Great Middle Grade Reads discussion

The Girl Who Drank the Moon
This topic is about The Girl Who Drank the Moon
80 views
ARCHIVE - BOTM discussions > BOTM for JANUARY is The Girl Who Drank The Moon

Comments Showing 1-47 of 47 (47 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

Jemima Pett | 1357 comments Mod
Happy new year!

The first BOTM of 2018 is The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill. I hope you'll find it easy to get a copy to read and then post your comments below.

When you tell us what you think, consider putting any plot spoilers within the html tag for spoilers. (pointy bracket)spoiler(pointy bracket) your text (pointy bracket)/spoiler(pointy bracket)
A pointy bracket is this sign '<' or pointing the other way at the end of the word spoiler.

Flagging spoilers is particularly helpful if you are one of the early commenters. Thank you!


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Happy New Year!
I read The Girl Who Drank the Moon late in 2017 and loved it. As a fantasy writer, I appreciated that the protagonist was a female and that there weren't any huge, bloody battles. Kelly Barnhill has created an intriguing new world that I hope will inspire other fantasy writers to try out new ideas (big, soggy monsters that aren't bad guys for example) to add to the collection of great fantasies for children.
BTW, I'm new in this group. I'll be promoting my book in the Authors section. Thank you MG writers for all of the Great Reads!


Leviathan Libraries (leviathanlibraries) I have this as an audio book, and didn't finish it (I am easily distracted), so I will happily join in!!


message 4: by Rebecca (new) - added it

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1662 comments Mod
Patricia, I also read it sometime in the last few months, and loved it. I think you put your finger on what was so good--tension and excitement without big bloody battles, and a different take on monsters and magic.

I reviewed it on my blog, if anyone wants to look at my longer opinion. I think it's a book that could do equally well in the kids or the adult section of the library.
http://www.ninjalibrarian.com/2017/06...


Harley Bennett | 84 comments I read it last March. But, it's good enough to read again.


Carmel | 72 comments I think I must be the only read who doesn’t rave about this book. It was beautifully written but a bit too slow for me.


message 7: by Rebecca (new) - added it

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1662 comments Mod
Carmel wrote: "I think I must be the only read who doesn’t rave about this book. It was beautifully written but a bit too slow for me."

Honestly, it was the slowness that was part of what I loved. It wasn't dull, it just didn't have the frantic pace of so much of what's being written these days.


Melody Bremen (melodyjbremen) | 66 comments Carmel wrote: "I think I must be the only read who doesn’t rave about this book. It was beautifully written but a bit too slow for me."
I agree with this. The writing is beautiful but the pacing was just a tad too slow for me. I don't think this in any way makes it a bad book, I just don't think I was the perfect audience for it.


message 9: by Marianna (new)

Marianna Heusler (goodreadscommheusler) | 15 comments I agree, Patricia. I’m reading The Girl Who Drank the Moon now. Such beautiful writing and I love the plot.


Justine Laismith (justinelaismith) | 304 comments I haven't finished it yet, only up to chapter 10, , but I am enjoying it so far. A slow relaxing read. Obviously I don't know where the story is going yet, but I can't help connecting it with the Wildlings and the Whitewalkers. Do you think this could be inspired by GoT for MG readers? I am also very tickled by the name of Antain's crush, Ethyne -- because ethyne is the chemical name of an organic gas :D


Harley Bennett | 84 comments I thought this book was fabulous when I read it in March. I enjoyed it even more reading it for the second time. Although I did not remember all of the details, I knew how everything was going to come together in the end. However, I looked to the ending with greater anticipation than I did the first time through. This is great entertainment.


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Rebecca wrote: "Patricia, I also read it sometime in the last few months, and loved it. I think you put your finger on what was so good--tension and excitement without big bloody battles, and a different take on m..."

