By: Sarah Addison Allen
Publication Date: February 2011
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: January 28, 2012
The Girl Who Chased the Moon is a fairy tale set in the modern world, with just a touch of magic, enough to make it fun and yet, almost believable.
After the death of her mother, seventeen-year-old Emily Benedict moves from Boston to Mullaby, a sleepy little town in North Carolina to live with her grandfather Vance, a man she’s never met. Life in Mullaby, however, isn’t really so quiet as everybody knows their neighbor’s business, and things are, well, just a little bit magical.
After getting a lukewarm reception from both her grandfather and the inhabitants of Mullaby, Emily learns that her mother Dulcie was not well-liked in the small town. She was a spoiled brat, who, after the death of her mother, was given everything she wanted. Vance, a shy, awkward giant of a man (8 feet tall!), simply didn’t know how to handle his daughter and just threw money at her in the hopes she’d be happy. What she became was the queen bee (or is that “bee-atch”?) of the local high school, with a group of sycophants to support her, who were cruel to many less popular kids. Dulcie also hurt her boyfriend, embarrassing him in front of the whole town. He committed suicide, Dulcie left town, and now that Emily has moved to Mullaby, many inhabitants treat her as though the whole mess was her fault.
Julia Winterson, Emily’s new next door neighbor, and a past victim of Dulcie’s cruel nature, befriends the young girl and does her best to help. But she has secrets of her own that she must work out. While Julia tries to save up enough money to leave Mullaby once and for all, she must also, once and for all, deal with her old love Sawyer. Emily, meanwhile, is falling for Win Coffey, the nephew of Dulcie’s old boyfriend, the one who killed himself. Emily’s grandfather, as well as Win’s family, do their best to keep the pair apart, but to no avail. Secrets abound, secrets that nobody wants to share with Emily, but which the determined teen will do her best to learn.
In a town where mystical lights dance in the woods, the wallpaper in Emily’s bedroom changes depending on her mood, and the smell of a delectable cake baking can draw an old beau, secrets from the past still hold tight. The author has done a great job of drawing the reader in, writing interesting and sympathetic characters, and inserting just a tad of magic so the story is almost believable. The Girl Who Chased the Moon is a quick and very enjoyable read.
Quill says: A sweet story that blends several different relationships with a touch of magic, to form a perfectly enjoyable story that is best read under a full moon, where you just might see those ‘Mullaby Lights.’