In the second installment of the Twilight series, New Moon opens up with Bella Swan’s eighteenth birthday and the party the Cullens’ throw for her. Although a number most teenagers would be celebrating over, the big one eight seemed to be hanging over Bella like a dark gray cloud. By turning eighteen, she was officially older than Edward, her undead vampire boyfriend. Grumbling throughout the entire day, Bella does attend her birthday party, which Alice Cullen- one of her good friends- perkily put together. When Bells begins opening one of her presents, she gives herself a paper cut and begins to bleed. In a room full of hungry vampires, this cut seemed to be the death toll. In a flash, Jasper- a member of the Cullen clan- lunges for Bella, and Edward spastically pushes Bella out of the way but she unfortunately falls into a glass table causing further bloodshed. A paper cut seemed to be the least of her worries, after Bella looks down at her bloody, pulsing arm, before turning to the stares of the suddenly ravenous vampires hovering over her. Carlisle seemed to be the only one who remained cool and collected in the situation, demanding the others to get out of the room while he took care of Bella’s wounds.
Over the course of the next few days, Bella notices a change in Edward’s behavior- instead of his usual close-contact, he seems to be more distant and detached. The more time passes, the further away Bella feels she is from Edward, until Edward breaks the news to Bella that he and the Cullen clan will be leaving and never coming back. Devastated, Bella insists on going with Edward, unable to bear the thought of living without him. To Bella’s dismay, Edward informs Bella he does not love her and is going to leave and never return.
Months pass as Bella slips into a depressed state that causes her to lose contact with her friends. In January, with Charlie threatening to send her home to Phoenix and the nightmares- in which Bella wakes up screaming continue to plague her, Bella finally agrees to go out with friends. Bella decides to plan a girl’s night out with a semi-willing Jessica. After hitting a zombie movie, the girls are on their way to dinner when Bella sees a few biker men crowded around their motorcycles on a dark street. Bella is convinced she can see Edward in the crowd, and with her heart racing, she heads over to the throng of dangerous motorcycle riders. One offers her a lift on the back of his bike, while Jessica tells Bella to quit acting ridiculous, but Bella is transfixed with the feeling of Edward’s presence as she swears she can hear his insistent voice telling her to stop what she was doing and return to Jessica. Bella refuses the voice’s request and instead is relieved at the sound of his anger- the evidence that Edward still cared. Eventually, Bella returns to a baffled Jessica and they continue their night in town.
A few days later, on her way home from work, Bella notices two motorcycles on the lawn of a family close to town. Stupid and reckless, is her first thought, but as she continues to think, Bella realizes that she wants to break promises- especially the one she made to Edward about keeping herself safe. After hauling the bikes into her truckbed, Bella notices the motorcycles need more than a fresh coat of paint. Stopping by Jacob Black’s house and asking him to do her the favor of helping her to rebuild the bikes, Bella, for the first time in months, finally has something to look forward to.
Over the next few weeks, working side by side with Jake on the bikes, a new friendship is built between the La Push local and Bella. By getting closer, Bella learns new things about Jake: that a few guys from La Push seemed to be in some sort of a ‘gang’ that ‘recruited’ new members to be a part of their cult-like, fearless activities and that Jake is terrified that he will be the next one the group hopes to take under their wing. Finally, the bikes are finished and Jake agrees to teach Bella how to ride. Once she puts her foot on the gas and takes off, Edward appears again. Bella realizes that by doing dangerous things, not only can she hear Edward’s voice in the back of her mind, she can see him too- and that only encourages Bella to become more and more reckless.
At a planned movie outing, Jake tells Bella how he feels- really feels that is. He explains that he does not just like Bella as a friend, but much more than that. Bella, still hung up on a never-present Edward, confesses that she sees Jake as a brother and does not return his feelings. Within the next few days, Jake becomes distant. He stops calling and no longer wants to hang out. Billy, his father, claims Jake is sick, but Bella feels as though Jacob is avoiding her.
Trying to keep herself busy, Bella returns to the meadow Edward had taken her in the first book and is surprised to see Laurent- a member of James’ coven- there. Within seconds of noticing Laurent, the pale and beautiful Edward appears. After a brief discussion, Bella learns that Laurent and Victoria- another member of James’ coven- were on the hunt for Bella and the Cullens, because of the Cullens’ murdering of the leader to Laurent and Victoria’s coven. With Edward’s velvety voice coaching her, Bella lies and avoids the questions Laurent poses, but she knows that the only thing Laurent wants is Bella dead and with no one there to protect her, Bella believes Laurent will get what he wants. But then, a black shape emerges from the woods. The figure, on all fours, stalked deliberately and silently to the blood-thirsty vampire. Bella realizes the gigantic animal is a wolf and it is not alone. Other wolves of different colors and sizes emerge from the woods, growling at Laurent. In seconds, Laurent retreats with the wolves hot at his heels. Before anything else can happen, Bella takes off in the opposite direction.
