Review: Moonglass – Jessi Kirby

MoonglassSynopsis from Goodreads
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.

Recently, I’ve been struggling to focus on any books. It seemed that every time I sat down to read a book, my mind wanders and I just can’t finish them.

I’m not saying Moonglass saved my YA-reading soul but… well, I finished it, so it has to mean something.

This book is a quiet book and while it’s not going to change the way that YA is written and win millions of prizes, it’s exactly what I needed.

When I read Rey’s brilliant review of this book I was intrigued but also a little sceptical. This book deals with one of my most sensitive subjects when it comes to YA books. I’m not actually going to talk about what it is because even though I knew what issue this book dealt with was, I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s because I read a spoiler somewhere. Which didn’t ruin the book for me at all but I think it’s one of those things that if you have a slight hint on where the story goes, there’s no way of un-knowing it.

ANYWAY, nine times out of ten this subject is dealt with in a ridiculous manner and I hate it. Luckily, this book falls into the one time out of ten. And, I have to say, it was such a pleasant surprise.

Anna was such a great character and a lot different to what I was expecting. A surfer girl who’s into running and brushes her hair with her fingers, moves to California where all the girls are blonde and drive BMWs. We’ve heard this story before, haven’t we?

I was fully prepared to detest Anna because, from the first impression, she seemed the kind of girl who would only have boy friends, judge girls if they wore lip gloss or took an interest in how they look and considered them to be vapid if you’d rather do dance classes that long distance running. So I was so happy when Anna and Ashley became friends and even though she did have a few eye-rolls, Anna didn’t write her off straight away. Which was nice.

And also, I really loved the relationship between Anna and Tyler, a local lifeguard who catches her eye while she’s sunning herself on the beach. That’s right- he catches her eye and she pursues him. So often in books like this it’s the guy who is all like “omfg I have to be with you because you’re so beautiful!” so it was nice to see Anna have a bit of a perve on a cute lifeguard. Because that’s what you do when you’re sixteen and you’re on holiday.

Normally the heroine is too busy being mysterious to notice a cute guy in board shorts and it’s up to him to lean on something (preferably a beach house or… um… whatever… you can tell how often I flirt with lifeguards, right?) and waggle his eyebrows in her direction. Their whole relationship was fresh and innocent and wasn’t bogged down in random angst. And also, he never ‘saved’ her (emotionally or physically) which is so important to me because, well, when your life turns to crap… there’s not always a lovely, ever-so-sexy man to pick up the pieces for you, is there?

Another thing I liked was the setting. Considering the majority of the contemporary stories I read are set in Australia or the UK, it was nice to read a book that was set in America and not in a high school. The ramshackled cottages, the sand dunes and the bonfires on the beach (with champagne in a plastic cup, obviously) was the perfect accompaniment to Anna’s story. It was all long, endless summer days and dreamy evenings and it felt like I was actually there, digging my feet in the damp sand.

Anna’s relationship with her dad was brilliantly portrayed too. You know all about how much I love parents in YA books and Ms Kirby definitely got how important it is to explore these relationships, all the ugly flaws included. I loved the conversations between them and the things that were left unsaid and how, as the book came to an end, not everything was sorted and resolved.

All in all, I was pleasantly surprised by this book and it was a nice change to… well… not reading. Definitely recommended.

5 thoughts on “Review: Moonglass – Jessi Kirby

  1. I have not been dazzled by Jessi Kirby’s two more recent books (there were elements I loved, and elements that fell flat for me), but I really was charmed by this novel. It’s funny because Moonglass is so short, but there are so many layers to it, with the family stuff, and the friendships and the sweet romance… Basically, I completely agree with you on this one.

    • I know what you mean. I think the length was one of the reasons why I picked it up but I was so surprised how deep it actually was, without being too much.

      I don’t really fancy any of her other books to be honest. The synopses seem like every other YA contemp out at the moment. Roadtrips, dead siblings, dreamy girls with finger-combed hair in plaid.


  2. I need something to save my YA-reading soul! I’m not blonde and I don’t drive a BMW but you should come visit anyway. I will show you how to properly perv on a lifeguard.

    I’ve yet to read this one because it sounded so much like Twenty Boy Summer. Luckily I haven’t spoiled myself so maybe I’ll move this up my queue. Lovely review, Jo.

  3. Hurrah! I’m glad this one helped :) I read Kirby’s new book, Golden, and eh, it wasn’t for me. But I thought this was quite sweet and lovely.

  4. it’s such a good feeling when a book surprises you and reignites your love of reading! I bought this while in the USA because I have heard it’s better than in Honor and now I am so intrigued about the mysterious issue!

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