New Moon (The Twilight Saga, Book 2) Review
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What’s that I hear…? Screaming teenage girls? Hmmm…it must be time for another Twilight movie already. So, with vampires and werewolves and moody teen girls racing toward theaters, it’s time to get caught up on The Twilight Saga.

The second book in the series begins with The End. It’s Bella’s 18th birthday—whether she likes it or not. Though she’d much rather be a vampire like Edward—and she spends the day moping about how Edward will never be 18—she reluctantly lets the Cullens throw her a birthday party. But when her trademark klutziness results in disaster, Edward considers the danger he’s putting her in—and the family agrees that it’s time to move on, for Bella’s sake.

So Edward says his goodbyes, begging Bella not to do anything “reckless.” In return, he promises to go away forever—like he never existed.

And so begins several months (and well over 100 pages) of Bella’s pining and brooding. While it’s a pretty realistic way for a teenage girl to react (or at least for a while), it’s excruciating to read—especially for so long. In fact, Bella slips into such a deep, agonizing funk that it’s impossible to read it without feeling a bit depressed. Fortunately, though, the story isn’t all about Bella’s moping.

Finally, as a favor to her dad, Charlie, Bella tries to snap out of it—kinda. Angry with Edward for not keeping his end of the deal, she decides to do something truly reckless: get a motorcycle. But the old clunker she finds needs fixing, so she asks Jacob Black for help.

Just when it looks like Bella might be slowly recovering, she once again finds herself in danger—from a vengeful vampire, a pack of giant beasts…maybe even her own best friend.

And that’s when things start to pick up for New Moon. Even though the entire book does have an underlying moodiness to it, at least there’s a bit of action and suspense thrown in to distract from all that teen angst. In fact, once danger rears its [welcome] head, the story starts to race ahead—and it quickly goes from excruciating to exhilarating.

New Moon certainly has its ups and downs. It has its share of thrilling moments—and, during those moments, an entire army of ancient vampires couldn’t make you put the book down. But it also has its share of unbearably schmaltzy moments (usually whenever Edward is involved)—and, during those moments, you might be tempted to set the book aside and move on to something less…irritating. Just stick with it, though; I promise it gets better.

As I read, I couldn’t help but wonder what happened to change how I felt about Edward. In the first book, he was moody and inhumanly sweet—just as he is in the second book. But in the first book, I found the angst and the saccharine sweetness so much easier to endure. So what happened to change the way I look at the character? I saw Catherine Hardwicke’s dark and brooding Twilight movie—and I think I was just so turned off by Rob Pattinson’s Edward (and, to a lesser extent, Kristen Stewart’s Bella) that it made the book less enjoyable.

Still, I’m willing to give it another shot—if only for Jacob’s sake. Despite his recent changes, he’s still refreshingly upbeat and realistic. He’s the bright spot in an increasingly murky series, and he makes it worth continuing to the next book—that is, as long as Taylor Lautner doesn’t ruin it for me when I see the movie version of New Moon later this month.

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