I love that the protagonist was a female and that the big monster was a good guy. Glad you saw it that way, too, fellow sci-fi/fantasy lover!


message 13: by Rebecca (new) - added it

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1662 comments Mod
Patricia wrote: "I love that the protagonist was a female and that the big monster was a good guy."
Yes. I am very happy that there are more female protags in fantasy now, and any time we can upend expectations I think it's good.


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

I tried to accomplish both of those goals in my first book, which has just recently launched on Amazon. The Girl Who Drank the Moon gives me a lot to aspire to as a writer!


Justine Laismith (justinelaismith) | 304 comments Just finished the book. Loved it. I did get bored in the 2nd quarter of the book, but overall I would recommend it. It's original. Overall, there is a sense of wondrous magic and a contentment in the family of witch, monster, dragon and girl.


Terra Bee (terrabee) | 6 comments I'm starting this book for the second time since it got snatched by my daughter the first time. She couldn't put the book down and raved about it afterwards, giving me sly glances whenever I asked a question about what I read so far. I'm excited to see what my daughter loved about it. It starts off with this feeling of dread, yet at the same time I feel like I can't trust the feeling. I don't know. It makes me very curious to keep going.


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

Oh, keep going! You won't be disappointed.


Ginger | 7 comments I devoured the book when it was first awarded the Newbery. I picked it up in ebook because I couldn't find it in any stores, but only a few chapters in, I realized I had to have it, and sought out a print copy. It feels like a Miyazaki movie. To me, the slow pacing is more about solid set-up. It's not plot-driven, it's character driven, and wow, what a lot of rich, fascinating characters. From the adorable dragon to the perplexing bad guys, there's so much going on. A few months after I read the book, I had an opportunity to hear Kelly speak, and she's fascinating. She studied theology in college, and it shows in her detailed world building. For every side story and plot point in this book, there's hundreds of pages of material she wrote just for herself so she would know the world inside out.


message 19: by Rebecca (new) - added it

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1662 comments Mod
Lucky you, Ginger! I'd love to hear her speak.


message 20: by Jenny (new) - added it

Jenny | 13 comments I listened to this on audio and while the narrator did awesome voices (especially Fyrian! So cute), the repetition of certain phrases was tedious. It probably wouldn't have been so tedious if I was physically reading it as my eyes tend to skip the repeated sentences. It was a very deep book and I will definitely take that into consideration if I read any more by her.


Ginger | 7 comments Rebecca wrote: "Lucky you, Ginger! I'd love to hear her speak."
Thanks to modern day accessibility, your wish could come true. Here's a link to her acceptance speech.
https://youtu.be/qR3ZGIucrQw


message 22: by Rebecca (new) - added it

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1662 comments Mod
Thanks!


Ginger | 7 comments You're welcome!


Elizabeth (standingonmyhead) | 3 comments The beginning and end were great and pacey, and the world-building was pretty good, if a little derivative. But I agree with Carmel in msg #6. The book was slow for me-- especially the boggy middle. However, I was left with a warm feeling overall when I finished it. All the independent female stuff is right on trend, too.
I would give it a 3.5 or 4 stars out of 5.


Paula S (paula_s) I just finished it and I loved it! It's just as I want a proper modern fairy tale to be told.


Ginger | 7 comments Curious, those who say it's slow. Would you say it's slower than the Lord of the Rings books, about the same or a little less slow? I loved LOTR, but I was sure ready for it to be over long before it was.


Harley Bennett | 84 comments Ginger wrote: "Curious, those who say it's slow. Would you say it's slower than the Lord of the Rings books, about the same or a little less slow? I loved LOTR, but I was sure ready for it to be over long before ..."

Compared to LOTR this moves incredibly fast. Loved it.


message 28: by Rebecca (new) - added it

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1662 comments Mod
Funny, I never thought of LOTR as slow-moving, but on reflection, you could say so. There are certainly moments, especially when entire poems are sung or recited! Still: I doubt I will ever love a book as much as I love those.


