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New Moon    by Stephenie Meyer order for
New Moon
by Stephenie Meyer
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2006 (2006)

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

New Moon continues the story of Isabella Swan and her seemingly doomed love, that began in Twilight. The charmingly klutzy Bella lives with her dad Charlie, Police Chief of Forks, a small town in Washington. In the first book, Bella fell hard for fellow student Edward Cullen, who turns out to be a member of a family of ethical vampires, who do not believe in feeding on humans, though their urge to do so is still strong and dangerous.

This second book opens on Bella's birthday, with a celebration planned by the Cullens. Unfortunately it leads to disaster after a paper cut escalates into a serious injury - and even greater risk - for the birthday girl. Edward decides to do the right thing and the Cullens all leave town, while Bella assumes she just doesn't have what it takes to hold the interest of a long-lived sophisticate. She sinks into deep depression - 'I was like a lost moon - my planet destroyed in some cataclysmic, disaster-movie scenario of desolation - that continued, nevertheless, to circle in a tight little orbit around the empty space left behind, ignoring the laws of gravity.' She emerges from it to indulge in reckless behavior - motivated to do so because she always hears Edward's 'soft, velvety echoes', warning her to stop.

Bella also becomes even closer to her Quileute Indian friend Jacob Black, whose people know about the vampires, their traditional enemies. Now a tall, well built teenager, Jake is 'head over heels' for Bella. He fixes a motorcycle for her, teaches her to ride it, and takes her on the regular trips to Emergency that result (Bella does seem horribly accident prone). Jake even shares his fear with Bella, that what's happened to change his friend Embry will also happen to him. And he's right to be afraid as it soon does - after a high fever Jake changes physically and in personality. At the same time, Charlie is kept very busy, as hikers disappear in the surrounding woods, and there are glimpses of something large and bear-like. Bella begins to worry for her own and her father's safety.

Misunderstanding and a Romeo & Juliet scenario take Bella to Italy, where an ancient family of vampires, the Volturi, rule their city of Volterra. Interested in the Cullens' gifts and the fact that vampires cannot read Bella's mind, they issue an ultimatum - sure to add to the tension in future episodes, and to the challenges of Bella's already over-complicated love life. Don't miss this engaging series.

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