Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Book Review: Moonglass by Jessi Kirby

Title: Moonglass
Author: Jessi Kirby
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
ARC, 232 pages
Date Published: May 3, 2011
Description (Taken from Goodreads):
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.

Moonglass is truly a stunning book, with its atmospheric setting and poignant storytelling. It pulls the reader into its pages and drops them right on the sand with Anna, fumbling for purchase in a new town, on a new beach, with no friends and the weight of the memories of a mother she never really got to know.

Kirby balances Anna’s growing sadness with a sweet love story and quite a few amusing characters. Tyler is everything a beach-loving girl could want. He’s gorgeous, a lifeguard, and confident without being overly cocky. His personality is electric and the reader will feel that, along with Anna. Then there’s Ashley, Anna’s first new friend, who is pretty much a bimbo, but very innocent and impossible not to like. Jillian, Anna’s cross-country teammate, is such a contrast to Ashley, but her backstory plays well into Anna’s.

The focus of the story is Anna and her family though, her dead mother, her father, and the world the two of them left behind; the world that Anna never knew, but that her father has pulled her to. Kirby’s vivid descriptions of the ocean, the sea glass, Anna’s ‘moonglass,’ and the story of the mermaids is heartbreaking and poetic. This small community that Anna first views as foreign becomes such a huge part of who she is. Every detail is important; every character adds to the intrigue about Anna’s mother and towards the end I was near tears.

Moonglass is a beautiful debut that is the perfect summer read. It delicately confronts family issues, while allowing for a romance to bloom. If you’re heading out to the beach or plan on spending a night overlooking the water, grab this one to bring with you.

Opening line:
Rain and wind pelted the ocean’s surface so hard it looked like it was boiling. ~ pg. 1

Favorite lines/passages:
My mother had always been a mystery to me, even when she was alive. She’d been all those things, all at once, and we’d tiptoed around her even then. And now, here, she’d stirred up the placid surface of my life and thrown me into rough, dark water – a deep ocean of secrets.
I couldn’t tell anyone I was flailing. ~ pg. 148

*This is the ARC version and lines, pages, cover art may differ from final copy
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

Find Jessi Kirby online:

Buy it online:

3 comments:

Candace said...

I flipping LOVED this book! Perfect summer read! Or to read in in the fall/winter to help you remember the beauty of summer ;) I loved Jessi's writing, beautiful! So glad you enjoyed it too!

Lori said...

I agree, it is a perfect summer read! I can't wait to read more from Jessi!

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

Candace - I actually read it a while ago (it was still summer) but I'm just now getting around to posting my review. Hopefully people see it as more than just a summer read though because it is so good.

Lori - I'm eager to see more from Jessi too. She has this incredible way of putting the reader in the setting, so I'm excited for that again :)

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