Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Girl Who Drank the Moon” as Want to Read:
The Girl Who Drank the Moon
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Girl Who Drank the Moon

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  81,968 ratings  ·  13,513 reviews
Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the forest, Xan, is kind and gentle. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster named Glerk and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, Fyrian. Xan rescues the abandoned children and deliver th ...more
Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Published August 9th 2016 by Algonquin Young Readers
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Girl Who Drank the Moon, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Kelly I wrote this with a fifth grade reader in mind - but the cool thing about Middle Grade Fiction in general is that it allows for "Big Tent Storytelling…moreI wrote this with a fifth grade reader in mind - but the cool thing about Middle Grade Fiction in general is that it allows for "Big Tent Storytelling". In other words, everyone is invited: little kids, big kids, teenagers, adults, old people. Everyone. The story manifests differently for different people - just like my experience reading THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE as an adult is different than the experience I had as a teenager, which is different than the experience I had as a child. Same book, different stories. There are some scary bits in this story, but no scarier than any other fairy tale. If they can handle the prose (and I don't pull any punches with the difficulty; I always expect my readers to come with their A game), then they can handle the content. I hope that helps!(less)
Mary Lanham The book doesn't include real-world ethnicities or races, but several of the main characters are described as having darker skin and curling black hai…moreThe book doesn't include real-world ethnicities or races, but several of the main characters are described as having darker skin and curling black hair. The setting has a classic fairy tale feel without being overtly European, so it's the sort of book kids from many different backgrounds will be able to identify with. Hope this is helpful!(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  81,968 ratings  ·  13,513 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Girl Who Drank the Moon
Jul 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Really enjoyed!
Hannah Greendale
Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.

The people of the Protectorate leave a baby deep in the forest each year, a sacrificial offering made to a witch to deter her from terrorizing the village. When the witch, Xan, finds the babies, she feeds them starlight, but one year she accidentally pulls light from the moon and enmagicks a baby girl. Xan knows that the baby imbued with moonlight will have extraordinary abilities, so she decides to rais
Meghna Agrawal (On a Review-Writing Break!)
I avidly read fairy-tales because they are replete with folkloric characters (fairies, goblins, witches, giants, and many more), enchantments ineffable, and mysteries inconceivable! They infallibly cure hearts that have stopped believing in the power of goodness and miracles. Additionally, they attach morals to the plot, if not explicitly but subtly!

Post finishing these magical books, the hearts overflow, with ideas of magic, ambitions of achieving the impos
Stunning language and memorable characters. Worthy of a spot alongside Susan Cooper, Ursula LeGuin, and Lloyd Alexander. The sort of book that makes you believe in magic (and love).
Jul 28, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Look at that beaut' of a cover guys! How could anyone walk past this in a bookstore and NOT want to read it?! And then the blurb: witches, tiny dragons, swamp monsters, lunar magic...this book had all the ingredients for me to drop everything and just read! Which is why it turned out to be even more disappointing than it would've been without the great expectations...

Blurb (8)

Oh, where to start?! The first 10% was fabulous. After that:

giphy (3).gif

I'll just divide this review into pros and cons to make it easier for
Knowledge is power, but it is a terrible power when it is hoarded and hidden.

With children’s literature, there is a wonderful opportunity not only to entertain but to educate, and to pass on lessons that a young reader may carry in their heart their entire life. The best tend to be the ones where the reading is so enjoyable it isn’t until later in life you realize how impactful the lessons were. The Girl Who Drank the Moon’, the Newbery Medal novel from Kelly Barnhill, is undeniably one of the
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Winner of the 2017 Newbery Medal
An Entertainment Weekly Best Middle Grade Book of 2016
A New York Public Library Best Book of 2016
A Chicago Public Library Best Book of 2016
An Amazon Top 20 Best Book of 2016
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2016
A School Library Journal Best Book of 2016
Named to KirkusReviews’ Best Books of 2016
2017 Booklist Youth Editors’ Choice

So, this book has won a lot of awards and it is easy to see why. This is a great book for middle school readers who enjoy some fantasy and
R.K. Gold
Update: 3-3.5 stars I really didn’t feel comfortable giving this book 4 stars. I have a lot of friends who LOVED this book and I really wanted to love it too but just couldn’t. I didn’t dislike this book, there was some beautiful writing in it, but I can’t bring myself to rate it any higher.
some minor spoilers ahead It started slow for me and I was terrified I was going to not enjoy this book. A lot of my friends recommended it, and all wrote glowing reviews. It sounded right up my alley. I
This is a new favorite book of mine. I love this book. I love Luna and her dragon. I love the witch who feed her moonlight. The story feels so big and it seems there is more to it and behind it. I love the tone of the book and the feeling of magic conveyed to the reader. There are some really horrible things that happen in the village and Sister Igraine is quite a character. I love the resolution of the book and how things conclude. It is so satisfying. I don't want to give anything away, simply ...more
J.L.   Sutton
Jan 19, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“How many feelings can one heart hold?... Infinite, Luna thought. The way the universe is infinite. It is light and dark and endless motion; it is space and time, and space within space, and time within time. And she knew: there is no limit to what the heart can carry.”

THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON – Reading Group Choices

Kelly Barnhill's The Girl Who Drank the Moon is a compelling story about love, healing friendship and magic. It is geared toward middle school readers, but I enjoyed it. It has a fairy tale quality that was never going to be as da
La La
FYI: Middle Grade (MG) and "middle school" are two different things...

Middle Grade = ages 7/8 - 11/12 (elementary school)
Middle school = ages 12-14 (YA readership)

Stop leaving nasty rude comments because you think I'm talking about middle school ages, when I'm talking about elementary school readers. Good grief! I'm not even going to reply with an explanation anymore; I'm just going to delete those uninformed comments.

UPDATE: I have recently been reminded of my loathing of White authors writing
4.5 stars

A beautiful, surprisingly complex story. Perhaps it is a little longer with somewhat darker themes than many middle grade books, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. This reminded me in some ways of A Wrinkle in Time -- the author didn't pull any punches when it came to more sensitive subjects like grief and death.

Although this book deals with some pretty heavy topics, there is also humour sprinkled throughout that lightens the tone. I listened to the audible edition, and Christina
Feb 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The beauty of this book begins with its magical title: The Girl Who Drank the Moon.
Luna is enmagicked as a baby by being fed the silvery honeyed moon beams. I was both jealous of that experience and yet felt kinship with it - how often have I felt graced by the gentle silvery radiance of moonlight! Of course, this being a fantasy novel,Luna's magic was more tangible!
The Girl Who Drank the Moon is a fabulous work of fantasy pulling strongly on the art of storytelling and richly imbued with inte
Fwew. Finally! It felt like it took me forever to finally get through this. I would rate this somewhere between 3 and 3.5 stars. It's not a bad book, but for a Newbery winner, I was expecting more.

What Worked:

The writing is very pretty. Descriptive, poetic, lyrical...it has all the makings of an old-fashioned fairy tale story.

It has some intriguing characters- a swamp monster who's been around since the beginning of the world, a sorrow eater, a childlike dragon, a magical girl...it has a lot of
Dona Loves Books
I read THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON by Kelly Barnhill because I want to give a copy to my ten-year-old neice for her birthday. The book is beautiful and poetic, the language is rich, and the characters finely drawn. Even the smallest speaking characters feel real by the end of the book. The paper birds are one of my favorite literary elements ever. I desperately love Flurian, the prolonged-baby dragon. I listened to an audiobook of this book from Recorded Books. The narrator, Christina Moore, per ...more
Update: changing my rating from 5 stars to 4.5 stars
i fall in love book blog
I've been done with this book for a couple of weeks, and wasn't sure how to write this review. I thought about just throwing a 3 or 4 star rating down and being done with it, but I feel like I owe it to my friends that have similar tastes to be honest.
I wanted to love this book.
The cover was gorgeous.
The writing was gorgeous.
The ending came together perfectly.
I didn't love this book.
I kept pushing through it, hoping that I would have an "AH-HA" moment and fall head over heels in love with it.
Book Riot Community
I’m not surprised this won the Newbery, because it is absolutely stunning. Told in a wonderfully mystical narrative, this book is sure to join the ranks of enduring middle grade classics. The story centers around a long held tradition in the Protectorate, that every year the youngest child must be sacrificed to appease the witch in the forest. But right away the reader finds out the the witch, named Xan, is actually kind and makes the yearly trek to the Protectorate to save the babies from dying ...more
Nov 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“A story can tell the truth...but a story can also lie. Stories can bend and twist and obfuscate. Controlling stories is power indeed.”

The Girl Who Drank the Moon is a lovely little book that I would recommend to everyone from ages 10 to 100.

It was surprisingly sophisticated and complex with its poetic writing, sprinkles of magical realism and darkness. The magic within this book felt like it was simply seeping out through the pages. It had the tone of a classic fairy tale- complete with dark

“Knowledge is power, but it is a terrible power when it is hoarded and hidden.”
― Kelly Barnhill, The Girl Who Drank the Moon


This is a hard one for me to rate. I kept going back and forth between 3 or 4, and finally settled upon 3. There are things I loved about this book and other elements that I did not care for. This a book I really wanted to love and had high expectations for. Perhaps I've grown too old for YA novels.

