New Moon is the sequel to Stephenie Meyer's remarkably good debut novel Twilight. This novel works well enough as a stand alone but I think that you will get a better understanding of the story and maximum enjoyment from reading it if you have read Twilight first.
New Moon is always going to be compared to Twilight and people who are expecting this novel to be essentially the same as Twilight may be disappointed. Twilight had an almost dreamy, fairytale quality to the writing, which this story lacks. The Cullen family of vampires are also absent from a large proportion of New Moon, and vampire fans may keenly feel their absence. Do not let this put you off reading the book however because it is still one of the best books that I have read this year.
The story is narrated in first person by Bella and has an obvious parallel with Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and I mean obvious because even Bella recognises that she is in danger of playing out history's greatest romantic tragedy. I think keeping Romeo and Juliet in the forefront of the readers mind actually helps the author build the tension for the climax of the story because we can all see the tragedy that is waiting to happen.
For fantasy fans, the story isn't all about Bella and her emotional pain. The Quileute werewolves are an exciting addition to the story and it will be interesting to see how this plot line is developed in the next novel in this series.
I stayed up until the early hours of the morning reading this book because once I was caught up in the story I couldn't stop reading. I'm sure I'm not the first person, and won't be the last person either, to say that about this novel.