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The Girl Who Drank the Moon

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  54,304 ratings  ·  9,283 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
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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

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Average rating 4.10  · 
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 ·  54,304 ratings  ·  9,283 reviews

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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
Cristina Monica
4 1/2 stars.

This is the story of a little baby girl sent to die but who is adopted by a good witch instead. Without meaning to, the Witch pours magic into Luna but, instead of letting her draw from her magic, she bounds it until Luna’s thirteenth birthday.

Incidentally, that is the day the Witch decides to let herself die. But that day is coming and coming, closer and closer, and the Witch starts to regret her decision.

There obviously is more happening in the story than only that. In fact, we hav
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:

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I'll just divide this review into pros and cons to make it easier for
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
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
La La
This book was way too long for Middle Grade, there was too much boring political content, and it was having a huge identity crisis. Some parts read like a great Children's chapterbook, a lot of it was based on an older character and read like okay YA, and then there were two adults in the story who had their adult thinking added in too often. For such a long book there was very little MG age interesting content.

Many of the scenes were too long and a lot of them were basically the same scene in a
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
Update: changing my rating from 5 stars to 4.5 stars
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, 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 has a lot of
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

“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
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.
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
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.


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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!
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
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.
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.
Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars
“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. 🌕✨
Oh my goodness what a stubby story. I really loved this book. The cast of characters... ugh, swoon. Xan was so lovely. Fyurein was so loveable (and my fave). Luna was complex and stubborn and relatable. Glurk was so wise. Athene was beautiful and kind. Antane was brave and honest.

The themes in this book really blew me away the most. As a children’s novel, to dig into issues like death, mixed families, sorrow, hope, and love.. that’s a big feat and they were all woven together delicately through
Shaun Hutchinson
Captivating and wonderful.
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
Apr 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazingly beautiful. I laughed, I cried (a lot), I loved. This book brings so much happiness to my soul.
Sarah DiMento
4.5 stars

To be honest, the blurb for this book was TL;DR but I picked it up based on the title and cover alone. That's almost a sure way to be disappointed, I know, but in this case it worked out!

So, what do you get when you take:

-a kind and clever witch
-a poetry reciting swamp monster
-an adorably naive Perfectly Tiny Dragon who believes he's actually a Simply Enormous Dragon
-a girl whose magic cannot be contained

Mix in a volcano, a town swamped with sorrow, add heaping spoonfuls of starlight, m
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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

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