2017 Newbery Winner review: The Girl Who Drank The Moon

The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill

I hadn't heard much about this book until it won the Newbery award. (This just goes to show that I'm reading fewer middle grade novels and reading about fewer middle grade novels than I once was). I put it on hold as soon as I read the announcement of the award, and happily I found a copy on the library shelf before my hold even came in.

The basic premise of the story is this: Every year the citizens of our sad village leave a baby in the forest as a sacrifice to the witch. Every year the confused witch who lives in the forest helps the baby find a happy home in another village, and on the journey she feeds the baby starlight. But this year the witch forgets herself and doesn't check the sky properly, and ends up gathering moonlight for the baby as well. So our little Luna drinks the moonlight and becomes enmagicked.

The bog in the book is very nearly a character of its own. We live near one of Connecticut's few bogs,
and I had to snap this photo of it, frozen, in honor of the book.
I found myself wondering what was going to happen once Luna's magic manifested. I found myself wondering how Antain (from the village) was going to prove himself a hero. I found myself falling in love with several of the characters and surprised with how fleshed out the story and the characters became. There was a time (around page 80) when I was frustrated with the book and nearly quit it. I felt like I could predict what was going to happen, and I was disappointed in the witch Xan, who was pretty much our main character to that point. I'm really glad I kept going though. I feel like the book really busted out and became wonderful shortly after that. We started getting more perspectives and deepening other characters and that is what I loved about this one.

I heartily recommend The Girl Who Drank the Moon. And I heard it was good on audio, too, which I'm inclined to believe. I think it would make a very nice read-aloud.

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