The Twilight (Article) Saga: New Moon
Brought to You By: The Danger of Cliques Book Clubs Inc.
Ok. How do I begin this… Roughly *checks watchless wrist* a year ago, a couple of my closest and dearest friends and I made the decision to form a book club and read Stephenie Meyer’s magnum opus Twilight together (spoiler: this was a mistake). You can find my resulting review of Twilight, in which I increasingly lose my shit with every page that I spend talking about the book, here: X. Revisiting Twilight almost 10 years after my first time reading it was a rather mixed experience: it was bad because I realised that the book that I really enjoyed as a starry-eyed tween full of hope (I’m lying through my teeth here) kind of sucks and good because I got to read it with my friends who kind of don’t suck. And that should have been it; that’s where this story (calling this a story might be a stretch, but I’m writing this article so I get to make the creative decisions here) should have ended. However, we’re currently in the midst of a global pandemic and are all slowly going mad from the combination of being cooped up inside for months and the constant anxiety that comes with living through a global pandemic (I might be projecting here), so – long story short – I’m going to be rereading the entire Twilight Saga over the next few months. What can I say? I’m just quirky and random like that! I also plan on dragging some of my friends (and you, dear reader) along on this journey because I like to make others suffer with me.
The Twilight Saga has been experiencing a bit of a comeback lately – and it’s not just because of the smashing article that I wrote about the first book last year! Since Stephenie Meyer announced that she’d be publishing Midnight Sun – basically Twilight but from Edward’s point of view – in August this year, the internet has been experiencing what ‘Twilight-historians’ and experts are referring to as a ‘Twilight renaissance’. The legitimate and academic concept of the ‘Twilight renaissance’ refers to the contemporary cultural phenomenon of a bunch of twenty-somethings frantically posting about Twilight on social media because Twilight – a series most of them loved when they were younger and still felt a sense of optimism about the future – is getting a bit of a revival with Midnight Sun’s upcoming publication and they’re hoping that reliving the saga that used to bring them so much joy is going to make them feel something. Most of those people are also aware of how deeply flawed (read: trash) the saga is, but times are desperate. As you may have guessed by now, I am one of those twenty-somethings hoping that Twilight will make them feel something – even if the feeling is mostly just anger; I’m not picky. I’m not quite sure yet if I’m going to document my reading experience of all of the books in this saga or if I’m going to rage-quit after reviewing New Moon; it’s going to be a surprise for all of us, including myself.
One more thing before I move on to a deep and intellectual discussion of New Moon: a very brief summary for anyone who hasn’t read the book. (If this applies to you, good for you!) So, here’s the skinny (Is that what people say? I’m not sure, but it makes me feel like the glamorous, successful 40-year-old editor of a fashion magazine.): After Jasper, one of Edward’s weird siblings, almost murders Bella because she’s clumsy and got a papercut and he’s a vampire with barely any self-control, Edward dumps Bella in a forest (literally and metaphorically). Edward and his family then move to … I don’t remember where, but it doesn’t matter because it happens off-screen/page. Of course, Edward doesn’t actually want to break up with Bella because theirs is a love story for the ages, but he’s under the impression that it’s what he has to do to protect her from people like his weirdo brother Jasper, so he convinces her that he doesn’t care about her anymore. Bella then spends months moping around and giving up on life because the first relationship that she, a teenager, has ever been in was – as already mentioned – a love story for the ages. The only things that bring her even an iota of joy are her friend Jacob and the hallucinations of Edward that she sees whenever she purposefully puts herself in grave danger. Yup. At some point, Jacob comes into his werewolf-inheritance (?) and Bella takes a while to catch on because, apparently, she can’t just google the word ‘werewolf’ and realise that Jacob is one the way she did with the word ‘vampire’ in the Twilight movie. It’s almost… as though Bella is suddenly dumber whenever it’s convenient for the plot. Almost. It is also revealed that werewolves have a higher body temperature – according to canon (Meyer 344). This may not sound like a vital plot point to you, but it is to me.
