Monday, March 22, 2010

The Girl Who Chased The Moon

By Sarah Addison Allen
288 pages
Published by Random House
Source: the publisher and Pump Up Your Book

Emily Benedict has come to Mullaby, North Carolina, following her mother's death, to live with a grandfather she has never met, in a town her mother has never told her anything about. But Emily quickly learns that her mother growing up was not the same woman Emily knew. In fact, she seems to have been the town pariah--a spoiled little rich girl who went out of her way to torment others. Her grandfather is a giant, there are strange lights that skip across the yard at night, and the wallpaper in her mother's old bedroom changes patterns. When Emily meets young Win Coffey and Julia Winterson, a woman who was one of the victims of her mother's nastiness, she begins to learn more and more about the Mullaby lights and why the people of Mullaby hate her mother so much. Grandpa Vance isn't much of a talker, but Emily gets him to start telling her exactly what happened so many years ago. Maybe she will be able to fit in; maybe she and Win will overcome his family's strong objections to their growing friendship.

Julia, meanwhile, is wrestling with her own demons. She's come back to Mullaby for a couple of years to wrap up her father's estate but she's also trying to avoid her former stepmother Beverly and Sawyer Alexander, a man with whom she had a one night stand almost 20 years ago in high school. Her hatred of Sawyer has kept her going for all of these years. But when he finally does reappear in her life, her high school feelings for him come flooding back and he's doing his best to overcome her defenses. I most enjoyed Julia's part of the story and watching her overcome and come to terms with her past.

The book relays on the action to move it along and I think I would have liked that more without the magic that is such a big part of the story. If you're a fan of Allen's, though, you're looking for that in a book and you won't be disappointed. I felt that a lot of the characters were stereotypes but readers who've posted reviews on Barnes & Noble's site don't agree with me.

I found some descriptive phrases a little jarring. At one point Allen writes that a "smell was intense and delicious, like being in an oven." A smell is like being in an oven? But overall, this was an quick, enjoyable read that didn't require much thought and which I knew, early on, could be counted on to end happily.

14 comments:

  1. That's sort of a weird phrase! At first I had to double check and make sure the author wasn't actually a male, who might not know one doesn't actually get IN an oven! LOL

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  2. I'm so excited to read my copy that I just picked up from the library!!!

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  3. You know what, I was supposed to get this from LibraryThing Early Reviewer's and I never received it... I enjoyed one of her books (The Sugar Queen) so I'm thinking I'll enjoy this one too. I agree with your description, at least in the case of the other book, it's a light and fun read with a happy ending. Sometimes that's what you're looking for, sometimes it's not!

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  4. You know what, I was supposed to get this from LibraryThing Early Reviewer's and I never received it... I enjoyed one of her books (The Sugar Queen) so I'm thinking I'll enjoy this one too. I agree with your description, at least in the case of the other book, it's a light and fun read with a happy ending. Sometimes that's what you're looking for, sometimes it's not!

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  5. Thanks for your review of Sarah's book. I had never heard of her books before this tour, but I'm thinking of picking this one up. So many reviewers have loved it. The magic, as you said, is what her fans look for.

    Thanks again.

    Cheryl

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  6. This actually sound intriguing and I'm going to add it to my ever changing wish list!

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  7. Lisa, I so totally want to read this one and the other books by this author!
    I am glad u enjoyed it.

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  8. That oven comment is a bit strange. Like being in an oven with WHAT?

    This is one that I let skip over my radar. I am trying to read deliberately this year so I've been saying no to all kinds of books.

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  9. I love that you thought a man might not know people should get in ovens!

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  10. I just returned Garden Spells to the library, even though I really want to read it. This type of story really appeals to me, so I'll have to try to get around to all of hers... one day.

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  11. I loved this book and being a fan of her books I expect the magic and really like it. I'll probably be the odd person out but that statement makes sense to me. lol. I think maybe she means when you've baked something and you open up the oven - the smell in the oven is amazing. I could be wrong.

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  12. That description certainly is a little jarring... This one sounds interesting, I may give this one a try.

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  13. When I first saw that this book was coming out and read the description I thought maybe it would be too much like Garden Spells. I still haven't read this book, so I obviously can't make that comparison, but since I'm used to magic in her books I don't think that aspect would bother me. I'm just waiting until I'm in the mood for some magical realism before I check it out from the library.

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  14. I would rather not smell that intensely. It sound rather hot!

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