Author: Jessi Kirby
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: April 24, 2012 (first published May 3, 2011)
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
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 first heard about this book a few years ago, and my initial reaction was, Moonglass? Huh? And then, Well, whatever it means, it's really pretty. Anyway, the author made it up. Moonglass. Or, rather, the characters in the book made it up. And it was an interesting idea.
Anna wasn't happy with the situation she was being thrown into. The book began with the typical in-a-car-on-the-way-to-a-new-town plot line. A bit cliché, but not terrible. Besides, Anna knew that if she could just get onto the beach and away from her many problems, it would be easier to forget. She would be okay.
And she was. Anna made a friend who seemed unlikely and found success after joining the track team. She met a cute lifeguard who seemed willing to listen to her and helped her uncover the secret behind her mother’s death.
Amidst all of this good, though, there was serious conflict. Anna’s relationship with her father was extremely rocky, and they seemed okay for a while but then had a big fight and were cold to each other. And Anna wasn’t exactly the kindest person in the world. She was not afraid to say what she felt, and this led to her hurting some of the people she loved. Still, another side to this trait was her witty comebacks and sassiness (is that a word?). Anna was hilarious.
I loved the mythology and old tales involving mermaids Jessi Kirby threaded into the story. In some contemporaries this would seem unnatural and would be pretty hard to pull off without sounding awkward. But it actually added to the story in a really cool way, and helped foreshadow what really happened to Anna's mother.
My only real complaint, other than the fact that it was a bit cliché, was that the ending wasn't quite as satisfying as I'd hoped. The story didn't quite feel over.
Overall, this was a surprisingly real and gritty read with a funny, complex protagonist. If you're in the mood for a contemporary beach read without too much fluff, Moonglass is the book for you.