New Moon, a young-adult fantasy romance by Stephenie Meyer, continues the adventure begun in the bestselling novel Twilight about a teenage girl, Bella Swan, who falls in love with vampire Edward Cullen. When Edward leaves her, she struggles with grief and begins spending time with a boy, Jacob Black, who is a vampire-hating werewolf. Published in 2006, New Moon became a number-one New York Times bestseller and received plaudits for its character development and exploration of love and loss. The Twilight series has sold over 100 million copies and received multiple young reader awards. A movie version of New Moon was released in 2009; the entire film series has earned more than $3 billion.
Alongside the original four Twilight books, author Meyer published alternate versions, including one from Edward’s perspective and one that reverses the main characters’ genders. She also writes novels for adult readers.
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The eBook version of the 2022 printing of New Moon forms the basis for this study guide.
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Bella Swan enjoys the happiest summer of her life with her new boyfriend, vampire Edward Cullen. As her senior year begins, she’s treated to a beautiful birthday party at the Cullen mansion, where the family of good vampires honors her with gifts and a cake. While opening a gift, the wrapping cuts her finger, and Jasper Hale, the newest Cullen adoptee, loses control of his blood lust and lunges at Bella. The other Cullens stop him; in the process, Bella falls and cuts open her arm. Dr. Cullen, the centuries-old family patriarch, quickly stitches up Bella’s wound. Wrestling with his conscience, Edward concludes that he and his family are too dangerous for Bella and breaks up with her during a walk in the woods. Desperate, she follows him into the forest and becomes lost; a search party finds her. The Cullens leave Forks; devastated, Bella drifts for months, not feeling anything. She goes through the motions of her life, but it feels meaningless.
To break out of her slump, she goes with her friend Jessica to a movie in Port Angeles. Afterward, she sees four guys who remind her of the ones who tried to rape her a year earlier, and, wanting to feel anything at all, she walks toward them. Edward’s voice appears in her head, warning her to stop. Intrigued that her fear sets off a hallucination of his presence, Bella searches for more risky activities.
She acquires two broken-down motorcycles and offers one to her teenage friend, Jacob Black of the nearby Quileute reservation, if he’ll repair the bikes and teach her how to ride. Her father wouldn’t approve, so they keep it a secret. When the bikes are fixed, they take them out for a ride in the forest. On the way, they see four divers jump from the sea cliff into the ocean, and Bella expresses interest in cliff diving. On the motorcycle, she promptly crashes and gets a gash on her head. The local hospital stitches her up, but the following week, she crashes again and ends up back at the hospital with a mild concussion. During both riding sessions, Bella distinctly hears Edward’s voice, which makes the injuries worthwhile.
Bella enjoys Jacob’s company, and they spend more time together. Jacob has grown into a towering young man, but he’s anxious because his reservation friends are suddenly joining a secret group run by Sam Uley, the young man who found her when she got lost in the woods. One day, Jacob stops returning Bella’s calls.
Wanting to hear Edward again, she visits the Cullen mansion, but it’s empty. She searches for the meadow she and Edward visited on the day of their first kiss. She finds it, but the vampire Laurent—an old friend of James, the vampire who tried to kill her—appears in the meadow. He’s been searching for Bella on behalf of James’s widow, Victoria, who wants to slay her in revenge for Edward’s killing of James. Laurent is about to kill Bella when five giant wolves appear and chase him off. Bella escapes the meadow but struggles for days with terror, knowing that two vampires are hunting her.
Impatient to see Jacob, she visits him, but he’s changed and can’t talk about it. One night, he climbs into her room and offers hints about his new life. She figures out that he’s one of the werewolves she saw in the meadow, creatures known in Quileute lore. Reports of large animals in the forest and disappearing tourists alert the community, and hunters begin a search for the creatures. Bella confronts Jacob, warning him of the hunters and demanding to know why the werewolves are attacking visitors. Jacob says they’re hunting vampires and killed Laurent to protect her, but another vampire still stalks the region.
Bella realizes the stalker is Victoria, trying to get past the wolves to kill her. Jacob brings Bella to speak to his new pack. Her knowledge of vampires helps them alter their strategy. Bella visits the reservation frequently, partly for safety from Victoria and partly to spend time with Jacob, whose friendship eases her pain about Edward.
One afternoon, alone on the reservation beach, Bella decides to try cliff diving. She jumps off the cliff and into the water, but strong currents pull her under. Jacob saves her; back on land, she sees a red flame offshore and later realizes it is red-headed Victoria hunting her.
Jacob drives Bella home, where they find Alice Cullen waiting. As a vampire who sees the future, Alice foresaw Bella’s cliff jump and hurried to Forks. Jacob despises her on sight, and they argue, but Bella intervenes. Alice learns that Edward thinks Bella is dead and plans to force the ancient and powerful Volturi vampire coven to kill him. Bella and Alice fly to Italy to try and stop him. At a crowded festival in the Volturi town of Volterra, Bella rushes to Edward and stops him seconds before he tries to reveal his glittery skin to the crowd.
Bella, Edward, and Alice are taken to Volturi headquarters, where the leader, Aro, shows a keen interest in Bella’s ability to block mind readers. He offers them membership in his coven, but they turn him down. With Edward’s promise that he’ll keep Bella from revealing the vampires’ existence, Aro lets them go free.
They return to Forks; the Cullens move back into their nearby house. Bella and Edward realize they’re still in love and can’t live without each other. Aware of the dangers they all face, Bella suggests to the Cullens that the safest option is to turn her into a vampire and accept her into their family; Most of them agree at once, but Edward balks. He and Bella compromise: She’ll finish high school first. He offers to transform her himself if she marries him, but she remembers the disaster that was her parents’ marriage and wants to think about it first.
Jacob tells her they can’t be friends anymore; the wolves will attack when she’s bitten. Bella’s life is no less dangerous than before, but now she has Edward again by her side.
By Stephenie Meyer
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