a book review on The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
(Winner of the 2017 Newberry Medal)
This book is one of my personal favourites, as it has most of the components I love in a book. Magic, suspense, the author’s imagination, and adorable characters.
The story alternates between two settings, and how they collided. One is set in the forest, where Xan (who really is a nice witch), Glerk (a wise swamp monster), and Fyrian (a tiny dragon) live in. The other is about Antain, who lives in a city that fears the witch who lives in the forest.
Every year, the Protectorate in Antain’s city leaves a baby in the forest to please the witch. Every year, Xan leaves her home to take the baby to the Free Cities, so that she can find a new home for the unfortunate baby. As Xan travels to the Free Cities, she would feed the baby starlight, for starlight had magic, enough to nourish the baby.
One year, as Xan carried the baby, she accidentally fed the baby moonlight, instead of starlight. Starlight has magic, but moonlight is bursting to its seams with it. This gave the baby girl extraordinary magic; so much that she was bursting with it. The girl didn’t even realize it, but with a single thought, she could turn anything into whatever she wanted. To protect her, Xan keeps the girl instead of bringing her to the Free Cities and wipes her memory of this incident to protect her. This girl faces adventures as she starts to remember who she really is.
Beautifully written, it is how the author can put the character’s thoughts into words that make this book beautifully unique and it has definitely made me go “Just one more chapter…”
By Ariel Surjawinata