Friday, November 6, 2015

A Nearer Moon

A Nearer Moon
By Melanie Crowder
Atheneum Books, 2015. Fiction. 160p.

Luna lives in a village raised on stilts over a murky swamp, poling her shallow boat through the muddy water. The old folk remember a time when a beautiful river ran past their doors, before the water dammed up and went bad, causing anyone who drinks it to slowly sicken and die. Some people say it’s because a dark creature lives under the water, but Luna doesn’t believe in magic or curses. But when her little sister comes down with the wasting sickness and has three weeks to live, Luna knows she will leave no theory unexplored and no danger untried in order to save her sister.

Although the premise of setting out on a dangerous mission to save a beloved younger sibling is a familiar one, this story is fresh and memorable. The writing is lyrical, the hot jungle swamp – beautiful but deadly – wonderfully described, and the ebullient life of the water sprites is whimsical and joyful. This story has some deep themes about the effect that grief can have on people and the strength of family bonds. A great tale that combines adventure, magic, coming- of-age, and family.

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