Carmel | 72 comments Lord of the Rings us one of my all time favourites- I wouldn’t want to compare it to this one.


message 30: by Rebecca (new) - added it

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1662 comments Mod
Carmel wrote: "Lord of the Rings us one of my all time favourites- I wouldn’t want to compare it to this one."

Yes. Very different sort of book.


Ginger | 7 comments Agreed, they are very different. That's just the last book series I felt seemed slow, but I stuck with it and made it through. I'm sure if I read LOTR now, I would be just fine. And I did love it. There were just plenty of parts I thought were painfully agonizing. Grown-up me gets that this was part of the point, but to 14-year-old me, it was slow.


message 32: by Rebecca (new) - added it

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1662 comments Mod
Ginger wrote: "There were just plenty of parts I thought were painfully agonizing. Grown-up me gets that this was part of the point, but to 14-year-old me, it was slow. "

I'm contemplating this in relation to me reading LOTR when I was in 5th grade (ca. age 10)! But I was an odd child.


SaraKat | 161 comments Mod
I thought the pacing was great and the story was fantastic. I, too, enjoyed that the protagonist was a girl and that the witch and the swamp monster and dragon were good guys! I liked the chapters being such small, palatable bites and there wasn't too much gore and violence. I wasn't drawn to this book before this group picked it, so I'm glad I am here and was exposed to it!


Ginger | 7 comments Rebecca wrote: "Ginger wrote: "There were just plenty of parts I thought were painfully agonizing. Grown-up me gets that this was part of the point, but to 14-year-old me, it was slow. "

I'm contemplating this in..."


I suspect 10 is a better age to read it than 14. At 14 I had read too many of the books that were inspired by LOTR, so it felt rehashed to me when it was the original. Unfair, but try telling a kid that.

As for The Girl Who Drank the Moon, none of it felt overdone or unoriginal. I was simply bowled over by the rich world building.


Terra Bee (terrabee) | 6 comments I'm a quarter of the way through The Girl Who Drank The Moon and I'm seeing what all of you have posted so far about the slow pacing. But, I argue that it's not the pacing that is slow...it's direction. I have no clue where this book is leading me. Usually, there is a main character (In this case, both Xan and Antain are the MCs) that leads the reader from point A to point B with some sort of goal in mind. Xan is simply trying to keep the magic within Luna contained which isn't forwarding the story much and Antain, whenever he gets a say, seems only to be there in order to show the world of the Protectorate. He also doesn't have a clear goal or desire. He just muses.

Don't get me wrong, I'm enthralled by the poetic writing, the world Barnhill has built, and the characters themselves, and I intend to keep reading, but so far, I'm not overly impressed with the story and I'm not feeling anything strong.


Ginger | 7 comments You have a good point, Terra. By spinning multiple storylines the author does seem to go off in a lot of different directions. That makes it that much more satisfying when she ties it all together in the end.


message 37: by Rebecca (new) - added it

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1662 comments Mod
Ginger wrote: "You have a good point, Terra. By spinning multiple storylines the author does seem to go off in a lot of different directions. That makes it that much more satisfying when she ties it all together ..."

Yeah, this. I do recall wondering at times, but things just kind of kept building...


Justine Laismith (justinelaismith) | 304 comments Yes, this wouldn't be the first book written in this approach, where I asked myself, where is this all going? I confess sometimes I get impatient and I will skim it, finish the book, see the relevance of the earlier chapters and then go back and read it again properly.


message 39: by Maria (new) - added it

Maria Dateno | 43 comments I agree with you, Terra. And I think another thing that is making the book feel slow to me (I'm a little more than halfway through) is how long it's taking to get to know the title character. I was expecting her to be the main character, so I kept waiting to get to know her, but her growing up and developing self-awareness is taking most of the book.


message 40: by Jemima (last edited Jan 22, 2018 02:21PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jemima Pett | 1357 comments Mod
Just finished this - and I know what you mean about the slow start. But I found it intriguing, even so, with the little stories interspersed with the more 'action' parts.

