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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Top Teen Titles #6

#6 New Moon by Stephenie Meyer. Little Brown, & Co., 2006 ISBN: 9780316160193, 563 pp.

Publisher’s Description: Legions of readers entranced by Twilight are hungry for more and they won’t be disappointed. In New Moon, Stephenie Meyer delivers another irresistible combination of romance and suspense with a supernatural twist. The “star-crossed” lovers theme continues as Bella and Edward find themselves facing new obstacles, including a devastating separation, the mysterious appearance of dangerous wolves roaming the forest in Forks, a terrifying threat of revenge from a female vampire and a deliciously sinister encounter with Italy’s reigning royal family of vampires, the Volturi.

Quotes from Readers: “Series are wonderful when the second gets better than the first.”

“I didn’t want to like this sequel but it deserves to be in  my teen collection.”

Online reviews: Goodreads, LibraryThing, Shelfari, TeenReads, TeensReadToo.

Awards: South Carolina Book Award for Young Adult Book Award (2009), The Flume: New Hampshire Teen Reader’s Choice Award (2008), Soaring Eagle Book Award (2007), ALA Teens’ Top Ten (2007), Pacific Northwest Library Association Young Reader’s Choice Award for Senior (2009), Pacific Northwest Library Association Young Reader’s Choice Award for Senior (2009), New York Times  Editor’s Choice, Publishers Weekly Teen People “Hot List”.

Diane’s note: I would prefer it if you read Stephanie Meyer’s description of her writing process for this sequel. “WHAT IF… What if true love left you? Not some ordinary high school romance, not some random jock boyfriend, not anyone at all replaceable. True love. The real deal. Your other half, your true soul’s match. What happens if he leaves?

New Moon was a shock when I first read it, but I related to the depths of Bella’s depression. I was expecting vampires, magic, and more Bella klutziness instead I was faced with loss of love and the depression that can occur with teens. Aha! This was a teen romance book, not just a vampire story.

If you have never been there, you cannot appreciate that feelings like Bella’s are not those of a wussy girl who needs saving by some man. (a typical criticism of New Moon)  It is the spiraling down into a place so dark that there is no light above or at the end of the tunnel, so there is no movement toward healing. This type of depression is COMMON in our teens. Take a look at the suicide rates.  Think of how many people around you have secrets they cannot share and cannot see how to get the help they need. (Yes, Denise, I have been listening to you) Whatever it takes to climb from this depth is valid.

If Bella started living again for her father, that was a positive step. Some girls would find female friends to relate to, Bella found Jacob. Some people have no one to help.  Have you heard me answer your question about how I am with “I got out of bed today, isn’t that enough?” There has to be a reason to get out of bed and to continue to function daily. I can relate to Bella.

New Moon was not just a vampire tale. This was the story of a girl who is impossibly in love with a vampire and is beginning to see some of the problems this will cause her. She’ll age, he won’t. His family might lose control and suck  her dry when she performs yet another klutzy move and bleeds. She’ll lose all contact with her friends and family if she becomes a vampire, etc. New Moon is the story of coping with loss and finding a way to keep going when all seems hopeless. New Moon is a story of building new relationships and taking chances. It’s also a story of teens and the foolish things they do (like Romeo & Juliet, adrenalin rushes, risk-taking).

As for those who don’t like New Moon, and there are many, you may have valid reasons but those don’t impact the teen’s attraction to this title.  For example,  Debbie Reese has a set of blog posts about the Twilight saga including a commentary when she and her daughter saw the movie. I found the comments from the Quileute people interesting as they cope with tourists and try to share the truth of their culture and legends.

When the movie version was released, I joined Susan at the theater. We were watching the crowds for their reactions. When Jacob first appeared and viewers saw those muscles, we giggled about the cougars in the crowd. Since one of my sons closely resembled Jacob before chopping off his hair for Locks of Love, it was an uncomfortable feeling. I like the movie version of New Moon much better than Twilight. Can you believe I still haven’t seen the movie version of Eclipse yet? Shocking, I know. I was happy to read the book Eclipse and the companion novel of The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner. I found the character development much more interesting The Short Life than in most of the others.

While I’m not going to pretend these titles were the best in literature, I do acknowledge the way teenage girls were able to embrace romance and be perceived as cool readers.