After hundreds of pages of Jacob and hallucination-Edward, Alice, Edwards cool, funny, pretty, smart, talented, non-weirdo sibling, shows up and whisks Bella away to Italy (the book should have just ended there) because Edward thinks that Bella has died and she needs to stop him from killing himself. Yup. His plan for his very overdramatic suicide is to provoke the Volturi, a powerful vampire clan, by breaking one of the rules they’ve established for all vampires – not letting humans find out about the existence of vampires. Instead of doing this in a way that makes sense, such as demonstrating his super-human strength, he wants to do this by showing a bunch of random Italian bystanders that he glitters in the sunlight. I wish I was making this up, but my brain is, unfortunately, not on the same genius-level as Stephenie Meyer’s. Ultimately, the unstoppable dynamic duo that is Bella and Alice manage to stop Edward in time. The Volturi let them go on the promise that Bella is turned into a vampire in the near future; Edward doesn’t die and everyone is happy. Everyone except for me. Now, finally, let us move on to the review-section of this article.
Relationship Dynamics aka Romance Isn’t Dead This Is an Intervention
Concern Number One: Edward
When it comes to Edward and Bella’s relationship – a love story for the ages – New Moon continues with the same relationship dynamic that was established in the book’s predecessor Twilight. One of the aspects of their relationship that is particularly apparent (and concerning) is how lowly Bella thinks of herself, especially when comparing herself to Edward. She feels that she is not good enough for him and is acutely aware of her own perceived inadequacies when around him. Here’s just a little taste of this: ‘Even after half a year with him, I still couldn’t believe that I deserved this degree of good fortune.’ (Meyer 7), ‘I could never quite mimic the flow of his perfect, formal articulation.’ (Meyer 9), ‘The contrast between the two of us was painful. He looked like a god. I looked very average, even for a human, almost shamefully plain. I flipped the picture over with a feeling of disgust.’ (Meyer 65), ‘Edward didn’t seem to understand why I objected to him spending money on me—why it made me uncomfortable […]. Edward thought I was being unnecessarily difficult. […] He, for some unfathomable reason, wanted to be with me. Anything he gave me on top of that just threw us more out of balance.’ (Meyer 13).
The two of them also appear to have become somewhat co-dependent, with Edward changing his schedule so that they can have ‘almost every class’ (Meyer 12) together. Likely as a result of Bella’s constant closeness to Edward, all of her friends have grown distant and somewhat alienated. While Edward and his sister Alice make an effort to sit with Bella and her ‘human friends’ at lunch, Bella only partakes in conversations with her friends when Edward isn’t at school: ‘[We] all sat at the same table, on the other side of an invisible line. That line dissolved on sunny days when Edward and Alice skipped school, and then the conversation would swell out effortlessly to include me.’ (Meyer 14). To be honest, ‘somewhat co-dependent’ might actually be a very generous way of phrasing it (how typical of me, a very generous person), considering there’s literally a scene in this book where Edward explains to Bella how he would kill himself – something which he has already meticulously planned out – if Bella were to die since he finds the idea of living in a world without Bella unbearable (Meyer 19). Bella mirrors his sentiment not much later on in the story: ‘“I’d rather die than be with Mike Newton,” I protested. “I’d rather die than be with anyone but you.”’ (Meyer 45). In response, Edward tells her to not be ‘overdramatic’ because, apparently, it’s only weird when Bella talks about how she’d rather die than be without him. Spoiler: they’re both manipulative weirdos for pulling that shit.
Sticking with the theme of co-dependency: once Edward has left Bella, she starts putting herself into potentially life-threatening situations because she realises that it causes her to hallucinate Edward. (I know, that sentence is a lot to process.) While I, being the responsible and empathetic person that I am, was obviously greatly concerned by this, the whole thing is just so ridiculous and over-the-top that I couldn’t help but find it funny. However, despite the whole hallucinatory Edward thing being possibly the greatest comedic masterpiece of our time, I do have to point out just how unsettling Bella’s willingness to endanger herself, only to access more vivid memories of a guy who dumped her in the woods, is. After injuring herself riding a motorcycle (because she doesn’t actually know how to ride a motorcycle), this is what Bella makes of the incident: ‘And then to discover the key to my hallucinations! At least, I hoped I had. I was going to test the theory as soon as possible. Maybe they’d get through with me quickly in the ER, and I could try again tonight.’ (Meyer 190) *laughs nervously* What the fuck?
