I’ll admit it- aside from Harry Potter, fantasy isn’t usually my thing. I know that may sound crazy to many of you, but it is what it is. But then I read The Girl Who Drank the Moon, an astoundingly beautiful middle grade novel by Kelly Barnhill that just happened to win the 2017 Newbery Award, and I think I may be a new convert. Because this book… all I can say is WOW. This book is magic, and I was captivated from the very first sentence.
In The Girl Who Drank the Moon, a town is haunted by an annual “tradition”: a Day of Sacrifice, one that involves leaving the eldest baby born that year in the woods to appease a witch who threatens to destroy the village if her commands are not obeyed. Thus begins the story of the baby who is taken and subsequently “enmagicked” by being fed moonlight rather than starlight, the families from whom babies are taken, a witch who is anything but, a very tiny dragon, and a tale looming large before a village that may or may not actually be true.
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The Girl Who Drank the Moon had me hooked from the get go, from its perfect (and perfectly flawed) characters to it’s truly spellbinding plot — so much so that at times I totally forgot I was reading a middle grade novel and found myself pondering questions that were so relevant to today’s times. Aside from the beautiful prose and the multiple perspectives that so seamlessly weave together past and present narratives, Barnhill masterfully presents a spring point for kids and adults alike to discuss the concept of truths versus lies and how adherence to certain stories can become the very foundations on which societies are built and even maintained. A breathtaking, mesmerizing story that leaves you guessing until the end, I still, months later, cannot stop thinking about it and cannot wait to read it again. There is not a doubt in my mind that The Girl Who Drank the Moon will become an instant classic, and if you and your kids loved Harry Potter, this is one not to be missed.
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