The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill // Amanda // First Read Review


28110852. sy475 Stand-alone // Middle Grade // Fantasy

I feel like middle-grade books with a darker fairy tale feel are my sweet spot. I love them. I love the not-needing-to-be-explained magic, the characters who are growing into themselves, the lighthearted parts mixed genuinely in with hard topics and heartfelt heartache. And here is another brilliant book, a new favorite, in that category.

It took me a while to get into it, and it wasn’t the writing (even though it was lilting and fairy-tale-esque), it was the fact that I had expectations of this book that were broken on the first page. This is a multi-perspective book where only one of the characters is a girl who is middle-grade-aged, and the other characters were adults that didn’t seem to be connected in any way. Though this threw me off at first, in the end, this means that this book really lends itself to a wide audience of people who could love it from any age and life stage.

Because of this, the first 100 pages were a little tough for me to get into, and I kept reading a little and having to come back to it. But about 100 pages in, the world unfolds one page at a time, and I started wondering what would happen and getting invested and the rest is history.

This book is centered around one big misunderstanding. There lives a witch in the woods named Xan who is concerned for a village nearby who keeps leaving a baby out alone every year. This village, called the Protectorate, is terrified of the witch who demands a baby every year for them. Xan takes these children, every year, to a nice village across the forest and finds homes perfect for them. But one year, Xan accidentally feeds the baby, who she is quite enamored with, an extraordinary amount of moonlight, filling her with magic, and so, chooses to take her home to teach her.

This book really is filled with a variety of characters, including two of the witch’s close friends – a swamp monster and a teeny tiny dragon. We also get to read about the perspective of many of the characters, including a man in the Protectorate, our witch Xan, and the namesake of this book: The Girl Who Drank the Moon, and other snatches of the people we meet throughout. Though it starts off slow, the real strength of the story of this book is the complexity and eccentricity of the different characters moving together, while at the same time, not really knowing how they connect.

Let’s just say I’ll be getting ready to buy the rest of Kelly Barnhill’s books very soon in the future, especially since fall is coming up and I particularly love reading middle grade in the cozy feel of a cup of tea and watching the weather get colder.


Other July 2019 Reads:
July 2019 Wrap-up
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
The Past & Other Things That Should Stay Buried by Shaun David Hutchinson
This Time Will Be Different by Misa Sugiura
The Similars by Rebecca Hanover
Last Things by Jacqueline West
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
The Girl in the Green Silk Gown by Seanan McGuire
Books Read During the Reading Rush:
Let’s be friends!
The Reading Rush Reviews
The Disasters by M.K. England
Grim Lovelies by Megan Shepherd
The Near Witch by V.E. Schwab
Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi
Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia
Mera: Tidebreaker by Danielle Paige

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