Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Review of Moonglass

I read once that water is a symbol for emotions. And for a while now, I've thought maybe my mother drowned in both. 

Anna's life is upended when her father accepts a job transfer the summer before her junior year. It's bad enough that she has to leave her friends and her life behind, but her dad is moving them to the beach where her parents first met and fell in love- a place awash in memories that Anna would just as soon leave under the surface.

While life on the beach is pretty great, with ocean views and one adorable lifeguard in particular, there are also family secrets that were buried along the shore years ago. And the ebb and flow of the ocean's tide means that nothing- not the sea glass that she collects on the sand and not the truths behind Anna's mother's death- stays buried forever.

[from Goodreads]

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience:  Contemporary fans looking for something deep
High point:  The questions that arise
Low point: The first third of the novel
Reader maturity:  13+

At first, I wasn't particularly impressed by Moonglass, even after (or perhaps because of) all the amazing reviews that I'd read of it. But about a third of the way through, the story picked up, and for the rest of the novel, I could barely put it down. Moonglass is a beautifully raw read with a delicate portrayal of the long-reaching effects of mental illness.

As I mentioned, the first part of the book didn't draw me in, but I kept reading because so many bloggers raved about it. And it was worth waiting for. Anna is fairly two-dimensional at first, until she confronts her past and all the pain behind it. She's got a great support group, although her dad is distant. There are a lot of secondary characters in Moonglass that really make the novel special, from people who knew Anna's mother, to the lifeguards, to Anna's new classmates. The love interest was pretty standard, but Anna has two great friends, both of whom surprised me with the depth of their friendship. I expected them to be fly-by-night and shallow at best, but they bring some really good energy into Anna's life.

Living on the beach, Anna's life is filled with surf culture (and runner culture). Her moods frequently seem to parallel those of the ocean, but it's never forced. Though the writing never struck me as flowery or overdone, the drama seeps off of each page--pain and hurt and hope. Even though the reader is submerged in it, it never seems heavy because there's always the promise of something more in the hunt for the rarest of moonglass.

Title:  Moonglass
Author:  Jessi Kirby
Genre: YA -Contemporary
Year:  2011
Book Source:  Won an ARC from Random Chalk Talk

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