Monday, July 8, 2013

Moonglass by Jessi Kirby

Moonglass by Jessi Kirby
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.

I've heard plenty of great things about Jessi Kirby - the main piece of praise coming straight from the blurb on Moonglass' cover: she has Sarah Dessen's approval. Which is good enough for me to auto-buy, no questions asked. I'm that much of a fangirl.

There are a number of things that set this apart from the usual story of a girl losing a parent (in this case, her mother). First off, her mother's death - a suicide, btw - occurred when she was a little girl, meaning she really doesn't know of any other way of being raised than by her single dad. Which, I assumed, would make room for character insight and her feelings about how and what her life is like without a mother - especially at a time in life when most girls need one most. This book touched upon her mother's absence, but not in those ways that I figured it would and wanted it to; it was more about the exploration and discovery of her mom as a person, and what led up to her choosing to end her life.

Bonus points time!

I liked that Anna, the MC, is a pretty confident girl. And I especially liked that once she set her sights on a boy she liked, she went for it. It's become a pretty common thing in most YA books for the girl to be uber shy and awkward while still nabbing the attention of the hottest boy in school. Not sure about most high schools, but that wasn't really something that happened in mine. And I liked that that wasn't the case here. Even the boy, Tyler, is well aware of his appeal and that many girls like him. And he even calls Anna out on her advance towards him, which was funny and awkward - but the good kind, for once. It was just very... authentic. What starts off as a scheme for a somewhat off-limits fling (Anna's dad is Tyler's supervisor), leads to mixed signals, the whole does-he-or-doesn't-he-like-me dilemma, and maybe something more between the two. I just wish we would have seen more of their interaction.

Same with her new friends, Ashley and Jillian. I know the story is obviously not meant to revolve around the new girl adjusting to life and school in a new town, but the addition of those aspects would have made it a bit more dimensional.

Basically, the only thing I would've liked in this novel is more--of everything. More story would have given more substance and depth, and made the story as a whole all the more satisfying at its end.

Moonglass was most definitely a strong debut, and I'm excited to read Kirby's other books. Especially since I hear they only get better!

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