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Review: Moonglass

Moonglass by Jessi Kirby will be released in the U.S. on May 3 2011 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available for pre-order online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in both formats.

Published by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, the print edition is 240 pages.

Moonglass is one of the books that can be chosen for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at TheStorySiren.com.

Goodreads description:

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.

***

Her mother used to tell her the story that the pieces of sea glass they found along the shoreline were actually a mermaid’s tears. And that those colorful bits of glass that were tumbled and tossed by the ocean waves were magical.

Although her mother has been gone for many years, Anna still delights in their discovery and is captivated by their beauty. Her rarest stone is a red one, discovered by moonlight and the last one she found before her mother’s death, that she wears around her neck as both a reminder and an anchor.

Moving to Crystal Cove and the beach where her father and mother met, was not Anna’s idea. She preferred the beach she knew. The one where she grew up. The one where all her friends were. And the one where her mother drowned.

But when Anna returns to this place that has held so tightly onto the past, she can no longer run from the secrets she has been keeping from herself and those that Crystal Cove threaten to reveal.

***

Moonglass is a beautiful, melancholy and, in the end, hopeful story of loss and acceptance. It’s the story of a girl who, at a young age, suffered the death of a parent. She and her father have moved back to the place where her father grew up, where he met her mother and where some of their happiest times had been.

Returning to this place that held so much of her mother and father’s past forces Anna to confront things she has tried to keep buried for many years. And living in a town where so many people knew their history, she would find answers to questions she didn’t want asked.

But along the beaches of Crystal Cove, Anna would discover things about her mother that would either help her to understand and move forward or shatter the fragile existence she and her father have created for themselves in the wake of their tragedy.

Author Jessi Kirby has written a beautiful and heartbreaking story. Her main character, Anna is very sympathetic and relatable. She takes you on the journey with Anna, as she fights to keep her memories from overwhelming her, and tries to rebuild her life with new friends in a new home.

Moonglass is a very quick read, with writing that just flows effortlessly. The story will pique your curiosity from the outset and take hold as more and more is revealed about the past from Anna’s perspective. The author has perfectly captured the spirit of life by the ocean in her characters and translated that to the reader in such a way that those who have never had this experience will feel as if they’ve known beach life forever.

This debut novel is a must for readers looking for a story where they can really connect with a character, experience a slice of life through their eyes, feel their sorrow, their anger and their optimism and come away having discovered something truly wonderful.

Reviewer gives this book [rating=5]

On a personal note:

I love this story, but oh this book was just so sad. I could feel the weight of the sadness that the main character Anna carried with her throughout the story.

The writing was sorrowful and magical. I thought the author did a phenomenal job with all the details so that as I was reading this story I felt like I was on the beaches of Crystal Cove, experiencing everything as Anna did.

I had no idea what this book was about when I started reading. I hadn’t even read the description or heard anything about it. I thought that because it was so short it might just be a fun, beachy, romancy kind of book. It wasn’t, and I’m glad it was something much more.

I’m still feeling that malaise I get when I read a book that doesn’t hit me at the outset with its tragedy, but rather sinks in slowly and works down deep until the character’s suffering becomes my own. So now I just feel so sad for Anna, her father and for the other characters who were dealing with their own losses.

I think the story was simply beautiful, like its cover, and is a book I am so glad I got to experience. And I can’t wait to see what this debut author has to offer next.

***

This review is based on a printed ARC I received through a trade.

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