Title: The Girl Who Drank the Moon
Published: August 2016
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Length: 388 pages
Genre: Middle grade fantasy
Why I Read: Liked the description
GoodReads | IndieBound | Indigo | The Book Depository
This is going to be one of those ‘reviews’ where I just gush about what I love without much critical thinking. The Girl Who Drank the Moon is my favourite kind of middle grade fantasy. In fact, it’s pretty much my favourite kind of any book. I had an easy time brainstorming why reasons why I liked this book. In no particular order:
- Adult characters with a young female protagonist
- Misunderstandings between good people that are reasonably resolved
- A curmudgeonly yet caring creature who is more significant than he appears (but it doesn’t really matter)
- A young child fulfilling a ‘destiny’/coming into their own
- A twist on a dragon!
- An isolated forest setting
- An unusual feature of the landscape (volcano)
- A woman fighting for her child
- Straightforward but evocative fairy tale prose that feels like it was written just for me
The only truly safe passage across the forest for an ordinary person was the Road, which wa ssituated on a naturally raised seam of rock that had smoothed over time. The Road didn’t alter or shift; it never grumbled. Unfortunately, it was owned and operated by a gang of thugs and bullies from the Protectorates. Xan never took the Road. She couldn’t abide thugs. Or bullies. And anyway, they charged too much. Or they did, last time she checked. It had been years since she had gone near it – many centuries now. She made her own way instead, using a combination of magic and know-how and common sense. (19)
- Simple yet structured and creative magic system
- Short interludes of a mother telling bedtime stories
- A sweet loving old lady (bonus for being a witch)
- A forgotten/confused past that slowly comes to light
- Bonus: A lovely cover and a title following the structure of ‘The [Noun] Who [Did Thing]’
Need I say more? By now you can probably tell if this is the sort of book you’ll love or hate. This was one of my favourite reads of the year. It reminded me of some of my childhood favourites (Inkdeath and Into the Land of the Unicorn come immediately to mind).
Some reviews on Goodreads (1 | 2) commented on its suitability as middle grade. Generally when I review books here I’m doing it for my own personal enjoyment and recommending to people in a similar position as me (i.e. adults not children). Are there some parts of this book that could be consider too ‘grown up’ or ‘boring’ or ‘political for middle schoolers? Perhaps, yet that’s the sort of story I enjoyed as a child and it’s still the sort of story I enjoy now. As I apply to grad school for pursue my dream of becoming a librarian, I wonder if I should shift perspective in my reviews – to reviewing books for their intended audience, rather than for my own personal enjoyment. For now, this blog remains a personal hobby and I think I will keep it that way for a little while longer. But that’s really a topic for another post!
The Bottom Line:
The Girl Who Drank the Moon is a beautifully written tale, with elements that add up to make it my favourite kind of fantasy story. I hope you will enjoy the adventures of Luna, Xan, Antain and the others as much as I did.
- Read the first 70 pages
- Author interview
- Review by Briana @ Pages Unbound
- Review @ The Book Wars
- Shelf Awareness review