I enjoyed reading both Garden Spells and The Sugar Queen so I was looking forward to reading Sarah Addison Allen’s latest book. I have to admit that these books have made me more curious about magic realism.
Here’s the summary from Goodreads:
Emily Benedict came to Mullaby, North Carolina, hoping to solve at least some of the riddles surrounding her mother’s life. For instance, why did Dulcie Shelby leave her hometown so suddenly? Why did she vow never to return? But the moment Emily enters the house where her mother grew up and meets the grandfather she never knew — a reclusive, real-life gentle giant — she realizes that mysteries aren’t solved in Mullaby, they’re a way of life.
Here are rooms where the wallpaper changes to suit your mood. Unexplained lights skip across the yard at midnight. And a neighbor bakes hope in the form of cakes.
Everyone in Mullaby adores Julia Winterson’s cakes. She offers them to satisfy the town’s sweet tooth and in the hope of bringing back the love she fears she’s lost forever. In Julia, Emily may have found a link to her mother’s past. But why is everyone trying to discourage Emily’s growing relationship with the handsome and mysterious son of Mullaby’s most prominent family? Emily came to Mullaby to get answers, but all she’s found so far are more questions.
Sarah Addison Allen’s books usually focus on two main characters who are somehow connected. In The Girl Who Chased the Moon, these characters are Emily and her new neighbor, Julia. When her mother passes away, Emily moves to Mullaby to be with the maternal grandfather she never knew she had. Emily is surprised to discover that the small town doesn’t have a favorable impression of her beloved mother and she doesn’t understand why. While Emily, her mother’s troubled past and her forbidden friendship with mysterious Win Coffey are all interesting, I found Julia’s story much more compelling. I found Emily and Win’s relationship to be similar to most of the YA paranormal romances out there, including Win’s family secret. As a result, I was always eagerly anticipating the scenes that involved Julia. This would probably be a good introduction to YA fans who want to give SAA’s books a try because Emily is a teen.
Julia can’t wait to leave Mullaby. She keeps telling everyone (herself included) that she’s in town only until she could sell the barbecue restaurant that she inherited from her father. She doesn’t have a reason for staying, least of all, her high school love and golden boy of Mullaby, Sawyer. I found Sawyer, with his Southern manners and insatiable hunger for sweets, charming. I can imagine him going, “CAKE! Nom nom nom nom.” Be sure to have food beside you when you read this book because it’s bound to make you hungry. Good thing we had a lot of food at home because of the New Year festivities. Overall, The Girl Who Chased the Moon is just as enchanting as SAA’s other novels and I gobbled it up during the weekend. It’s a story about family, friendship and food (all good things, in my opinion). I love reading SAA’s books and I can’t wait for her latest, The Peach Keeper, to come out this March.
Click on the images below to see my reviews of Sarah Addison Allen’s other books: