New Moon - Stephenie Meyer Mark New Moon as the moment when Stephanie Meyer's teen vampire romance series transformed from a troubling wish-fulfillment fantasy to a disturbing hate story with SPARKLES(!). In my review of Twilight, I described the plodding, sparse plot and the bland characters. New Moon keeps up the sparse plot bit, but the characters all take a one-way ticket to Crazy-Town. They get creepier than they were in the first book, which is really saying something because Edward's always been creppy - remember his thingie for watching Bella while she sleeps.

We'll call this review When Bad Books Happen to Good Readers: New Moon Edition.

It's been a few months since the events (and I use that term loosely) of Twilight, and nothing has changed. Perhaps Bella has managed to count all of the hairs on Eddie's perfect head, but that's likely all the progress she's made. Bella's experiencing a mid-life crisis at the ripe ol' age of 18 because her body is now 1 year older than Edward's. She wants him to turn into a vampire so she won't grow old (and in turn, mature, wise, or gifted with an actual personality), but Edward's all angsty about it because he thinks he's a monster. Bella sulks through a birthday party that the Cullen family cult thoughtfully throws for her, and then she gets a paper-cut and all hell breaks loose. Racked with guilt, Edward dumps Bella and disappears. Then nothing happens for 400 pages or so because Bella dies inside. Really. I think her brain actually dies in the book.

Now, I'm not much of a morality pusher, especially when it comes to fiction. I have my opinions about the characters' actions, but the opinions of others are totally left to their interpretations. Still. My humble opinion is telling me that New Moon is not a love story. It isn't even a like story. This is the story of a girl with really bad depression issues doing self-destructive things.

There are SPOILERS below! Read at your own risk!

So let's put this story into perspective. Bella has been with Edward for a couple of months, and they're in puppy love. I can understand that. But then the whole kit-and-kaboodle goes spiraling down the rabbit hole when you consider that Edward sneaks into Bella's room at night and just lays with her (no sexin' in this story). That's not cool, Eddie, and it's disrespectful to Bella's dad, who seems like a nice guy. But it gets worse. When Edward breaks it off with Bella, the girl goes catatonic. He takes her to the middle of the forest to do the deed, for some reason, and Bella just kind of wanders around until she collapses and has to be rescued. Now, what fully functioning 18-year-old can't find her way out a forest that she WALKED INTO IN THE FIRST PLACE? And in the unlikely case that she really could get lost, why doesn't she want to cut the d-bag who left her there?

After Bella is rescued from the forest, the next several pages just list the names of the months in which BELLA DOES ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. It's a complete black-out period for our heroine. Without Edward around, Bella has NOTHING to lend to the narrative. Not only is this lazy writing (SMeyer); it's also annoyingly emo and silly. I'm left to believe that Bella is either braindead, manic depressive, or a robot. If Bella had a blog at this time, I bet she filled it with angsty one word entries like, "Sullen," "Broken," and "Tears."

Finally, Charlie Swan has enough of his sad daughter-bot and lays down the law: Go make some damn friends or you're going back to live with your mother. Reluctantly, Bella reconnects with Jacob Black, the Native American kid she played with as a kid. Jacob's going through big changes in his life. Hairy changes. Toothy changes. If you catch my drift. You don't? OK, he's turning into a werewolf. Slowly, though.

Then there are pages and pages of Bella transferring her clinginess to Jacob - following him around, getting angry when he makes new friends and starts to withdraw. At the same time, Bella makes a shocking (SHOCKING, I tell you!) discovery that she can kinda/sorta see Edward when she puts herself in danger. Cue a bunch of TSTL acts of desperation, culminating in Bella jumping off a cliff into the ocean. Suicide attempts are so romantic, I guess? Raise your hand if you're disturbed!

Eventually, Bella tracks Edward down in Italy where all the really POWERFUL vampires live and hilariously prevents him from doing his own suicide dance. It's hilarious because Edward's plan to make the big, bad vampires kill him is to go out in public and sparkle. Yes. Death by sparkling. Because the general public totally wouldn't look at him and think he's just a pasty boy wearing body glitter.

Oh, and at some point, Bella ends up in a love triangle between Jacob and Edward. Because: of course. Love triangles are the worst trope in YA fiction to date. I want them all to burn in a fire.

So after all of the pages and endless angsting, Bella and Edward are ... back in Forks. Bella still wants him to turn her into a vampire. Edward still wants her to remain human. Jacob's scampering around in the woods all heartbroken. And apparently because Edward can't resist Bella's winning charm and outgoing personality, he proposes marriage. CLIFFHANGER! Oh, how will I ever manage the suspense?

The writing was also hideous. Meyer tends to recycle words like chagrin, dazzle, beautiful, topaz, clenched, and chuckled like nobody's business. Plus, the story is all inane internal monologue and very little plot.

Somehow, the final two books get even worse.