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What the Moon Saw

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  645 Ratings  ·  131 Reviews
Clara Luna's name means "clear moon" in Spanish. But lately, her head has felt anything but clear. One day a letter comes from Mexico, written in Spanish: Dear Clara, We invite you to our house for the summer. We will wait for you on the day of the full moon, in June, at the Oaxaca airport. Love, your grandparents.

Fourteen-year-old Clara has never met her father's parents
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published September 12th 2006 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
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Jun 27, 2012 Barbarac rated it really liked it
I wanted to read another book by Laura Resau but my library didn't have it, and I got this one instead. Good introduction to this author. It's a coming of age story about a girl coming to terms with her Mexican heritage. Reading it I was jealous of her 2 month vacation away from our world, so busy and fast that you never have time to stop and really enjoy it. The descriptions of the landscape and the food in this book were good enough to mentally transport me to the middle of nowhere, Mexico and ...more
Aug 19, 2016 Eileen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: required-reading
This book was actually really good! It was a cute, easy read. I liked the story and kind of wish there was a sequel because I'm curious about what happened after it ended!
High Plains Library District
Oct 21, 2014 High Plains Library District rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jan, children
What the Moon Saw by Laura Resau is the story of a 14 year old American girl named Clara Luna. She is at the age where she is trying to figure out just who she is. Her father, as a teen, came to America from Mexico, but that is all she knows about her father’s childhood. His family remains a mystery. One day Clara receives a letter from her father’s parents, Clara’s grandparents, who still live in the mountains of southern Mexico in a shack outside of the village of Yucuyoo. They invite her to v ...more
Jul 07, 2009 Paradox rated it it was amazing
Rating -

Plot - 29/30
Writing – 19/20
Characters - 18/20
Creativity - 18/20
The *Wow* Factor - 9/10
Grand Total - 94/100

Grade – A

Review -

I read this book over a year ago, so my memories of it aren't as clear as with a book I just read. But I do remember how wonderful it was! When the story began, Clara Luna seemed pretty much like a normal American teenager, and remains so when she meets her grandparents in Mexico. She undergoes a transformation as she learns about her history, culture, and healing ab
Marianne Mitchell
Jul 27, 2012 Marianne Mitchell rated it it was amazing
This is Laura Resau’s debut novel and from the very first, she had me hooked! Clara Luna is a modern teen living a middle class, convenience-filled life in the Bay Area. When she gets an invitation to visit her paternal grandparents whom she’s never met, she’s in for big surprises. Their home in southern Mexico is worlds away from her home in more ways than she imagines. After the initial culture shock of arriving in a small village with no electricity or indoor plumbing, Clara starts to absorb ...more
Faith Bradham
Feb 21, 2009 Faith Bradham rated it really liked it
4 1/2 stars
Ooo, I really liked this one. I find language and culture fascinating, so it's not much of a suprise that I like it. I also liked that I was able to translate the bits of Spanish that were interwoven into the book (they're translated into English for non-Spanish-speakers). I think that this was a very well written book that fully deserved the LoneStar award (a TX award given to a list of books each yr). Some of the LoneStars are not so great, but this one lived up to my expectations.
May 10, 2012 Sue rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult, library
This was a beautiful, lyrical novel of a teen girl from Maryland who discovers her roots in Oaxaca, Mexico. I picked it up because I'd recently met some families from there and thought it would be interesting. The writing is sweet and lovely as it tells Clara's story of visiting her grandparents for the summer, learning their history, and finding herself. She learns about herself as she learns about her grandmother's past and her abilities as a healer. The story is told with love for the area an ...more
Jun 27, 2009 Alexa rated it really liked it
As a new Laura Resau, I found this book pretty good. I liked how I was able to relate to the main character, Clara. Like her, I probably wouldn't have wanted to go to visit my long-lost grandparents over the summer. As the book progressed, I enjoyed the transitions from Clara's time and Helana's time. I really like hearing how strong and cool her grandparents are. This book made me think a lot and I really liked it. It was interesting to hear about another culture and I enjoyed hearing about the ...more
Aug 07, 2008 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: to any one
i can really connect to clara. how she does not know much of her fathers past and family. this book helped me learn more of who i am and where i come from. after i read this book i had a really deep talks with my dad. i started asking him things about his life and family. i learned alot,me and my dad bonded through the talks we had. this book helped me want to know more of my family and my self. this book was one of the most wonderfull books i read in a long time.
Melissa Ramsey
Aug 03, 2010 Melissa Ramsey rated it really liked it
I'm trying to read books based in other cultures. This book was amazing! It is based in the mountains of Mexico and mixes a lot of culture into the writing, without you really noticing. The writing is extremely figurative and filled with metaphors...I thoroughly enjoyed it and I'm thinking of putting it on my 7th graders' reading list because it is really a story of coming to realize how shallow all the possessions in America are.
Patsi Trollinger
Jul 06, 2010 Patsi Trollinger rated it really liked it
I stumbled across this book while searching for something else. Glad I did. I enjoyed the dilemmas of a suburban teenage girl who chooses to spend a summer in the remote Mexican village where her father grew up. There's humor, drama, a touch of romance, and hints of magic in the gift for healing that the girl clearly shares with her grandmother.
Apr 18, 2009 Wendy rated it really liked it
Lovely, charming, accessible magical realism-ish YA.
Yadira Cabrera
Oct 23, 2016 Yadira Cabrera rated it it was amazing
Shelves: multicultural
This is my second multicultural book.

