The people of the Protectorate had fairly normal lives: they worked, married, and had families just like people in most towns. However, their town was not the same as others for their citizens lived in fear of the witch from the forest who had the power to destroy them all. However, they had struck a deal with the witch: in exchange for their safety and peace, the town left the youngest baby in the woods each year. Any dissent from this deal was met with swift punishment. Unbeknownst to the town, the witch of the forest is, in fact, kind. She rescues the babies left each year and finds homes for them. Things change one year when she rescues a baby and accidentally fills her with magic. Xan decides to adopt the child, Luna, and raise her herself. Their fates are more closely tied to the town than they know and it becomes apparent that they must defeat the real witch in order to survive.
The Girl Who Drank the Moon is a marvelous children’s story about fear, secrets, and the power of love. The book follows Luna from infant to very precocious child to hormonal pre-teen and, finally, to a mature young woman. She grows up surrounded by an unusual but loving family including the witch, Xan, the Swamp Monster, Glerk, and the Perfectly Tiny Dragon, Fyrian. Luna learns about science and healing from Xan, poetry from Glerk, and loyalty from Fyrian. The theme of transitions is present throughout the book. This includes many kinds of transitions including that from childhood to maturity, from life to death, and from fear to bravery. Each main character has transitions and changes as the story moves along. The book nicely and regularly touches on how change is hard but not necessarily a bad thing. The other main theme is that love and truth will always trump fear and secrets. The story moves along at a nice pace and keeps the reader involved throughout. The ending is satisfying if not a completely happy ending. Overall, this is a wonderful book that older children and teens should enjoy reading.
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