New Moon
by Stephenie Meyer, fantasy (2007)
Megan Tingley Books, $10.99, ISBN 978-0-316-02496-9


Where we last left the putrid Bella Swan and her milquetoast vampire boyfriend Edward Cullen in Twilight, they were breathlessly gasping in a G-rated way that they love each other so, so, so much that some woman with questionable writing ability will immortalize their sacred love in a long story full of overreaching hyperbole and flowery adjectives. Which brings us to the sequel, New Moon, which Ms Meyer bases on Romeo & Juliet. Don't worry if you miss the Shakespeare "tribute" - the author will beat you in the head again and again with references to that play and how the anguished love of Romeo and Juliet mirrors that of Bella and Edward until you will actually hear Bella's gasping high-pitched sobs every time you close your eyes and attempt to sleep.

Okay, so Bella has established the fact that everyone adores her and believes that she is the best most perfect thing that ever put its dainty twinkly toes onto this world. Of course, this means that she will need a new accessory in addition to the vampire beau she already has holding her body upright. We need a werewolf boyfriend now! But I'm getting ahead of myself. The story opens with some of the most cringe-inducing scenes of people lavishly adoring the ground that Bella walks on, but alas, the whole "Bella is awesome" party comes to an end when Edward realizes that he has to ditch Bella for her own good.

You see, he is a vampire and Bella is human, so he can't bear the thought that he may one day lose control and clamp his mouth onto her neck, plunging his long fangs through her flesh with a violent ripping sound straight into a juicy vein before taking a savage long sip. Bella will then scream in agony as Edward tears a big chunk of her throat out, causing a huge jet of sparkling Ribena-colored Mary Sue blood to gush from the wound. "Oh, shut up, bitch!" Edward will then snarl and with a big swipe of his hand, send Bella's head flying right across the room to land onto the street where it is then promptly squashed by a passing truck... oh, wait, that never happened. Edward decides that it is best he leaves Bella and Bella falls apart.

Seriously, she falls apart so quickly, you'd think Edward has taken what little of her backbone with him when he left. She really cannot function. She screams, she breaks things, she refuses to leave her room, and no doubt she smells and looks like the crazy woman in that The Exorcist movie. This is where Jacob Black, the high school kid that ends up showing Bella a good time, steps in. He pretty much holds Bella up, guides her as she attempts to stand up so that she doesn't collapse into a pool of sparkling jello on the ground, and acts as her brain in the absence of Edward. When Edward shows up again - come on, you know he will show up again - Bella is placed in a most difficult situation. Heaven knows, thinking is not her greatest strength and having to make a decision would have caused her to fall into catatonia. Luckily for her, she doesn't have to think here because since she is the most awesome Mary Sue in the world, things fall into place for her.

Bella drives me nuts in this story because she is so pathetic, indecisive, and whiny - and she's celebrated for that! I feel so embarrassed - for her for being a grade-A loser and for me for reading this book - when she falls apart and has to rely on the big strong lads around her to keep her from melting into goo on the floor. I hate to be a cliché and say that I like Jacob, but I do, unfortunately, because he's cool and funny and everything that the pathetic milquetoast Edward isn't. But, ugh, that guy wants to stick his paws into Isabella Swan's bra, which makes him lose plenty of cool points where I am concerned. His relationship with Bella here is an eerie mirror of that between Edward and Bella in the previous book: the so-called intelligent and awesome heroine apparently inspires so much protectiveness in the big strong men she encounters that these men are moved to protect her, cuddle her, think for her, and make decisions for her. Yucks.

And the writing! It's like reading an epic saga version of a young girl's first ever love letter to her favorite among the Jonas Brothers. If I do not have to read about how deep a bond Bella has with Edward ever again, I'll be grateful. The story has some good ideas - I love those parts of the book dealing with Jacob and his gang because it reminds me somewhat of The Lost Boys minus the evil vampire thing. Alas, the whole thing is ruined by Bella's constant neediness and endless whining. Bella makes this book nearly unreadable for me. I can't stand her. Victoria should have eaten that whiny pustule of a wretch, I tell you. Can someone save Jacob from Bella's G-rated version of the Magic Sparkling Vagina of Doom?

I can understand why this book could work very well with young kids. A young woman so special that all she needs to do is to breathe in order to get every lad in the school to fall for her; to have two sexually non-threatening Zac Efron clones to fight over her - that is the most potent pornographic fantasy that anyone could have ever written for teenage girls. This series is to those young ladies what the Playboy Video Playmate Collection is to their teenage brothers. Alas, I've long become too cynical to appreciate such literary wet dreams unless they are very well written, and no, I don't think Stephenie Meyer's breathless heart-shaped "I Wrote A Love Letter To Zac Efron Telling Him We Have A Deep Emotional Bond And I Really, Really Miss Him" style of writing comes close to being good enough for me.

Rating: 44


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