An elderly witch, an enmagicked girl, a brave young father, a wise, po
Iryna *Book and Sword*
This has been on my TBR for awhile, and I have finally checked out a copy from the library.
For some reason I have a feeling that I will love it.
Just have to finish some other books first.

“Not all knowledge comes from the mind. Your body, your heart, your intuition. Sometimes memories even have minds of their own.”

For a book geared towards middle grade readers The girl who drank the moon is exceptionally wise. There were so many hidden truths in its m
Katie Ziegler (Life Between Words)
This book was a whimsical treasure of a book. It's one of those middle grade books that works on two levels, like a Pixar movie. Middle graders will love the story just for the story (even if some of the deeper themes woven in go over their head; not discounting children readers, though, we don't give them enough credit), but adults will also find a lot of deeper meaning to the book.

This is a story for EVERYONE to enjoy.

Beautiful writing, quirky, lovable characters (like a big-hearted and wise
Peter Damien
Apr 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just finished, and it was so amazing. Gorgeous, lyrical writing, a warm and clever story, a fairy tale quality. Reminded me of STARDUST by Neil Gaiman, more than anything else. Really recommended.
Stunningly beautiful writing mixed with a perfectly plotted story filled with adventure, humor, and love. Each of Kelly's middle grade books gets exponentially better (which is astonishing, because they are all amazing), and this one will be a new classic for certain sure. ...more
In the Protectorate, a baby is sacrificed each year to the witch who lives in the forest to keep the peace. Or so the citizens believe. The witch is not wicked. She saves the babies and feeds them starlight, which causes them to have successful lives, and delivers them to a new, loving family in the Free Cities. The witch, Xan, lives with a monster named Glerk and a tiny dragon named Fyrian. When Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight, the baby is enmagicked, and Xan raises the child as her own ...more
“Just because you don't see something doesn't mean it isn't there. Some of the most wonderful things in the world are invisible. Trusting in invisible things makes them more powerful and wondrous.”

The Girl Who Drank the Moon is enchanting, endearing, and filled with important life lessons. An extraordinary work of love and imagination. 🌕✨
Rachel Reads Ravenously


Sometimes you click with a book, sometimes you don't. I was curious about this book because of the Newbery Award but I've been pushing myself for days to keep reading this and I am just not interested anymore.


Follow me on ♥ FacebookBlogInstagramTwitter
Spencer Orey
Sep 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mg-fantasy
I heard great things about this book and had high expectations. And the cover is gorgeous. Overall, I thought it was alright. It was kind of overly tense without a totally cohesive world.

Also, the writing has great vocabulary. I live in Denmark, and I checked this out of the library. Some kid had underlined in pencil all the words they didn't understand. There were a lot of words! Good job, kid.

The moon magic was cool!
Jasmine from How Useful It Is
This book was an amazing read! A great story on magic and witches as well as friendship and family. A beautiful story for mother and daughter, but of course anyone can read it and I do recommend it. The chapter titles were eye catching and interesting. I liked how the author created each character. They were unique and individual with their own sets of skills and talents. The ending was great and it got me a bit teary eyed. Would have been awesome if there was a cure for Antain's face because he ...more
Shaun Hutchinson
Captivating and wonderful.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Trials of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor, #1)
  • Serafina and the Black Cloak (Serafina, #1)
  • Hello, Universe
  • Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
  • When You Trap a Tiger
  • The War That Saved My Life (The War That Saved My Life, #1)
  • The One and Only Ivan
  • Amari and the Night Brothers (Supernatural Investigations, #1)
  • Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor, #2)
  • A Tale of Magic... (A Tale of Magic, #1)
  • Harley Merlin and the Secret Coven (Harley Merlin, #1)
  • A Pinch of Magic (A Pinch of Magic, #1)
  • Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures
  • The Graveyard Book
  • The House with Chicken Legs
  • Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor, #3)
  • Qualify (The Atlantis Grail, #1)
  • Inside Out & Back Again
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Kelly Barnhill is an author and teacher. She won the World Fantasy Award for her novella The Unlicensed Magician, a Parents Choice Gold Award for Iron Hearted Violet, the Charlotte Huck Honor for The Girl Who Drank the Moon, and has been a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award, the Andre Norton award, and the PEN/USA literary prize. She was also a McKnight Artist's Fellowship recipient in Children ...more

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
39 likes · 2 comments
“Knowledge is power, but it is a terrible power when it is hoarded and hidden.” 125 likes
“How many feelings can one heart hold?... Infinite, Luna thought. The way the universe is infinite. It is light and dark and endless motion; it is space and time, and space within space, and time within time. And she knew: there is no limit to what the heart can carry.” 115 likes
More quotes…