After Meyer finished writing Twilight, she found herself writing multiple, hundred-paged epilogues, and has said, "I quickly realized I wasn't ready to stop writing about Bella and Edward." She began writing a sequel, which was entitled Forever Dawn and skipped over Bella's final year of high school. While Meyer was still writing Forever Dawn, she learned that Twilight was going to be published and marketed as a young-adult novel. Wanting the next book to be aimed at a similar audience, she decided to write a new sequel, New Moon, which took place during Bella's senior year of high school.
New Moon was published by Little, Brown in the USA on 6 September 2006 with an initial print run of 100,000 copies. Demand for the book was so high that advance reading copies were being sold on eBay for as high as $380. New Moon immediately rose to the #1 position on the New York Times Best Seller list for Children's Chapter Books in its second week on the list, displacing popular children's authors such as Christopher Paolini and Markus Zusak, and remained in that spot for eleven weeks. It spent over 47 weeks in total on the list. New Moon also remained on the USA Today Best Seller list for over 150 weeks after entering the list two weeks after its release, later peaking at #1.
By 2008, Publishers Weekly reported that New Moon had sold 1.5 million copies throughout the USA. In October 2008, the book was ranked #37 on USA Today's "Bestselling Books of Last 15 Years".
Hillias J. Martin of School Library Journal praised the book, saying, "Less streamlined than Twilight yet just as exciting, New Moon will more than feed the bloodthirsty hankerings of fans of the first volume and leave them breathless for the third". Norah Piehl of Teenreads.com said, "In the middle, the story sometimes drags, and readers may long for the vampires' return. The events of New Moon, though, will leave Meyer's many fans breathless for the sequel, as Bella finally understands everything that will be at stake if she makes the ultimate choice to give up her humanity and live, like the vampires, forever."