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A Reader of Fictions: Review: Moonglass

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Review: Moonglass


Author: Jessi Kirby
Pages: 232
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Source: Library

Description from Goodreads:
From Jessi Kirby, a debut novel about confronting the past in order to move ahead.

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.

First Sentence: "Rain and wind pelted the ocean's surface so hard it looked like it was boiling."

Having recently accepted the startling fact that I love depressing contemporary novels, I have begun to work on a huge backlist of titles I've missed out on because I looked at the subject and scurried in the other direction. Having heard great things about Jessi Kirby's books, I added her to my tbr pile, and my crazy system of choosing reads told me that it was time. Right now, I want to pat my crazy rituals on the back for choosing such a good book for me to read.

Actually, based on the cover, I feared that Moonglass might be cheesy, but it was actually true, touching and oddly magical. Kirby's writing caught me right away, like a rip tide catches a swimmer, only perhaps not so menacing. Her prose has this natural beauty to it, and she describes the settings perfectly. Her author blurb at the back informed me that she actually lives in the same sort of place she wrote about and her love for the ocean, the cottages, and walking on the beach really shine through.

The book also has a sort of dreamy quality to it, and not just because a few of Anna's dreams are sprinkled through the text in italics. Most any scene in nature had this eerie, ethereal, slightly magical quality, and it set the tone so well. Some authors transport the reader to a place, and Kirby certainly does that. Though I'm not a visual reader, I could picture the settings vividly, because of how well Kirby describes everything.

In another thrilling turn of events, Moonglass turned out to be less about romance, as implied by the cover, and more about family. Anna's mother died when she was seven, and she and her father never really talk about it, which has come to bother Anna more and more, especially now that they're moving back to where her parents met. Now, do not take away from this that we have another neglected child, because we don't. Anna's dad loves her, both in words and actions. He can be a bit overprotective, sure, but what loving dad isn't? Even better, though they have rough patches, Anna and her dad really talk and they hang out together regularly, like at the weekly Poke-N-Eat dinners.

The characters all felt very real to me, and their relationships felt very natural. Anna, adventurous but reserved, does not make friends particularly easily. On her first day, a girl she expects to hate (the kind with a little dog in an oversized purse) approaches her and basically insists on them being friends and coerces Anna into joining the cross country team. Ashley has tons of money, is a bit of a ditz, and has nothing in common with Anna. She's the kind of person I generally despise, but, like Anna, I could not help being charmed by her good heart and generosity. For example, Anna lies to her about her mother, because she hates the pity when people know her mom died, and, usually when that happens in YA, the friend storms off in a huff, but Ashley immediately accepts it and moves into helping mode. Ashley's not the brightest about most things, but she's a genius about people.

Of course, there is a romance, but a very sweet, understated one. There are no declarations of love and it has all the awkwardness of a high school crush. Other than the fact that Anna gets the hottest guy in school, the romance felt very much not tropey. Actually, not only are their no "I love yous," but Anna and Tyler really don't profess their feelings at all. They're totally in the awkward what-are-we phase for all of the book, which totally happens in real life but I haven't really seen much in fiction. They have a lot of awkward silences, but they're definitely growing closer to one another slowly. I enjoyed this, particularly with it on the back burner.

Kirby tackles a dark subject but surrounds it with so much beauty that I think Moonglass will satisfy both readers of darker and lighter contemporary novels. This was just such a lovely, flowing novel. Now I'm off to add all of Kirby's other books to my tbr list.

Rating: 4/5

Favorite Quote: "'Anna,' she said softly, 'answers to most of our questions do exist. You just have to ask them.'"

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Blogger Jenni said...

*jumps up and down clapping hands* OMG I am SO EXCITED FOR THIS ONE NOW! I was looking through my shelf last night trying to find what to read and I just couldn't find anything and then I was looking at Moonglass, but I put it down! *smacks self*

I read Kirby's In Honor and it was really cute, it's a road trip novel so it was a lot of fun. Love how you point out that the romance is more so in awkward stages for the whole novel. That is so true, I don't remember really defining relationships in high school and it was really weird for the most part.

Love that this is super short too, I will be reading this before the new year for sure!

December 6, 2012 at 9:42 AM  
Blogger Kimberly @ Midnight Book Girl said...

I think I own this. One of many that sit on my shelf unread. Sigh. I really like that there is an actual "real" parent in the book and an awkward romance. There aren't enough cute awkward romances in YA books. And there certainly aren't enough "real" parents!

December 6, 2012 at 10:00 AM  
Blogger Kimberly @ Midnight Book Girl said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 6, 2012 at 10:00 AM  
Blogger Lynsey Newton said...

I believe I have this on the shelves but I've never read it. Good to see you enjoyed it :)

December 6, 2012 at 2:22 PM  
Blogger roro said...

has been on my wishlist for a while/ hope 2 get it soon

December 6, 2012 at 3:10 PM  
Blogger Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer said...

I love when the characters become real and the lines of reality blur, awesome review!

December 7, 2012 at 4:30 PM  
Blogger The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

I enjoyed this book-I remember thinking it had a bit of a Sarah Dessen quality to it-high praise indeed! Very excited for Kirby's next release Golden!

December 10, 2012 at 1:31 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Bahaha, don't hurt yourself, Jenni. It will still be good when you get there! At least you have it!

Yes, even if you were dating official, young romance is just hella awkward most of the time. Trying to figure out where you stand with the parents, each other, your friends, in school, etc.


December 10, 2012 at 3:25 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Ooh, I hope you have a chance to get to it soon!

December 10, 2012 at 3:25 PM  
Blogger Christina said...


December 10, 2012 at 3:25 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

hope so!

December 10, 2012 at 3:41 PM  
Blogger Christina said...


December 10, 2012 at 3:41 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Dessen actually blurbed the novel. I totally see the comparison! Dark, but not TOO dark. I'm excited too!

December 10, 2012 at 3:42 PM  
Blogger Jaime Lester said...

I see this book every time I go to the library, but for some reason I have never brought it home. It sounds good, but I wasn't entirely sure if I would like it. But now, in the past couple of weeks I have read a couple of reviews and they have been practically glowing. Now yours! I think that maybe I may have made a mistake in not reading it. Next time I go to the library, I am all in!

January 5, 2013 at 11:36 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

A contemporary novel that has realistic people in it and a story that feels real. Now, this I got to check this book out!

January 13, 2013 at 2:51 AM  

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