Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Girl Who Drank the Moon

The Girl Who Drank the Moon
by Kelly Barnhill
Algonquin Young Readers, 2016. Fiction. 386 p.
Luna's life starts out in sorrow. As the last child born before the "Day of Sacrifice" she is destined to be given over to the terrible Witch who lives in the forest as an offering to ensure the wellbeing of the whole village for another year. Instead of being destroyed, however, Luna is "enmagicked" by the kindly witch and raised as her granddaughter. Meanwhile Luna's bereaved mother and a discontented council member strive to bring an end to the annual sacrifice and to the evil force behind it.

Here is a book that is on every Mock Newbery list I have seen this year, and rightly so.  The writing is lyric, almost poetic, and the complex plot and characters are emotionally satisfying.  The stories of the girl and her "grandmother" are deftly woven together with the stories of the council member, the mother in the insane asylum, and a number of other minor plot lines. Almost magically Barnhill ties them all together in a transcendent finale. This book will enthrall veteran fantasy readers of all ages.

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