“What the Moon Saw” is about a 14 year-old girl named Clara who discovers her roots after a visit to her grandparents’ town in the mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico. The story goes back and forth between Clara’s grandmother’s stories as she was growing up and becoming a healer and Clara adventures as she discovers her true self. Readers can connect to every single part of the book as it is very descriptive and allows the readers to imaging the places and connect t
Jan 10, 2017 Aurora rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
Its about a girl name Clara Luna, meaning "Clear Moon" in Spanish. In Walnut Hill, she feels like she doesn't belong here. Until one day, her grandparents from Mexico wants Clara to come over for the summer. At first, she was like I'm going to be So Bored! But then she realize that she feels more at home in Yucuyoo than in Walnut Hill. She discovers new talents, fascinating new hobbies, new friends, and a better understanding of what her life means to her and others.

Clara reminds me of myself a
Jessica Jacobson
This book was a great way to get back into the swing of reading for school. I have really enjoyed the passion, and fire of this story. It really taught me to look at everything with a new perspective.

Clara is the daughter of a Latino businessmen, that works hard for what he has earned. She is having a tough time with school because she "lost" her only friend. On night, she wandered out of the house, but it wasn't her , her spirit lead her to go out into the woods. After Clara's parents found o
Vamos a Leer
Aug 12, 2015 Vamos a Leer rated it it was amazing
I first read What the Moon Saw two summers ago and absolutely loved it. It’s such a sweet story. It doesn’t have the harshness or grittiness like some of the books we’ve reviewed for Vamos a Leer. It won’t break your heart the way Aristotle and Dante Discover the Universe does. Yet, it’s a beautifully written and moving read. I couldn’t put it down.

One of my favorite lines comes early on in the book during a conversation between Clara and Abuela: “The most beautiful things in life are unexpecte
Jan 04, 2015 Patricia rated it it was amazing
What a lovely, lovely book! I highly recommend it! It starts out slowly, and the chapters are quite long, but the pace builds and one's love for the characters grows deeper with each passing page.

Fourteen-year-old Clara is an American girl who suddenly has the opportunity to meet her father's parents for the first time and to spend the summer with them in Mexico. Her grandmother is a healer, and Clara learns that she is, too. She reconnects with nature and her family and her past and future, and
Jun 06, 2011 Ruhama rated it really liked it
Shelves: juvenile
Clara has received an invitation to go visit her father's parents in Mexico, and she's a little intrigued, but mostly scared. Her father left many years ago and rarely looked back, and now she's expected to go to a place with no electricity, all they speak is Spanish (hers is rusty) and she won't know anyone? But something Clara hasn't told her parents is that she's been feeling restless, so this two month visit might just be what she needs to 'find herself'. So, Clara accepts the invitation and ...more
Dec 20, 2014 Linda rated it it was amazing
Fourteen-year-old Clara Luna has never met her grandparents. Her father left them in their small village in Mexico to find a better living in the U.S., has never returned, and now those grandparents have sent an invitation for Clara to visit. What happens to her and what she discovers about herself in the months of the visit is the story told beautifully by Laura Resau. The chapters alternate between Clara’s story when she discovers she is a healer, and then her abuelita’s, also a healer. It’s ...more
Sep 11, 2013 LibraryDanielle rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
I read this for some of our middle school Spanish teachers who are looking for a good Spanish culture novel for middle school students. this book fits the bill perfectly.

