New Moon is the second book in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. You should read the first book, Twilight, before starting New Moon.
As I was reading New Moon, I mentally renamed it as “Bella Goes Emo”. The Twilight series is intended for teenagers and young adults, and I was quite a bit older than that when I started reading it. New Moon is best read when you are the same age (or better yet, younger than) Bella is at the start of the book.
Adults who read this book might find themselves annoyed by Bella’s frequent overreactions to situations. This is especially true for adults who cannot remember how intense life seemed when they were Bella’s age.
Bella has a birthday. Alice, Edward’s “sister”, and Bella’s closest female friend, decides this calls for a birthday party. Alice throws Bella a party, despite Bella’s protests. The guest list includes Edward and the rest of his family.
This puts Bella in an awkward position that she doesn’t seem able to find a way out of. First of all, Bella is uncomfortable being the center of attention.
Another problem is that Bella is now eighteen years old. This makes her “older” than Edward (who will stay seventeen forever). She’s having nightmares about someday looking like Edward’s grandmother. This fear causes Bella to push Edward even harder to turn her into a vampire. As before, he refuses.
The two lovers want to spend the rest of their lives together, but there is a lot of tension between them regarding Bella’s wish to become a vampire. Bella wants to do it right now. Edward is making her wait because he doesn’t want Bella to lose out on “human experiences”. Eventually, the reader learns that there are other reasons why Edward is so hesitant.
So, they have an awkward birthday party for Bella. She accidentally gives herself a paper cut while opening a gift. One drop of blood is all it takes for one of Edward’s siblings to go into a frenzy. Bella gets attacked, and more blood spills as she falls over a table.
This is yet another example of how much danger Bella is in because she’s hanging around with vampires. Not long after this incident, Edward has a dramatic and devastating conversation with Bella. He leaves her.
Edward failed to make it clear why he was leaving Bella, and she becomes convinced that he doesn’t love her at all. Bella goes catatonic for about four months. Stephenie Meyer represents this “lost time” by providing the reader with four pages that were intentionally left blank (other than one word – the name of a month – in each).
At first, I thought my copy of New Moon had a defect. After learning that the book was intended to be that way – I decided that it was a clever way to show how devastated Bella was when Edward left her. Think back to your first “real” romance, and how you felt when it ended. That’s where Bella is at for most of New Moon.
Bella’s father, Charlie, eventually becomes very frustrated with Bella. She won’t “snap out of” her mood. Charlie starts hating Edward, which is understandable given the circumstances. Charlie threatens to send Bella back to live with her mother unless she starts hanging out with her school friends again and, well… gets a life.
Charlie suggests that Bella go see Jacob, a friend that she’s known since both of them were little kids. She agrees, and begins spending time with Jacob again. What Charlie doesn’t know is that Bella is not over Edward. She’s trying to stay in Forks because she thinks that if she leaves – Edward won’t be able to find her. She is holding on to hope that, someday, Edward will come back to her.
Bella starts losing it. She discovers, by accident, that when she puts herself into danger – she can hear Edward’s voice in her head. This causes her to engage in even more dangerous situations just to hear from Edward again. She does this despite knowing that later on, after she is out of danger, the memory of that small connection – now over – causes her pain.
Meanwhile, Jacob and Bella are spending nearly all of their time together. They become closer and closer. Jacob has developed romantic feelings for Bella, but it’s clear she’s not over Edward yet. Jacob patiently waits for her to move on, and is doing his best to be everything Bella needs.
For a while, Jacob seems to have a good effect on Bella. She has moments of true happiness, and thinks of him as her “sun”. Bella notices that Jacob has hit a growth spurt and has become quite attractive. New Moon could have stopped here, with Bella in a healthy relationship with a long-time friend.
Instead, things get kind of broken. It turns out that Jacob has a secret that he hasn’t told Bella about (although he hinted at it in Twilight.) He, and other members of his tribe, are werewolves. They are enemies of the vampires. Bella is stuck between them.
The ending picks up speed as Alice comes to get Bella so the two can go save Edward. Alice has a vision in which Edward is… without giving away too many details… trying to get himself killed. Bella has to choose between rescuing Edward or staying with Jacob.