Fed up with being ignored, Bella goes into La Push and corners an angry Jacob. Bella asks pressing questions but Jacob refuses to answer. After a hurtful argument, Jacob informs Bella that they can no longer hang out or be friends. Having her heart ripped from her chest for a second time, Bella returns home. Later that night, Jake slips in through Bella’s window- the way Edward once had- to apologize and help Bella figure out what has been going on with him. Jacob explains that he cannot say what has happened, but that Bella can guess. After a grueling process and quite a few hints from Jacob, Bella is able to come to the conclusion that her very close friend is a werewolf.
Even though the werewolves killed Laurent, Victoria is on the hunt for vengeance. With the only thought in mind murdering Bella, the werewolves must try to get to Victoria before she can find Bella. Through the chaos of it all, Bella still pines for Edward. Itching to hear his voice again, she goes cliff diving on a local La Push ridge that allows the jumper to fall into the ocean below. Bella decides to jump off the cliff that Jacob had previously informed her was very dangerous. The impact of the water and the strong current causes Bella’s mind to grow foggy and unsure which way the shore was- or where the surface of the water was for that matter. Bella hears Edward’s persistent voice that barks at her not to give up as she continues to try and fight the current. But, Bella’s arms grown tired and weak and soon enough, without any oxygen, she loses all will to fight and blacks out.
Miraculously, Jacob pulls Bella from the dark water and performs CPR. Bella sputters the salty water and eventually can regain her bearings. Jacob brings Bella back home, where she is surprised to see Alice waiting for her. Alice informs Bella she had a vision of Bella jumping off of a cliff, thinking she was committing suicide, and was unable to see any more into the future. After Alice is through chastising Bella for committing such reckless acts, the two hug and gab for the rest of the night. In the meantime, one of Charlie’s close friends dies and the next day Charlie goes to attend the funeral. Jacob comes over to talk to Bella while Alice steps outside. During their conversation, Jacob tries to steal a kiss from Bella but is interrupted by the phone ringing. He answers it and informs the caller that Charlie is at ‘the funeral’ and cannot come to the phone. Jacob tells Bella it was Carlisle Cullen on the phone and Bella is upset Jacob did not let her talk to him. A few seconds later, Alice returns and Jacob informs her of the call. Alice then notifies Jacob and Bella that Carlisle was not the person on the other end of the line, but instead it was Edward who had called and that he now believes Bella truly is dead since Charlie was at ‘the funeral’. Alice proceeds to tell Bella that in her vision, Edward is going to commit suicide by upsetting the Volturi (a coven of vampires who feed off of human blood and are the self proclaimed rule makers for all vampires) and forcing the members of the Volturi to condemn Edward to death.
In a race against time, Alice and Bella hop on a flight to Italy. Once there, they steal a car that will be able to take them into Volterra city, where the Volturi live. Alice’s visions keep changing because Edward continues to think of new ways to anger the members of the Volturi coven. As the girls get closer and closer to the city, Alice sees that at exactly twelve noon, Edward will expose himself as a vampire by stepping out into the sunlight in the middle of the St. Marcus Day parade. At a time when the sun is the highest in the sky, Alice explains there is no way for her to help Bella, nor get around the throng of people crowding the streets. Bella leaps from the car and races through the small town of Volterra, on the hunt for Edward. Just as the clock strikes twelve, Bella spots Edward and charges toward him, crashing into his pale body so much that she forces him backward. Once in the protection of the shade, Edward believes that he had died and is once again reunited with Bella. Bella carefully explains to Edward that the two of them are still alive.
Unfortunately, the reunion is short lived as to Edward and Bella’s dismay; the Volturi guards appear and inform Edward and Bella that the Volturi wish to speak with them. The Volturi notify Edward and Bella that in order for them to spare Edward’s life, Bella must be turned into a vampire within the next year. Edward, although frustrated and unhappy with the terms of the agreement, obliges. With Edward’s protective grip on Bella’s shoulder, the two find Alice and fly back home to Forks. Edward tells Bella that although he will not make her a vampire, he will fight the Volturi to keep Bella human. Bella has the members of the Cullen clan voting on her mortality. Alice, Carlisle, Esme, Emmett, and Jasper all agree that adding Bella to their family would be ideal and exciting, but Edward and Rosalie object to Bella’s immortality. An agreement is made that after graduation, Bella will become a vampire. The book ends with Edward promising to make Bella immortal, on one condition- she marry him first.