Moonglass: A Review

“I read once that water is a symbol for emotions. And for a while now I’ve thought maybe my mother drowned in both.”

Moonglass by Jessi KirbyTen years ago Anna watched her mother walk into the ocean without a second thought about anything–even her own daughter.

Now instead of starting her Junior year at home surrounded by familiar faces and memories, Anna is moving with her father to a new town and a new beach. Except, the beach cottage isn’t as fresh a start as Anna thought.

Sure, Anna does get a fresh start here with the cute lifeguards her father has declared off limits, runs along the beach, and even some new friends. But she is also surrounded by old ghosts and the weight of blame from her mother’s suicide still looms large between Anna and her father.

In a new town, with new people, Anna still hunts for sea glass on the beach–just like she did with her mother. The only differences is this time Anna might find a way to move on mixed in with those colorful pieces of sea-tumbled glass in Moonglass (2011) by Jessi Kirby.

Moonglass is Kirby’s first novel.

Anna is an excellent narrator. She loves the beach, she is athletic and above all she is ultimately real. Parts of the story felt almost too surreal but by the end of the story it all tied together in a way that worked for the characters and the plot. Kirby does an admirable job looking at loss and the often uncomfortable topic of guilt. All of the characters have a certain dignity about them and, by the end, they also have a bit of closure.

At 224 pages (hardcover), Moonglass is quite short compared to some books. The brevity allows Kirby to create a tight story that holds a reader’s attention even in a book that is much more about characters than plot in a lot of ways. Unfortunately it also does not leave time to expand certain areas including an almost abrupt (and definitely wide open) ending and backgrounds for some secondary characters.

Kirby’s writing is reminiscent of the evocative, subtle voice Sarah Dessen and Deb Caletti use to such great effect. Her atmospheric writing brings the beach to life. Moonglass is a great, summery read with a lot of substance besides. Kirby is definitely an author to watch.

Possible Pairings: The Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti, A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley, The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen, Drawing the Ocean by Carolyn MacCullough, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler, The Miles Between by Mary E. Pearson, Absolutely Maybe by Lisa Yee

Exclusive Bonus Content: This is more of a buyer beware. I got a copy of this book for review through Amazon and was enjoying it when, much to my dismay, I reached the halfway point and found half a page torn out. So, you know, don’t forget to make sure all of a the book is actually in the book before you start reading it!