Towards the end of the book, once Edward is finally back in Bella’s arms, their love story – a love story for the ages – can finally return to regularly scheduled programming. Accordingly, Bella’s intensified need for self-deprecation in Edward’s presence immediately picks up again where it left off: “Edward, his bare chest glinting dimly in the white lights […;] me, disheveled and comparatively hideous’ (Meyer 464). Edward is, of course, also his usual lovely self by blaming Bella for letting him dump her (Meyer 509) and guilt-tripping her for doubting his love for her: ‘But how could you believe me? After all the thousand times I’ve told you I love you, how could you let one word break your faith in me?’ (Meyer 510). Bella responds to this in a way that is equally staggering in how predictable and depressing it is: ‘“It never made sense for you to love me,” I explained, my voice breaking twice. “I always knew that.”’ (Meyer 511). For the grand finale of this book Edward truly outdoes himself by pressuring Bella to marry him, even though she’s clearly uncomfortable with the idea. I mean, who among us can stop themselves from swooning when reading great declarations of love and respect such as this one: ‘If you’re not brave enough to marry me, then –’ (Meyer 541). That’s true love, kids!
Concern Number Two: Jacob
Now, let’s move on to the next problem. To be fair, Jacob really isn’t all too bad in New Moon (yet) and, accordingly, this section about him is going to be slightly shorter than the one dedicated to Edward – and that despite Edward’s absence for the majority of this novel. What we mainly see in New Moon, is the groundwork for the big, dramatic love-triangle that is going to be featured more prominently in the following books being laid. There’s even some fun foreshadowing for this pretty early on in the book when Bella thinks that she needs to ‘reign in the enthusiasm’ before she gives Jacob ‘the wrong idea’ (Meyer 135). Well… let’s see how that turns out over the course of this saga, shall we?
In addition to the first signs of this budding love-triangle – a love-triangle for the ages – we also get to witness Jacob slowly develop some pretty weird views on women and relationships. I’m going to refrain from implying that he’s slowly becoming an incel – I will be doing that in my article about the next books in the saga though (if I do decide to write about them), so we’ve all got that to look forward to! While Jacob is initially rightfully annoyed by Mike (Bella’s boring human friend with a boring human name) relentlessly hitting on her, despite her having made it clear multiple times that she’s not interested, he pretty soon reconsiders his original stance: ‘“Then again,” Jacob said thoughtfully, “sometimes persistence pays off.” (Meyer 206). While Bella immediately responds that ‘[m]ost of the time it’s just annoying, though”’ (Meyer 206), Jacob will, of course, go on to heartily ignore her advice – as dedicated fans who’ve read the next two books in this saga may already know. This particular scene might seem rather innocuous, but I would argue that this is the slow beginning of Jacob’s incel/villain origin story and thus deserved a mention. In relation to this, I’d also like to bring up Jacob’s reaction to Mike excusing himself while Mike, Jacob, and Bella are watching a horror movie at the cinema to throw up in the bathroom (due to a stomach bug): ‘What a marshmallow. You should hold out for someone with a stronger stomach. Someone who laughs at the gore that makes weaker men vomit.’ (Meyer 211). *chuckles nervously* What the fuck? A couple of pages later on, after Bella has just explained to him that she likes him but not like that, Jacob announces that he’s ‘prepared to be annoyingly persistent’ (Meyer 213). I wish he wouldn’t be; I wish he’d stop. Luckily, Jacob is otherwise pretty ok in this book. I did think that his insistence on calling Bella ‘honey’ (Meyer 309, 339, 364) was annoying, but I, unfortunately, can’t sue him for it.
To conclude this section on relationships/romance, I think it’s important to highlight the bits of information that we get on Bella’s general views on love and relationships. According to Bella, ‘Once you cared about a person, it was impossible to be logical about them anymore.’ (Meyer 304) Her belief in this inability to be rational about someone you love is something she clings onto and comes back to make sense of her own relationships and actions: ‘I shook my head sadly. Love is irrational, I reminded myself. The more you loved someone, the less sense anything made.’ (Meyer 341). While love certainly isn’t a purely rational thing, Bella’s insistence on not just the irrationality of love, but also its defining quality as an affliction that prevents people from acting rationally, is rather revealing. It explains both her strange and unhealthy behaviour (endangering herself to see a hallucination of her ex-boyfriend being a pretty salient example of this) and her willingness to put up with all of the shitty things that Edward and Jacob put her trough – she simply doesn’t think that people can or should be held accountable for things that they do in the name of love. It seems like Bella heard the iconic protagonist Rebecca Bunch of the equally iconic show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend sing: ‘I’m just a girl in love; I can’t be held responsible for my actions […] They say love makes you crazy; therefore, you can’t call her crazy ’cause when you call her crazy, you’re just calling her in love’ and decided to base her life on these lyrics.
