by Stephenie Meyer
According to most best-sellers lists, readers today are obsessed with zombies, albeit ones who like to ride in a chaise and four. Or should that be chaise and gore? Otherwise, the world is a vampire, as the Smashing Pumpkins yowled. Leading the undead pack is Stephenie Meyer with her successful Twilight novels. Backed by two equally popular film adaptations, Meyer is the new J.K. Rowling - but her spotty adolescents actually have hormones: teens that go bump (and grind) in the night. Meyer's heroine, Bella, is like totally in love with a vampire called Edward Cullen, who throws her an 18th birthday bash. When Bella cuts her finger opening a gift, Edward's brother Jasper mistakes Bella for the gift and tries to neck her - to death. A distraught Edward flees, leaving Bella to become comfy with a werewolf called Jacob. On the purely literary level, Meyer's triumph is a tad baffling, driven by prose wooden enough to kill most of Edward's family. '[It] didn't make sense for me to be tired,' Bella muses. 'But drowning really had taken a lot out of me.' Drowning will do that to you. On the other hand, New Moon is gripping, affecting and oddly old fashioned. Fangtastic.