the killing of her man-friend. Some wolves in the woods seem to be keeping her at bay, but her threat lingers.

And of course, you might remember a character named Edward Cullen? (If you’re thirteen, it’s the dude on the poster over your bed that you kiss every night before you nod off.) Well, he might have vanished, but not for long. Because Bella’s heart, and the hearts of readers the world over, could not handle it.

There, that about sums it up with minimal spoilers.

Notes

This book in tone and feeling is very, very different than the first book. The first book was much more character driven, and this book was much more plot driven. When Edward took off and I realized how different this book would be, I was pretty set on being disappointed, but once I let the book stand on its own, I really enjoyed it–and I appreciated the fact that it did stand on its own.

I referred to a clever device in the synopsis; here’s more detail: after Edward left, Bella’s sorrow was conveyed in a very creative way. The book has part pages for October, November, December, January (or whatever the intervening months were–I’ve already passed my copy of the book on to my gram to read, so I don’t have it here to refer to), but no actual text sections follow the part pages. Very, very cool.

I hated seeing Bella string Jacob along. I really like his character and I didn’t like how she manipulated him. This tends to be a problem I have with first-person series as well as with television shows that center around one particular character–they tend to get all “woe is me” and start coming across as self-righteous eventually (see Meredith Grey, Serena van der Woodsen, etc.). This could be a personal hang-up. Still, poor Jacob.

So to sum up, very cool that book two stands on its own, has its own voice, and is enjoyable.

Do I recommend this book?

Uh, yeah…judging by that fact that my sister is currently reading my copy of Twilight, which was passed to her from my grandmother, who currently has my copy of New Moon, so far books one and two of the series are making the rounds. We’ll see if book three makes the circuit, but not before I take a break from the vampires to check in with my old friend Georgia Nicolson. Yippee!!

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1 Comment »

  1. Sada said

    I FINALLY finished reading this! I liked it, but not nearly as much as the first book. I was glad it picked up the pace toward the end, but the first two-thirds of this book were slooooooow. There was a little too much of Bella not realizing things that I, the reader, had long since figured out. I’m impatient, I suppose, but I was like, “Let’s get on with it already!”

    I would also like to note that vampires seem prone to extremely codependent relationships.

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