I picked up New Moon with the usual trepidation reserved for sequels. In my mind, there was no way it could match how Twilight made me feel. Imagine my surprise when it not only matched, but surpassed it. If Twilight is all about the magic and mystery of falling in love for the first time, New Moon is about the soul crushing effects of losing it.
All of us can look back on life and clearly remember the first boy or girl we loved and lost. Something about that moment is forever embedded in our psyche, has forever influenced how we view members of the opposite sex and relationships. But as Kristen Stewart has very aptly stated, there is no reference to breaking up with a vampire, especially one that you think is your soulmate, and so Bella’s grief is shattering. I hadn’t realized how intensely emotional I was on her behalf until I got to chapter 4 and came across what is perhaps my favorite quote of the entire series:
Time passes. Even when it seems impossible. Even when each tick of the second hand aches like the pulse of blood behind a bruise. It passes unevenly, in strange lurches and dragging lulls, but pass it does. Even for me.
Now I’ve heard many people say New Moon is their least favorite book of the series. They feel Bella is whiny and over-dramatic. But all I have to say in regard to that is this: those words are the most honest, the most brutal and the most raw I have ever read in connection with teenage heartbreak. It is so unlike any other emotion. Being young and in love, it always feels like it will last forever so when it actually ends, it feel as though life might as well end with it. And with those words, I fell irrevocably in love with New Moon.
The great thing about this book is the many surprises. (Keep in mind, I read New Moon before the Twilight series became… TWILIGHT, as we know it now- so I was not spoiled.)For starters, I did not expect to find so little of Edward Cullen. And I did not expect NOT to miss him. I was what I consider a die hard Edward and Bella fan in book one. I fell in love just as she did. I was taken by the Roswell-esque similarities and Edward and Bella had become my new Max and Liz, two people I could get completely fangirly over. I’d enjoyed Jacob, but I would never have believed I could grow to love him the way I did.
Herein lies the power in Stephenie Meyer’s writing. She took what I consider a small supporting character and turned him into a leading man. By the time Jake and Bella went to the movies with Mike, I was convinced that he was the only person on earth capable of making her whole again. Each moment he was on the page it was like he filled the entire scene with warmth and love and happiness. I don’t remember the last time I cried and smiled so often in one reading.
But the book was epic on more than just the emotional level. It held some of the most iconic scenes of the series. The cliff jump remains to this day one of the most visually moving scenes I’ve read- in any bit of fiction. And the entire bit in Italy… it brought the story to a whole other level. It went from simple girl meets vampire to this centuries old mythology with rules and royalty and serious consequences. It raised the stakes and made the Cullens’ existence that much more fascinating. Not to mention, Alice’s larger role in this book was so much fun to read! She is definitely my favorite Cullen.
So when it comes to New Moon, I have to give it an A+. It remains my favorite book of the series.