I did my classic 4 steps - 10%, 20%, 55%, finished! That may be partly due to time availability, but it's more to do with wanting to get back to it once I'd been thoroughly hooked. I even found myself deciding to have a cup of tea and read it in bed because I'd woken up really early because of the storms, and couldn't stop thinking about the book!

I loved the misdirection early in the book, and by the time I realised, I was sorely tempted to go back and read those parts again. I thought the world was beautifully crafted, and richly described without my noticing any actual description. I can see that place, I wonder if I could draw it? So many wonderful ideas for magical artefacts and entities. I loved it. I did dither over 4 or 5 stars, but ended up deciding on 5.

Thank you all for voting for it! (I don't vote unless a casting vote is needed)


message 41: by Elizabeth (last edited Jan 24, 2018 03:07AM) (new)

Elizabeth White | 25 comments Finished last night but probably because of the pace I didn't find myself compelled to read it all at once - having said that, I really wanted to know how it would all end up. So I think this is an ideal chapter-by-chapter bedtime read - capable of sustaining interest but not addictive enough to carry on reading under the sheets with a torch!


message 42: by D.A. (new) - rated it 3 stars

D.A. McGrath | 9 comments I agree with some of the recent comments. I thought that the premise and the descriptive way the world was set up was very promising but then about half way through some of the storylines seemed to lose direction - they all ended up being relevant to differing degrees but I feel the story would not have lost anything by tightening some of the middle scenes up.

Having said that, I did like the storyline and the characters - they stuck in my mind after I had finished the book, which I always think is a sign of good story!


message 43: by Cindy (new) - added it

Cindy Wise | 32 comments I liked it. I'm into fantasy so its right up my alley. I liked the spin of the good guys vs bad guys. Someone mentioned that before. And I liked the character personalities. It was hard to get behind just one character, they all had personalities I mostly enjoyed. I don't really have anything bad to say about it. I'm happy I got to it during the actual month of January. I've been struggling with that lately. I've been reading so many different things that its been hard to focus on this goal the past couple months.


Terra Bee (terrabee) | 6 comments I just finished The Girl Who Drank the Moon and I'm not disappointed. It was a curious collaboration of pretty words. I just wonder if it's one I'll remember a few months from now or not.


Jemima Pett | 1357 comments Mod
Terra wrote: "I just finished The Girl Who Drank the Moon and I'm not disappointed. It was a curious collaboration of pretty words. I just wonder if it's one I'll remember a few months from now or not."

That's a good criterion, Terra - remembering it after a few months!


message 46: by Rebecca (new) - added it

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1662 comments Mod
I'll admit that the story is fading from my mind. But the feeling seems to linger.


message 47: by J.S. (last edited Feb 01, 2018 10:48AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

J.S. Jaeger (jsjaeger) | 169 comments I just finished listening to this book. I was surprised that that I liked it less toward the end then I expected to. Listening to it, I enjoyed it despite the few things that bothered me, but then the last hour and a half moved so slow. I kept thinking, "you're supposed to be hurrying, but no one seems to care."

My biggest disappointment in the book was that it used the same crutch as Harry Potter/Disney to create tension. The crutch of not sharing vital information. Reading about Luna as a five-year-old felt like she was only two. Kids are smart, especially if you help them understand. Just asking, "do you know why this is happening?" and accepting her answer of no, instead of telling her why made me want to scream. Any one of my four children at the age of five could've understand if I would've told them, "when you say THIS, it happens." I could've accepted it more if the witch was never around children, but she was considered the wise woman and healer in the free cities so it didn't add up for me.

The other huge plot hole for me was when she said she didn't think she had enough magic to transform and make sure she came out of it and then she transformed into a swallow. I struggled with the storyline the entire time she was a bird for this reason.

I really liked the witch and the bog monster as a couple. Once Luna was allowed to learn, I thought she was a great heroine.

I didn't mind the book and am glad I listened to it because it was a fun story. It's just not at the top of my list for recommending it to others.


back to top