Stuff That Wasn’t Necessarily Bad, Just Very Weird (Or Maybe It Was Bad. Much to Think About.)
One of the first things I noticed and was immediately displeased by (do I sound like Lucille Bluth?) was that the chapters in New Moon are longer than the ones in Twilight. While circa 20 pages per chapter are technically perfectly fine, with New Moon it’s just a lot to process at once. But then again, ‘it’s just a lot’ generally sums up New Moon quite well.
Moving on to a slightly more genuine complaint about this book: gender! (That made me sound like a terf-y Guardian columnist.) What I’m, more specifically, referring to is the portrayal of women and the idealisation of ‘traditional’ gender roles. As a humanities student, this is obviously something I have to bring up when discussing just about any book and New Moon is no exception. In the TCU (Twilight Cinematic Universe), there’s a clear division between men and women – separate spheres, so to say. While men like talking ‘about the game’ and making ‘fishing plans’, women enjoy fun activities such as cooking, worrying about their husband’s cholesterol levels, and shaming said husband ‘into eating something green and leafy’ – unsuccessfully, of course (Meyer 149). Many of the sentences in the Twilight Saga are intensely straight, but the scene I took these quotes from just really ‘hits different’ (as the teens say) for some reason. And while Jacob and his friends know how to fix up cars and motorcycles, Bella is unable to comprehend any conversation that involves mystical words such as ‘bikes’: ‘Many of the words they used were unfamiliar to me, and I figured I’d have to have a Y chromosome to really understand the excitement.’ (Meyer 139). I could rant for a while just about this one sentence alone, but I respect myself and my time too much to do that. The irony of me saying that in the second instalment of very lengthy reviews of the Twilight Saga isn’t lost on me.
Something that is closely linked to this is the characterization of Emily. Emily is the fiancé of Sam, the leader of Jacob’s wolf-pack (#lads), and seems to represent the culmination of many of Meyer’s views on women and their ‘purpose’. Emily appears to mostly be at home (I’m not sure if she has a job or hobbies) and always has home-made food waiting for Sam and all of his friends (Meyer 328). Apart from being nice and cooking a lot (I’m not in any way saying that those are bad things; I more so find the level that they are taken to and the way in which they are idealised to be a questionable choice in a book aimed at tweens and teens), Emily also has another feature that is explored in more detail in this book: scarring on her face. Now, where might this scarring have come from? Well, dear reader, it stems from an ‘incident’ where Sam lost control of his temper, transformed into a wolf, and severely injured her (Meyer 345). While I’m aware that – according to canon – werewolves have difficulty keeping their anger and subsequent transformations in check, this still technically counts as domestic abuse – albeit a supernatural version of domestic abuse. Why the author felt the need to a) include this in a Young Adult book and b) come up with werewolf-lore that would be able to serve as an excuse for abuse is beyond me. When Jacob explains the origin of Emily’s scars to Bella, he not only excuses Sam’s actions but also simultaneously portrays Sam as a victim: ‘You’ve seen Emily. Sam lost control of his temper for just one second…and she was standing too close. And now there’s nothing he can ever do to put it right again. I hear his thoughts – I know what he feels like…’ (Meyer 345). Sure, Sam gave her a massive gash on her face, but, hey, Emily ‘was standing too close’ and, really, Sam is the one who’s suffering because he now has to feel bad about what he’s done. How did this get past an editor?? After Bella has found out about the origins of Emily’s scars, this then affects Bella’s interactions with Jacob, since she fears that he might also lose control and hurt her and, accordingly, she feels she needs to behave in a way that will not cause him to get too angry: ‘So I spoke quickly, the image of Emily’s ruined face in my mind, and the hair rising on my arms.’ (Meyer 348).
Quick Interlude: ‘Oh, Me!’—A Compilation of Out-of-Context Quotes That I Thought Were ‘Relatable’
(Does Exactly What It Says on The Tin)
-‘That was me. Me in a mirror. Me—ancient, creased, and withered.’ (Meyer 6) Oh, me!
-‘I felt absolutely hideous in the morning.’ (Meyer 53) Oh, me!
-‘What perfect timing. I needed something to distract me from nightmares and nothingness.’ (Meyer 168) Oh, me!
-‘I was lonely, worried, bored…’ (Meyer 229) Oh, me!
-‘I couldn’t make it add up.’ (Meyer 245) Oh, me (trying to solve an equation with my horrible maths skills)!
-‘“What have you done, Jacob?” [Sam] demanded.”’ (Meyer 324) Oh, me this entire series!
-‘I was addicted to the sound of my delusions.’ (Meyer 352) Oh, me!
-‘I was going to have to get up – at least to get a drink. But my body just wanted to lie here limp, to never move again.’ (Meyer 370) Oh, me!
-‘He twisted his head to look at me. His eyes were rimmed in red. “You don’t look so good.” “I don’t feel so good, either, I guess.”’ (Meyer 374) Oh, me!
-‘It made me sad, and a little annoyed.’ (Meyer 404-405) Oh, me!
-‘I was probably overdoing it with the antagonism, but I didn’t want him to see how much this hurt.’ (Meyer 406) Oh, me!
-‘I’d forgotten that I had access to a toothbrush. It brightened my outlook considerably.’ (Meyer 492) Oh, me!
-‘Horror washed through me. Thirty.’ (Meyer 517) Oh, me!
Things That Were Kind of Ok, Actually aka Good Vibes Only uwu
In Twilight, the otherwise rather simplistic writing is seemingly randomly interspersed with comparatively complicated terms. This impairs the reading flow, since those terms always seem rather out of place, and makes the overall style feel rather clunky. In addition to the general improvement in Meyer’s writing style in New Moon, this disparity in the registers used is far less apparent and the consistency achieved by this change makes for a much more pleasant reading experience. As a trusted editor once told me: ‘[…] consistency […]!!!’
Now, let’s move on to some of the scenes that I enjoyed. Undoubtedly one of the most iconic moments in New Moon – and all of literature, as a matter of fact – is when Bella loses all interest in her life after Edward has left her and the artist known as Stephenie Meyer inserts a section (Meyer 85-91) where every page is just the name of a different month to show that Bella is depressed and there’s nothing going on in her life. This moment changed literature forever; truly a ‘cultural reset’, as the teens call it. (I think. Do NOT quote me on this, I’m very old and very tired.) The sequence in the New Moon movie corresponding to this is just as (if not more) brilliant: X.
My second favourite part of New Moon, right after the aforementioned ‘Bella-being-sad-as-the-months-pass-by’-scene, is undoubtedly Bella and Jessica’s Girls Night Out™. Since Bella doesn’t want her dad to be too concerned about her lack of a social life and her detached attitude after being dumped, she asks Jessica to drive to the city and watch a movie with her. Jessica, being the incredible and selfless person that she is, is always down for some charity work and agrees to accompany Bella. For the entire duration of their night out, Jessica is incredibly sick of Bella’s bullshit and, consequently, she is the character in this saga that I relate to most. Their fun and wild night out in town is already off to a great start when they’re in the car together and Bella is adamant about not wanting to listen to any radio stations that play ‘romantic’ (?) music. Apparently, the only ‘unromantic’ music Bella can come up with is rap-music and she does a horrible job at convincing Jessica that she’s a fan of it: ‘[Jessica’s] eyes squinted. “Since when do you listen to rap?” “I don’t know,” I said. “A while.” “You like this?” she asked doubtfully. “Sure.” It would be much too hard to interact with Jessica normally if I had to work to tune out the music, too. I nodded my head, hoping I was in time with the beat. “Okay…” She stared out the windshield with wide eyes.’ (Meyer 103-104). If this scene wasn’t pure comedy, I’d almost feel bad for Jessica.
