NEW YORK — There were no special concerts, no multi-city publicity tours and no camera crews this time. Stephenie Meyer wasn't sitting at a table waiting to sign copies. But to the 20 or so Twilighters lined up outside the Borders at Penn Plaza, the midnight release of "The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner" was still a pretty big deal. And instead of all the fanfare that had surrounded the release of "Breaking Dawn" almost two years ago, they had a couple of quiet, muggy hours in which to make new friends.
At 10 p.m., closing time for the bookstore that shares the block with Madison Square Garden and sits atop the chaos of Penn Station, fans were asked to wait outside the door. At the front of the line were two unlikely Twi-hards: big, burly men in their 20s, who decided to surprise their girlfriends with copies, since they hadn't been able to come out themselves.
"She was so disappointed she couldn't come," Ricardo Ortiz said of his "obsessed" girlfriend. He came up with the idea and brought along his friend, who chose to remain anonymous in this romantic gesture.
Erin O'Kane, 28, and Allison Ortiz (no relation to Ricardo), 20, were clearly there for themselves. They had been surprised when this novella was announced in March. And though they kind of wished they were waiting for the release of "Midnight Sun" (the unfinished "Twilight" story from Edward's perspective), they were eager to read about the ill-fated newborn vampire who appears so briefly in "Eclipse."
"[Meyer is] back in that place where she's all about 'Twilight' again, after taking a break for so long," Allison observed. "She's been on the set of the movies, so she's in a place now where she can think about it more, and she chose to write about one of the most random [characters] that you wouldn't expect at all."
If "Bree Tanner" is as good as she expects it to be, Erin is hoping for more novellas about some of the other minor characters. "Tanya would be great," she said. "Same thing with Victoria. We don't know how Victoria came to be."
"It doesn't have to be a long book, just a little something would be great," said Jessie Cores, 35, supporting the idea of more stories about the other characters. She was just as enthusiastic for the book as her 17-year-old daughter, Nikki, and Nikki's friend Shana Martinez. All of them planned on reading "Bree Tanner" as soon as they bought it.
"I'm not going to read it as fast, because you want to savor it," Shana said. "I'm going to have to pry it away from myself."
A little before 11:30, the Borders reopened, and everyone entered a raffle to win a place at the front of the line and a signed bookplate to place in the 200-page novella. Little Brown publicity director Elizabeth Eulberg was asked to pick the winner. It was 27-year-old Miriam Garcia, who was so stunned she almost didn't speak up when her name was called.
"I have to go to work in the morning," lamented the pharmacy tech, when asked if she'd be reading the book as soon as she got home. But even if she had to wait to finish the story, she enjoyed the social aspect of the midnight release.
"It's thanks to 'Twilight' that I have friends," she said, before stepping up to receive her gift-wrapped prize and buy an extra copy for one of those friends.
Did you attend a midnight release party? Share your stories in the comments. And as soon as you read "The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner," come back here to share your reviews!