Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Magical-Realism
In her latest enchanting novel, New York Times bestselling author Sarah Addison Allen invites you to a quirky little Southern town with more magic than a full Carolina moon. Here two very different women discover how to find their place in the world…no matter how out of place they feel.
Emily Benedict came to Mullaby, North Carolina, hoping to solve at least some of the riddles surrounding her mother’s life. For instance, why did Dulcie Shelby leave her hometown so suddenly? Why did she vow never to return? But the moment Emily enters the house where her mother grew up and meets the grandfather she never knew—a reclusive, real-life gentle giant—she realizes that mysteries aren’t solved in Mullaby, they’re a way of life.
Here are rooms where the wallpaper changes to suit your mood. Unexplained lights skip across the yard at midnight. And a neighbor bakes hope in the form of cakes.
Everyone in Mullaby adores Julia Winterson’s cakes. She offers them to satisfy the town’s sweet tooth and in the hope of bringing back the love she fears she’s lost forever. In Julia, Emily may have found a link to her mother’s past. But why is everyone trying to discourage Emily’s growing relationship with the handsome and mysterious son of Mullaby’s most prominent family? Emily came to Mullaby to get answers, but all she’s found so far are more questions.
Is there really a ghost dancing in her backyard? Can a cake really bring back a lost love?
In this town of lovable misfits, maybe the right answer is the one that just feels…different.
I discovered Sarah Addison Allen shortly after her second book was published, back in 2008. I had just finished reading Garden Spells, and dove right into The Sugar Queen. It was love at first read. So when The Girl Who Chased the Moon came out, it was a no-brainer: I HAD to read it! And then--as often happens--life got in the way, and I never got around to reading it...until just recently.
I picked up a copy at my local library, holding it close on the way home, and dashed inside to start reading. I read that entire night, and into the morning. This book did not disappoint.
What I like most about Sarah Addison Allen's novels, is that they seem to have just the right amount of magic. No matter what she writes about, it never seems like too much or too little...which is weird, since I'm the Fantasy-lover.
Overall, The Girl Who Chased the Moon was a story about love, and all its complexities. Allen did such a wonderful job writing emotions into this book, that at times I really felt the myself. I was intrigued, and wanted to know more and more about the characters. I think she did an especially fantastic job writing Emily's grandpa. Awkward, unsure of living with a teenager, maybe a little crazy; he was perfect. And the town! *sigh* I ♥ small towns.
I liked both stories that were presented in this book: Emily's, and Julia's. Two different people, from different generations, their lives entwine just enough that they are both set down a different path than they had been on. Each comes to learn more about themselves, their past, and their future in the strange town of Mullaby, North Carolina.
Emily was a well-written character, although I think it did take her a bit too long to understand exactly what was going on. She isn't your typical "oh-no-I-have-to-live-with-my-crockety-old-grandpa" teenager, which I appreciate. She has a smart mind, and a sense of respect. But although the book was mainly about her, I found that Julia's character (and story) ended up being what I was most interested in. It took me less than half the book to realize what the big mystery was, and from then on, Julia's story was much more entertaining. Maybe it's my age.
All things considered, it was a very entertaining read, and I don't regret one minute of lost sleep over it.
...you are a romantic, you love small town grudges, and you believe in second chances.
I highly recommend her other books, too!
The Girl Who Chased the Moon on Goodreads
Garden Spells on Goodreads
The Sugar Queen on Goodreads
The Peach Keeper (3.22.2011) on Goodreads