Clara Luna lives in Maryland with her parents and younger brother. she doesn't know much about her heritage, and is curious. her father comes from Mexico, but doesn't talk about growing up in Mexico or the family he left behind. as we begin Clara is 14 and feeling like she doesn't fit in her skin and is restless. just when thing
Nov 18, 2014 Melinda rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book much more than Red Glass; this one was more well written and thought provoking. I thought the character development, setting, language, and overall story was more relate-able to kids. I really liked that the young girl wasn't whiny and didn't have so many "issues". She was a strong character and one that I think most girls would look up to; more so than the girl in Red Glass. Also, Pedro was a likeable guy and exuded strong characteristics. He was a hard worker who valued his ...more
Mar 25, 2012 Jan rated it really liked it
YA novel about Clara Luna who is daughter of a man who came to the US illegally, married a white American citizen and got his citizenship. Clara, now 14, is sent to spend the summer with her grandparents in the Oaxaca area. Her grandmother is a healer and Clara finds that she is too. Wonderful descriptions of life in a small rural part of Mexico and the honor of ancestors. Told in two voices, Clara and Helena, the grandmother, gives the story the history and the current struggles of American tee ...more
Apr 30, 2015 Sara rated it it was amazing
This was a fantastic book!!! The imagery was superb!! I felt like I was actually there with Clara. Clara is an amazing girl, she's as light as a bird, a heron to be exact. I loved how natural the book was, I really wished I lived there with Clara's Abuelita and Abuelo. Clara's Abuelita was so amazing! I loved everything about how kind and good hearted she is. I wish that I could be a healer and be surrounded by nature all the time. It'd be great to be able to wander around a forest whenever I wa ...more
Oct 03, 2012 Melissa rated it it was amazing
Magically sweet.

I recently re-read this book. I was even more touched by it than I was when I first read it several years ago. Immigration is such a hot topic but we rarely talk about what is left behind by immigrants, and how immigration affect the people and places they leave. This novel touches on that and give you a good tast of it. I know because I've been living in the Mixteco, where this novel is set, for the past 15 years. When Clara talks to her grandfather about her father's departure.
Aug 17, 2015 Abby rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
A suburban girl named Clara finds her talent in a place she'd least expect it; at her grandparent's house in rural Mexico. I liked this book most for its descriptions of Mexican life and scenery. I also thought the author did a good job of describing people and holding the reader's interest. What I didn't like was the focus on native Mexican mythology and religious culture that included combined beliefs in God, saints, spirits and "spirit animals". It also involved old healing traditions and ri ...more
Apr 19, 2008 Smaileh rated it really liked it
It took me a while to get into this book, but once I did I was caught in its spell, much as the main character, Claire, is caught in the spell of her grandparents' remote home in Mexico. Claire has grown up without knowing her Mexican parents, but when she turns 14, she receives a letter inviting her to stay the summer. At first she dismayed by how very different it is from the home she's used to--from the airport there is a long bus ride, and an even longer walk when the bus slides down the mou ...more
Aug 03, 2009 Elizabeth☮ rated it liked it
this is the story of clara luna. her father came to america at a very young age and made a life for himself with a landscaping business. although clara asks her father about his home, he never speaks of his parents or where he came from in mexico. as clara is on the cusp of high school, she feels restless in her maryland town. a letter arrives from mexico addressed to clara. it is her maternal grandmother and she is inviting clara to visit for the entire summer. and so begins a young girl's jour ...more
Susan  Person
Mar 24, 2008 Susan Person rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-fiction
Wow! This one was gorgeous. Lyrical, descripitive writing and a beautiful sense of place and time. The summer of her 14th year, Clara Luna goes to visit the grandparents she has never met. They live in a tiny town in Mexico called Yucuyoo. They don't speak English or have a TV or any of the modern conveniences that Clara takes for granted. What they do have however is a way of filling the gaps in Clara's soul that she never realized were there until she came to this magical place. Clara spends t ...more
Jun 22, 2015 Molly rated it really liked it
I very much enjoyed this book. The writing is beautiful and although I often don't like magic realism, this author pulls it off and delighted me with the way that mostly realistic fiction sometimes slipped into magic I started reading it thinking it might be a good book with a Mexico connection and half white/half hispanic main character for my fourth graders. Indeed, my fourth graders adored it when we read it out loud. However, then I did not finish the book with them because about half way th ...more
Feb 01, 2010 Sandi rated it really liked it
This was a book that my daughter read for school. She said I would like it...guess she knows me pretty well. It was a lovely story of a teenage girl from Maryland who goes to rustic Mexico to visit her grandparents whom she had not previously met. It is a story of a young girl discovering her roots, listening to her soul and becoming aware of her families' interconnectedness. The stories of her grandmother's life are compelling. The author brings the landscape and scenery of the mountain region ...more
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I'm the author of the young adult novels The Queen of Water, Red Glass, What the Moon Saw, The Indigo Notebook, The Ruby Notebook , The Jade Notebook, and the middle-grade novels Star in the Forest, and most recently, The Lightning Queen. I grew up in Maryland, then moved around for ten years (as student, ESL teacher, and anthropologist), making my home in New Orleans; Aix-en-Provence, France; Oax ...more
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