#933 – The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

a girl drnk mooon The Girl Who Drank the Moon
Written by Kelly Barnhill
Algonquin Young Readers   8/09/2016
396 pages    Ages 8—12

Junior Library Guild Selection

“There is magic in starlight, of course.
This is well known. Moonlight, however.
That is a different story. Moonlight is magic.
Ask anyone you like”

“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 . . .” [back cover/inside jacket]

The Girl Who Drank the Moon will delight everyone who reads its pages. There is so much to love about this story. There is a town, shrouded in darkness, kept there physically and mentally by the Council of Elders, a group of old, supposedly wise men—actually, miserable rich jerks who like controlling the town and its people. Then there are the people, scared and more miserable, trying to get by day-by-day with little while eternally trapped in their town of birth.

Towering over the town are the Sisters of the Star, unusual nuns with ninja skills enviable, accurate, and deadly. They keep the Council of Elders, and the town, in check. Also in this grey town is Antain, a young boy reluctantly learning to become an Elder, by shadowing his obligated and somewhat reluctant Uncle Gherland, the Grand Elder. Antain does not like the town’s annual custom of placating the forest witch with a newborn baby. When he is able, Antain intends to stop this tradition of fear.

Readers will adore the wicked forest witch, for she is not wicked in one tiny cell, let alone the whole of her antiquated body. Xan lives in the forest with a very prudent and very poetic swamp monster named Glerk, and a very tiny and very timid dragon named Fyrian. This little family adds a member when the Elders leave their yearly sacrifice to the witch; only this time, on her way to the villages on the other side of the forest, Xan, in her tiredness, reaches up a frail hand to grab some starlight but grabs moonlight instead. This one small unintentional act “enmagicks” the baby,now known as Luna. Luna is a rambunctious child who splatters magic wherever she goes, yet has no idea what or why odd things happen around her. This makes Luna’s magic potentially dangerous to everyone.

Now, all these characters—and a few I’ve neglected to mention—are together, a most remarkable story. Several adventures occur simultaneously, yet head toward the same perilous end. Often humorous and equally magical, the story contains unimaginable twists and turns –all of which readers will love.

The writing is beautiful and poetic without Glerk’s help. Antain, forever scared by the first and only sacrifice he participates, cannot shake the infant’s mother, who lost her mind and spends the rest of her life, locked in a sterile, emptied room, high up in a tower, and guarded by ninja nuns. So many “run-on sentences,” yet so much to tell. I could go on and on about The Girl Who Drank the Moon.

Look, if you have skipped the above to read only this final paragraph, remember this: You miss a lot when seeking the end too soon. Take this advice with The Girl Who Drank the Moon. Savor the journey, while keeping a wary eye out for the Sisters of the Star—and the characters I have neglected to mention. They, with the author’s masterful pen, tell an enchanting story. Do not let The Girl Who Drank the Moon fly pass your radar. Some stories, even those passed down generation after generation, contain less fiction than fact.

THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON. Text copyright © 2016 by Kelly Barnhill. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Algonquin Young Readers, Chapel Hill, NC.

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Find The Girl Who Drank the Moon on Goodreads HERE.

Kelly Barnhill:   http://www.kellybarnhill.com/
Follow on Twitter         @kellybarnhill 

Algonquin Young Readers:  http://algonquinyoungreaders.com/
Follow on Twitter          @AlgonquinYR

Algonquin Young Readers is an imprint of Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, a division of Workman Publishing.

Reprinted with permission from THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON © 2016 by Kelly Barnhill, Algonquin Young Readers, an imprint of Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.




Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

The Girl Who Drank the Moon
Written by Kelly Barnhill
Algonquin Young Readers 8/09/2016


8 thoughts on “#933 – The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

  1. You know, Sue, I’ve been seeing this book for a while during the promo period and have been drawn to its title and cover all along. I just love it! Of course, till now, having read (I skim over the details of the story ’cause I don’t like to know too much) your review, I have a good idea what it’s about. I’m putting it on my TBR! Thanks, Sue 🙂


    • I understand. I try not to put in anything that gives away twists or endings or important details i enjoyed reading at the moment. I think I am going to change up my reviews beginning in 2017, working on ideas now that will not tell so much of a story. PB are okay, because parents want to know, but MG is another story (no pun intended). I think you will really enjoy The Girl Who Drank the Moon—great title, huh!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I really enjoyed your review of The Girl Who Drank the Moon, and no I didn’t skip to the last paragraph. I think my daughter might enjoy this story, I’ll be adding it to the Christmas book pile.


  3. This has been an astonishingly good year for MG, and the Fall 2016 season is just beginning. The Girl Who Drank the Moon is one more to add to your TBR list.

    No, put it at the top, right after the last MG 6-Star Book here at KLR, Everyday Hero by Kathleen Cherry.
    No, put is right after.
    Heck, they are both terrific, you decide!


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