Tuesday, July 22, 2008

"New Moon" by Stephenie Meyer

In a recent interview in Entertainment Weekly, Stephenie Meyer, now pop-culture phenom and writer of the "Twilight" series, said that she isn't so intent on being considered a great writer, but a great storyteller.

I am now screaming fanatically, like the teenage girls' the books are popular with, and searching the Internet with just as much enthusiasm. Sure, Meyer may not be the next Great American Writer, but there is something great and American that this series is flying off bookshelves and making kids (who would never pick up a book) read these tombs that are over 500 pages each. And each one keeps getting longer and longer and longer, but takes less time to read.

Fanatic. I think so.

In "New Moon," we find Bella abandoned by Edward, her vampiric lover, and we go through months of grief. Luckily, those months aren't so much written about, but shown, like chapters: October, November, December, January... And we still find Bella struggling to live without her soulmate. It's very teenage. "Oh, I'll never be able to live again," and such melodrama, but if you ride the wave and dive into it, instead of getting annoyed by her character, you get over it and then fall in love with her new relationship: The best friend. Jacob Black, who was introduced in the first book, makes a huge comeback in the second -- so big, there are now two camps of readers. Camp Jacob and Camp Edward. It's obvious there is now going to be sexual tension between these three in the love triangle that ensues.

"New Moon" focuses only on Jacob and Bella's relationship for most of the book, doing exactly what Meyer did with "Twilight" and builds and builds and develops and develops, until you are comfortable with the characters together and THEN you find out that Jacob isn't your ordinary teenager -- in Forks, where the stories take place, no one, except Bella, is. She also makes jokes about this. It's nice to know her character isn't naive about these things. A little self-awareness is a good thing, which is why teenagers might enjoy the series. They live in a world today where they must be self aware at all times, even though their time is one of growing up... Bella becomes more relateable in that sense.

Then, Edward reappears toward the end of the book, sending Bella and Edward's "sister" Alice to Italy, which brings them face-to-face with another secret society of Vampires.

I know I'm not alone in reading this series as a guy. I know there are men out there reading the series, but I'm a strange case. I didn't start reading it because Steph was reading it and I wanted to find out why she was so obsessed with it. She wouldn't touch a book like this with a ten-foot pole. I picked these novels up on my own -- well, OK, I was curious to why my middle school students were going gaga over them.

Now, I'm going gaga over them. How bizarre. Luckily, there's another like me out there: fellow 19-year-old writer Kaleb Nation started a website about his musings over the series. He admits that he's not a fan, just curious. I'm sure, secretly, he's a fan.

I continue on with the series as we speak, reading "Eclipse" and wonder...what will happen next? Currently, there's a rash of killings happening in Seattle, there's still a vampire at large who wants to do away with Bella and then there's the neverending curiosity if Edward will in fact turn Bella into a vampire, like she hopes.