Synopsis from Algonquin:
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. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon. Xan rescues the children and delivers them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey.
One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. As Luna’s thirteenth birthday approaches, her magic begins to emerge—with dangerous consequences. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Deadly birds with uncertain intentions flock nearby. A volcano, quiet for centuries, rumbles just beneath the earth’s surface. And the woman with the Tiger’s heart is on the prowl . . .
About: The Girl Who Drank the Moon is a middle grade fantasy written by Kelly Barnhill. It was published on 4/30/2019 by Algonquin Young Readers, an imprint of Workman Publishing, hardcover, 400 pages. The genres are middle grade fiction and fantasy. This book is intended for readers ages 10 to 14, grades 5 to 9. According to the publisher’s website, ” Algonquin Young Readers publishes books for readers from ages seven to seventeen, from short illustrated novels for the youngest independent readers to timely and topical crossover young adult fiction. What ties the books in this imprint together? Unforgettable characters, absorbing stories, and superior writing.” Please see below for more information about the author and publisher.
My Experience: I started reading The Girl Who Drank the Moon on 7/1/2020 and finished it on 7/10/2020. This book was an amazing read! A great story on magic and witches as well as friendship and family. A beautiful story for mother and daughter, but of course anyone can read it and I do recommend it. The chapter titles were eye catching and interesting. I liked how the author created each character. They were unique and individual with their own sets of skills and talents. The ending was great and it got me a bit teary eyed. Would have been awesome if there was a cure for Antain’s face because he’s such a sweet guy. I loved how sorrow was spotlight in this book and the weapon to beat it.
This book started with a kid being told a story of an existence of a witch in the woods. Each year, when The Day of Sacrifice arrived, the youngest child in the town has to be sacrificed to a witch. No one knew why. Then the story began with Grand Elder Gherland, told in the third person point of view, who was the leader of the town. He rather enjoyed The Day of Sacrifice and kept a fat secret from the people in town, until his nephew Antain, nearly 13 Elder-in-training, started questioning the process. The second view was Xan, the Witch, more than 500 years old. Every year she arrived at the forest to rescue an infant and brought the baby to a new home. Except this year, Witch Xan took a detour and brought the baby, named her Luna home to be part of her family with Glerk, the swamp monster and Fyrian, the small dragon. The third view was Antain, now nearly 18. He has been faking sick for the past 5 years on The Day of Sacrifice because of what he had witnessed during his first time out. The fourth view was the madwoman at the top of the Tower with her paper birds. Readers will know how each person felt as the story included them like Sister Ignatia, Wyn, Ethyne, etc. The mystery of the town and the witch slowly unravel as the story move forward.
The Girl Who Drank the Moon was very well written and a fast paced read! Such an original story unlike any others I have read before, though the beginning reminded me of The Hunger Games where a sacrifice was required from the poor population. The title was explained in the story and it was excellent. I loved the cover of this book! The characters were well developed and I couldn’t help but felt for Antain and his wife as well as Glerk, Xan, Fyrian, and Luna. The origami paper birds are a plus! I used to hang my ceiling full of paper birds back in middle and high school. Loved the suspense and mystery and at times a couldn’t put down kind of read.
Pro: fast paced, page turner, magic, cover, well liked characters, family
I rate it 5 stars!
About the Author:
Kelly Barnhill lives in Minnesota with her husband and three children. She is the author of four novels, most recently The Girl Who Drank the Moon, winner of the 2017 John Newbery Medal. She is also the winner of the World Fantasy Award and has been a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award, a Nebula Award, and the PEN/USA literary prize. Visit her online at kellybarnhill.com or on Twitter: @kellybarnhill. (Photo and info obtained from Workman’s website).