Review: The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

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There were too many things to know, and not enough time to know them.”


Synopsis

Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the forest, Xan, is kind and gentle. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster named Glerk and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, Fyrian.

One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this enmagicked girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. To keep young Luna safe from her own unwieldy power, Xan locks her magic deep inside her. When Luna approaches her thirteenth birthday, her magic begins to emerge on schedule–but Xan is far away.


My Thoughts

The Girl Who Drank the Moon is such a cute story with lovable characters and a fast-paced plot that will leave children, and adults alike, on the edges of their seats. I think this is the first middle grade book I’ve picked up to read since I was a member of its target demographic, and I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed the story.

The author tells a magical tale about a forest that is feared by some of the surrounding population, yet loved by those who know the truth. There is a small village that borders the forest who’s people are unknowingly enslaved by ignorance and despair, and the story has its token heroes, villains, and trusty side kicks who are wholesomely entertaining to the reader.

You’ll learn about where Xan learned her magic, and get to delve a bit into the history of the forest and what made it a dangerous place. You’ll also get to spend time with Luna, the child who was fed moonlight rather than starlight, and now has more magic than she, or anyone else, knows what to do with. Luna’s highly imaginative brain is what makes her so special and her magic so dangerous, and will be what inspires hope when harder situations come.

There are wonderful themes and messages for the reader to drink in, one being the power of love and family. Questions like, ‘how far would you go to protect someone you love?’ are asked in different ways throughout the story. There is almost a philosophical nature to much of what is written, and it’s inspiring to see the messages relayed in a way that is understandable to a developing mind, yet deep enough to be appreciated by an adult at the same time.

What I most loved about the book itself was the descriptive writing, or perhaps the WAY things were described. I imagined this story being written with quill and ink, only the quill was tipped with glittering gold magic that transformed the words into a light and airy substance that the reader breathes in, giving a feeling of comfortable euphoria that fairy tales seem to specialize in. This is exactly the type of book I would’ve been absorbed in during the summer months of my middle school life. I would’ve toted this book up the shady tree in my front yard and read the afternoon away. So perhaps this book took me back to those times, and that may be one of the aspects that contribute to why I loved it so much.

I am head over heels for this book, and would recommend it to any readers out there who love a light-hearted, magical story. If you do decide to pick this book up, or if you’ve already read it, I’d love to hear who your favorite character is. Come back and let me know! You can find more information about The Girl Who Drank the Moon on Goodreads.


Thanks for reading! Comment below with your favorite middle grade book!