The fun continues when they’re at the cinema and Bella starts complaining about the lack of violence at the beginning part of the zombie movie they’re watching: ‘“Then why isn’t anyone getting eaten?” I asked desperately. She looked at me with wide eyes that were almost alarmed. “I’m sure that part’s coming,” she whispered.’ (Meyer 105). To top it all off – as though Jessica hadn’t already suffered enough – after they’ve left the cinema, Bella approaches a group of creepy older guys because they remind her of another group of men that she encountered about a year ago that almost assaulted her before Edward swooped in to save the day (Meyer 109). Jessica, understandably, asks Bella if she’s suicidal because she’s about to put both of them into a potentially dangerous situation and Bella doesn’t realise that it’s meant to be a rhetorical question: ‘“Are you crazy?” she whispered. “Are you suicidal?” That question caught my attention and my eyes focused on her. (110) […] Jess’s eyes were round, her mouth hung open. Her question about suicide had been rhetorical, I realized too late.’ (Meyer 110-111). Now, this might come as a surprise to some, but Jessica never ends up going on another fun and cool Girls Night Out™ with Bella.
I know what you’re probably thinking by now: ‘Stop making lists! The amount of lists you’re including in this article is excessive, please stop!’ And while I would love to listen to those pleas, I can’t let the haters get me down. Anyway, here are some honourable mentions that I’d like to bring up but otherwise don’t have much to say about:
-Carlisle revealing that he’s a complete dumbass when he tells Bella how he attempted to turn Edward into a vampire: ‘I wasn’t sure what had to be done. I settled for recreating the wounds I’d received myself, so many centuries earlier in London. I felt bad about it later. It was more painful and lingering than necessary.’ (Meyer 41).
-Charlie being a decent parent and trying to get Bella to see a therapist (Meyer 96).
-Charlie in general.
-Comrade Bella Swan: ‘We were working on Animal Farm, an easy subject matter. I didn’t mind communism; it was a welcome change from the exhausting romances that made up most of the curriculum.’ (Meyer 99)
-As I’ve already mentioned, while the whole thing with the hallucinations of Edward is concerning, it is also very funny in how ridiculous it is. I’m particularly fond of the scene where Bella has to lie to someone in order to not get killed (#justgirlythings) and hallucination-Edward is just desperately trying to get her to be a better liar: ‘“You must lie better than that, Bella,” the voice urged. I tried.’ (Meyer 238); ‘“Beg,” my hallucination begged.’ (Meyer 241)
-Bella saying stuff that sounds deranged at best (and definitely dangerous) and Jacob being totally on board because he’s just ride-or-die like that: ‘Jacob just nodded. This all made perfect sense to him.’ (Meyer 136)
-Angela being sweet, showing genuine concern, and telling Bella she’s missed her and Bella appreciating it (one of the few pleasant interactions between two female characters in this book): ‘She looked at me with concern, but not the offensive, maybe-she’s-lost-it kind.’ (Meyer 157)
-Jacob’s dad telling Bella that Jacob has mono to cover up the fact that he’s a werewolf: ‘All I knew about mono was that you were supposed to get it from kissing, which was clearly not the case with Jake.’ (Meyer 226-227). The casualness and force that this burn possesses… delicious.
-Bella almost (almost!) having a bit of character growth after one of her dad’s friends dies of a heart attack and she realises that she’s been making everyone’s life more difficult over a breakup that happened months ago: ‘Abruptly, I felt really sick with guilt – felt truly horrible about the brainless cliff dive. Nobody needed to be worrying about me right now. What a stupid time to be reckless.’ (Meyer 368); Harry’s heart attack had pushed everything suddenly into perspective for me. Perspective that I didn’t want to see, because – if I admitted to the truth of it – it would mean that I would have to change my ways. Could I live like that? Maybe. It wouldn’t be easy; […]’ (Meyer 371-372)
Things That Were Kind of Good, Actually aka This Section Is Exclusively About Alice Cullen
And now, finally, the part that this entire article has been painstakingly leading up to: an homage to the (by far) best character of this saga, Alice Cullen. At this part of the outline for this article the only thing I wrote down was: ‘just list all the reasons why/moments where she is great (this part will be easy bc it’s so obvious) AND THEN explain why Bella should have ended up with Alice, not Edward (this part will also be easy bc it’s so obvious)’ – and you know what? That’s exactly what I’m going to do now. Alice is sweet, she’s kind, she’s nice, and she wants the best for everyone. Everyone loves her, including Bella’s dad Charlie (the second-best character after Alice) who is ‘crazy about Alice’ (Meyer 22). I think the major flaw of New Moon, worse than all of the others that I’ve mentioned in this review so far, is the fact that Alice was absent for most of the book. Once Alice finally returns (on page 382, in case anyone was wondering at what point they should start reading the book), Bella’s enthusiasm almost (!) matched mine.
