15 March 2019

The Girl Who Drank The Moon // Buddy Read With Evelina @ Avalinah's Books

Author: Kelly Barnhill 
Publisher: Picadilly
Published: August 9th 2016
Pages: 388 pages

"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 in fact a good witch who 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 . . .

I always wondered how it would be to do a buddy read. So, I couldn't be more excited when Evelina @ Avalinah's Books asked me if I would like to read The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill with her. It was such a great experience! I loved sharing my bookish thoughts with Evelina and discuss with her the story as we flew through the pages. In this very long spoiler-ish review (I'm sure this is the longest review I wrote in a very long time), I answered a few questions from Evelina. To take a look at her replies to my questions, you can visit her blog post here

What did you like the best about The Girl Who Drank the Moon?

This is an incredibly hard question since there were so many wonderful things I enjoyed in The Girl Who Drank the Moon, from alluring characters to dark mysteries. Nonetheless, the whimsical and eerie atmosphere enticed me from the very first page to the very last one. The author wove a perfectly magical world of magic, swamps and a gloomy Protectorate.
Describe how you felt about the pace of the book. Did the mysteries trick you? Was it tense? Did you fee like you couldn't pry yourself away from the pages?  

I quite enjoyed the pace of the story. If you know me, you know I'm all for fast-paces novels. It always angers me when the author drags the plot for no reason whatsoever. However, the pace in The Girl Who Drank the Moon was perfect. It enticed the mystery that surrounded the Protectorate. There were some unexpected twists, but I adored how every chapter would give away a clue since it meant I was one step closer of unveiling the truth. It was so hard to put the book down because I wanted all the answers!

There are multiple themes in the book: a mother and daughter's love, the power of a story in the wrong hands, the power of love and sorrow, to name a few. Which theme stood out the most for you, and which one touched you the most, personally? 

This novel features a multitude of powerful themes. I think the one that stood the most for me was the theme of how a story can be changed in benefit of those who have the power. It's a reality that can't be avoided. Every conflict/war/country tells a different story about the same event, may it be for self-preservation or to pretend the world is black and white. Worse, sometimes history is simply erased. And, when history is changed/erased the same mistakes are bound to happen.

Perhaps my answer will sound strange, but the theme of madness was the one that touched me the most. When you have been struggling with your mind for so long, it touches your heart when it's so beautifully portrayed. Sorrow is such a better word to express this kind of sadness. The author's representation of madness through Luna's mother reminded me of how women were treated back when hysteria began to emerge. However, I enjoyed how she focused on the struggle that's to stay at afloat and the importance of hope. Finding one's inner strength is essential to begin the healing process, but "recovering" is a slow process, not something that one finds himself/herself crawling when the source of distress is dealt with. Barnhill shares an important message.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon has a lot of characters and they're all written well. Who were your favourites and why?

This must not come as a surprise since I can't stop talking about how much I love monsters and magical creatures. Glerk, the Swamp Monster, and Fyrian, the perfectly tiny dragon, were two of my favourite characters. Glerk with his nonsensical poetry and Fyrian with no knowledge of his tininess always brought a smile to my face. I loved their interactions with one another and their huge hearts.
Regarding human beings, Ethyene grew on me on the last chapters. She was fierce and determined, stepping up to fight the Elders and the Sisters. I was not expecting her to play such a crucial role in the plot. Luna also has a special place is my heart, but that's for a completely different reason. Luna was the name of my beloved fourteen-year-old cat, who passed away last month. At night, Luna would sleep by my side while I read. This book was no exception. And, I can't write another word about it because I'm getting teary...

The Girl Who Drank the Moon is an age-defying novel - it can be read by both children and adults, and it will have something to teach one. Do you think the messages to the young and the adult reader were different, and how?

This is the third middle grade book I've read in the last half year (I've trying to branch my readings) and The Girl Who Drank the Moon was quite different since not only does it follow Luna growing from a tiny baby to a thirteen-year-old, but it also features POVs of older characters. The author gives the reader different perspectives and allows the presence of a diversity of themes. On one side, you have Luna experiencing growing up and discovering her true self. On the other side, you have her mother who deals with madness and imprisonment. I believe the novel ends up sending the same messages to both young and adult readers, even if their perspective on the themes is different. While older readers may be aware of the dangers of changing history, new readers are learning how to think critically about it. Morevover, some messages are closer to young readers, such as Luna's finding her path, while others to adults, such as parenthood and doing everything in your power to hold your child in your arms.

Since the story is so rich and detailed, I don't feel like any my questions were answered by the end. Were yours? If not, what were they?

I hoped the magic system would have been better explained by the end of the novel. I love anything magic related and I always need to know how it works to the tiniest detail. However, there are many questions regarding the magic system spiralling in my mind right now. I mean, does everyone have magic inside themselves? Is it dormant? Can it only be awaken after going through an overwhelming experience? Would Luna still have magic even if she hasn't been enmagicked by Xan? Could sorrow be responsible by stealing the magic away? WHY CAN I NOT HAVE A PROPER ANSWER?! I guess I'll just have to make up my own answers...

Don't forget to visit Evelina's blog and read her thoughts on The Girl Who Drank the Moon

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  1. This book sounds wonderful and I am glad to hear you enjoyed it. I have been having great success with MG books, and this is on a long list of books I hope to read from that age group. Great review.

    1. Thank you, Sam. :) I hope you have the opportunity to read The Girl Who Drank the Moon book soon. Lately, I've trying to read more MG books because these always deal with themes that make one think about the world.

      Happy readings!

  2. I haven't read your thoughts in detail as I have this on Audio and hope to listen to it soon.
    Thanks for sharing and encouraging. :-)

    1. I hope you enjoy The Girl Who Drank the Moon as much as I did. Happy readings! :)

  3. I have had your review open all this time. Sorry for only reading through now! The part about Luna really touched me, although I knew it because we had spoken about it.
    Thank you so much for reading with me! It was an amazing buddy read.

    1. It's okay. No worries. Life is so busy that sometimes it takes us a long time to do something. :) I'm the one who needs to thank you for offering me the opportunity to buddy read with you. Thank you so much for thinking of me. <3

  4. Buddy reads are so much fun. It's nice to be able to have a proper discussion about a book while you're reading it. It's different to a normal review because sure people will comment and say if they agree/disagree with you but the book isn't always fresh in their mind so they can't always give you all of their thoughts because they've gone. You don't have that problem with a biddy read.

    Anyway, onto the book. It sounds like a good book, I've not ready many MG reads so it's always good when you hear a book is good for children and adults and both will get something from it.

    1. That's so true. It's easier to share your thoughts on a book with someone who is reading it at the same time. :) I hope you can read The Girl Who Drank the Moon. I haven't read many MG books, but this quite different from those I did. I loved having all the different POVs, from children, fantastic creatures and adults.

      Happy readings! ;)