Book Review: The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

The Girl Who Drank the Moon is a middle grade novel by Kelly Barnhill. 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 them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey. One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this enmagicked girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. To keep young Luna safe from her own unwieldy power, Xan locks her magic deep inside her. When Luna approaches her thirteenth birthday, her magic begins to emerge on schedule--but Xan is far away. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Soon, it is up to Luna to protect those who have protected her--even if it means the end of the loving, safe world she’s always known.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon is an interesting story, and I liked the overall story. The growth of some characters, and the changing perspectives made the story quick paced, although it might be confusing for some. I think the stories in italics might be the most confusing for some readers, but if they stick it out until the end those stories and changing perspectives give the readers a much more comprehensive understanding of the story and individual characters than they might have otherwise. I really liked the reversal of 'good' and 'bad' characters- where those in opower and acting as the good guys are so much different than they seemed, and the same holds true for those characters initally believe to be dangerous. I enjoyed the character and world development and think that the book was well written and an enjoyable read. My biggest issue with the story is that while it focuses on Luna and how she effects the world, we get much more information about her from others than from her. I would have liked more of the story to come from her perspective, however I still greatly enjoyed the read. 

The Girl Who Drank the Moon is a solid fantasy. I think many middle grade readers will enjoy the read, and it might even make the reread pile for some. 
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