Here are some of my favourite Alice-moments in New Moon:
-‘“Alice, what’s wrong?” I cried. […] “Edward,” was all she whispered.’ (Meyer 412). This kind of sums up the entire saga.
-Bella wanting Alice to bite her on an aeroplane (Meyer 436)… much to think about.
-‘[Alice] eyed me speculatively. “How strongly are you opposed to grand theft auto?”’ (Meyer 439)
-Alice charming people in a stolen car and wearing tan gloves (Meyer 446).… much to think about.
-‘“I think [Bella’s] having hysterics. Maybe you should slap her,” Alice suggested.’ (Meyer 486)
Just the thought of Alice potentially leaving again terrifies Bella: ‘I could feel the blood draining from my face. My stomach dropped. “Don’t go, Alice,” I whispered. My fingers locked around the collar of her white shirt and I began to hyperventilate. “Please don’t leave me.”’ (Meyer 389), ‘I wanted Alice to stay forever. I was going to die – metaphorically – when she left me.’ (Meyer 410). I never thought that I’d find Bella to be a relatable character, but that’s how powerful Alice is – she has the ability to unite all of us. Apart from Angela, Alice is also the only other female character in this story that Bella is close to and can confide in; Alice is a friend she can talk to without having to fear being judged and can find comfort in (Meyer 392, 395). Considering the overall lack of (healthy) friendships depicted in Twilight, this is a pleasant exception to that rule. Bella also genuinely values the friendship she has with Alice; it’s not something she is willing to compromise, not even for Jacob (the one (1!) person who doesn’t like Alice because he sucks): ‘You’ll still be my friend, even though I love Alice, too?’ (Meyer 409).
I genuinely wish that this saga would have focused more on Bella and Alice and less on…. well, all of the other characters. The love triangle of Edward-Bella-Jacob that ended up taking up most of the story instead was boring and felt rather forced. Sure, Bella does weird stuff sometimes, like smelling Alice (Meyer 409), but apart from that their relationship is far less uncomfortable than Bella and Edward’s/Jacob’s. This might sound overdramatic and slightly unstable/concerning, but I would sell my soul for a Twilight rewriting that is centred around Alice and Bella – whether it’s about them as friends or as a couple, I really don’t care. Alternatively, I would also gladly take a spin-off about Jessica doing whatever it is that she does and being the icon and trendsetter that she is.
Conclusion aka ‘It was exactly what was to be expected.’
Overall, while New Moon isn’t necessarily what I would consider a ‘good’ book, I still had a lot of fun reading it. This is probably mostly down to that fact that it’d been almost ten years since that last time that I’d read it and getting to relive it with friends was both nostalgic and funny. Rereading New Moon was also not nearly as frustrating as rereading Twilight – while Twilight is mostly flawed and messy in an irritating way (mostly, but not entirely), New Moon – albeit also being rather flawed and messy – is ridiculous in a way that is far more entertaining. Additionally, New Moon also showed some improvements from the last book – namely its writing style, some good comic relief, and less Edward. I also found Bella to be a more sympathetic character in this book and felt that she was, at times, genuinely close to growing as a character (before Edward returned and ruined all of her progress). Above all else, rereading a book from my childhood offered some much-needed comfort during a time that is very unsettling and unfamiliar and I can wholeheartedly recommend it – though I’d also maybe recommend picking a childhood-favourite that is slightly better than New Moon. Unless that’s what you need right now! In that case, go for it!
Work (of Art) Cited
(Yes, it’s true! I’m a professional!)
Meyer, Stephenie. New Moon. Atom: 2007.
Lena was listening to the soothing sounds of Bella’s Lullaby from the Twilight Soundtrack™ while ‘writing’ this article.