Study Guide

New Moon

By Stephenie Meyer

New Moon Introduction

New Moon, Stephenie Meyer's second novel in the Twilight saga, continues to explore the love between human girl Bella Swan and the handsome vampire Edward Cullen – or, rather, what happens when Bella's true love leaves her. Yes, Edward breaks up with Bella and, for a major part of the story, we’re left to experience the darkest moments in Bella’s life.

Given Edward’s sweeping popularity among females, you can imagine that this turn of events did not go over well with many fans. Interestingly, Meyer did not like her decision either, but she felt Edward left her no choice:

The difficulty with strong, defined characters […] is that you can't make them do something that is out of character. […] As I started plotting New Moon, it became clear that Edward was Edward, and he would have to behave as only Edward would. And, because of that, Edward was leaving.

NO! I didn't
want Edward to leave. I pitched a fit every bit as violent and tearful as those I've seen in New Moon discussion forums. I tried to talk him out of it. I presented him with other plot options. I begged. Edward remained unmoved. (source)

Published in 2006, just one year after Twilight, New Moon rose to the number one position on the New York Times Best Seller list for Children's Chapter Books in its second week on the list, and remained in the top spot for eleven weeks. It spent over thirty weeks in total on that bestseller list. More than 6,000 teen readers across the country chose New Moon as their favorite book in the American Library Association’s annual Teens’ Top Ten. Like Twilight, Meyer’s first sequel is an international bestseller. New Moon even arrived in theaters in November 2009.

Comparing New Moon to Twilight, a critic at Teenreads.com held that "In the middle, the story sometimes drags, and readers may long for the vampires' return" (source). But we Shmoopers believe that New Moon might simply deal with some tougher themes that show the flipside of love: pain. Pain is certainly not as much fun as love but, in life as well as in literature, we often find them inextricably connected. Plus, the story of Bella and Edward’s separation had to be told, because what’s more rewarding than two lovers being reunited in the end?

What is New Moon About and Why Should I Care?

Why should you care about New Moon? Well, for all Twilight fans, it’s a moot point. Of course we need to know what happens next with Bella and Edward. It’s the joy and the pain of sequels. We live and die with these characters. For those of you who have managed to resist the supernatural Twilight draw, New Moon can claim a reason of its own to be cared about: it’s all about how to deal with the pain of losing love.

Have you ever been dumped before, or lost a person you loved? Every day, people all over the world lose loved ones to disease, war, crime, or simply because they fall out of love. Because the pain of love represents such a big part of our human existence, many works of classic and contemporary literature grapple with that all-consuming hole in our hearts. Famous tales of classic literature that deal with "love lost," include Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (check out "Literary Devices" for more), Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights, and Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, just to name a few.

For most of us, the idea of pain sounds depressing, which is why Stephenie Meyer found that many readers decided to skip across the pain part to Bella and Edward’s reunion in the very end. So she begged her readers to give New Moon a second chance (source). It turns out that, on a second reading, and knowing that Edward would return, readers were able to slow down and realize: Hey! Bella is actually growing through this experience. Or, in philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche's words: "What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger." That’s some vital stuff. Readers also realized that, without this painful separation, Bella might never have believed that Edward is really hers forever. In turn, Edward might have never believed that Bella’s love for him could stand the test of time.

So, in short, the story of New Moon brings us a story that shows us that we might never want pain, but it sure makes us grow stronger.

New Moon Resources

Websites

Official Website of Stephenie Meyer
A valuable resource for any Twilight fan, this site includes information on the creation of New Moon as well as a helpful FAQ.

The Twilight Lexicon
The site features character bios, mythology on Meyer’s vampires and werewolves, a timeline, locations, chapter summaries, movie details, and a community forum.

The Official Website for all Twilight Saga Fans
Visit this website for breaking news and events related to both the books and films, including movie trailers, discussion forums, and fan gear.

Vampires and Werewolves in History
Check out this site to compare traditional notions of vampires and werewolves to Stephenie Meyer’s world. Also, read up on the connection between vampires and werewolves in cultural legends worldwide.

New Moon Gear
Are you Team Edward or Team Jacob? Here’s your chance to make a fashion statement.

Movies or TV Productions

New Moon, 2009
Twilight stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson return as Bella and Edward in the New Moon movie. Taylor Lautner will also continue in his role as Jacob Black (only now with 26 additional pounds of muscle). New Moon was directed by Chris Weitz, who promised fans of the Twilight saga that he would stay as faithful to the book as possible, but fans of the book will notice the following changes: Bella will be more daredevil-ish in the film than she is in the book (if that’s even possible). Instead of coming to Bella as a disembodied voice, Edward will appear as an apparition. We’ll also be able to see the scene in which the werewolves destroy Laurent. Lastly, in the book Edward promises he'll change Bella into a vampire if she marries him but, in the film, his ultimatum will differ. Overall, New Moon is expected to look and feel more like a studio movie (enhanced CGI) compared to Catherine Hardwicke’s independent flair for Twilight.

Documents

"Robert Pattinson Kiss Auctioned for $55,000"
Access Hollywood reports on bidding war over a kiss from Robert Pattinson, the actor who plays Edward Cullen.

Stephenie Meyer, Author of the Year 2009
Children’s Choice Book Council awards Stephenie Meyer 2009 Author of the Year.

Book Review of New Moon
Here’s a Teenreads.com review on New Moon.

Video

Stephenie Meyer’s Tour of Volterra
Stephenie Meyer takes some of her books’ fans on a tour of the most important locations in New Moon, in Volterra, Italy.

New Moon Cast Talks About Movie Highlights
Behind-the-scenes interviews with the different members of the cast, including highlights from New Moon.

New Moon Fan-made Trailer
Check out this fan-made trailer for New Moon that has garnered popularity among fans. Some even prefer it to the official trailer.

Stephenie Meyer
Stephenie talks about the inspiration behind Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse, as well as the path that the novels had to take to reach bookstores everywhere.

Audio

New Moon Audio Version
Download the first chapter of New Moon for FREE from iTunes. Keep in mind you can also purchase the New Moon Audiobook on Amazon.com.

New Moon Audiobook
Purchase and download the Audiobook from Random House Audio

Images

New Moon Movie Poster
Check out the official movie poster (and you can find thousands of other versions on the web).

Author Stephenie Meyer
Here's a photo of the woman behind Twilight, author Stephenie Meyer.