The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Number of pages: 261
My copy: UK paperback, Christmas gift from Angus
Emily Benedict came to Mullaby, North Carolina, hoping to solve at least some of the riddles surrounding her mother’s life. Why did she leave her hometown so suddenly? Why did she vow never to return?
But in a place where unexplained lights skip across the yard at midnight, where the wallpaper in your bedroom changes so suit your mood, and where a neighbour bakes hummingbird cakes in the hope of bringing back a lost love, Emily will find that the answers are not what she expects…
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The Girl Who Chased the Moon is my third Sarah Addison Allen book, and I must admit that I was pretty excited to read this book mostly because I like the title and the UK cover. Of all covers, I think this one had the most magical feel to it — even the text on the cover affirms it: Discover a place where magic lights up the dark. How pretty, right?
Emily Benedict moves to Mullaby, North Carolina to join her grandfather Vance Shelby, after her mother dies. Besides not having a place to live anymore, she also longs to solve the mystery surrounding her mother and her past, and she figures the best place to find it was where her mother grew up. But what she comes home to surprises her, on top of the other mysterious things in town: the darting lights she sees behind the house, the changing wallpaper in her room, and just why everyone has an opinion of Emily and her mom when she knows nothing. Next door, there’s Julia, who spends her time counting the days till she can leave the town and baking cakes to call someone, until someone unexpected (and unwanted) comes to her instead. Julia befriends Emily in hopes of shielding her from the repercussions of her mother’s past, but there are just some things that Emily has to find out for herself.
As usual, there’s a certain comfort in getting lost in a Sarah Addison Allen novel, one that makes me just want to keep reading and keep getting lost. There’s a little bit more heartbreak and sadness in this book, though, but not so much that it makes it a sad novel all in all. I just found that there seemed to be a little bit more characters with serious issues in this book compared to the ones in the previous books. The magic stuff didn’t come from the two female leads, too, but more in the place and the people around them.
The Girl Who Chased the Moon read a bit like a fairy tale, and this fact was emphasized up to the end. I liked the dynamics of the characters with one another, how one avoided the other with all her might but couldn’t, and how one chased the other but had to stop because of old issues. I thought there was more romance in this book too, and even one that kind of borders on a paranormal romance type with the secrets and the secret bedroom visits. It’s not as bad as it sounds like for those who don’t like paranormal romance — it’s actually okay, although that wasn’t my favorite pairing in this book. I guessed the huge family secret chapters before it was finally revealed, so the surprise factor wasn’t there anymore, but it unfolded pretty nicely and SAA painted a pretty sweet picture of a happy ending for them that I couldn’t help but forgive those nitpicks after. I do love that there’s talk of cake in this book. I love baking, even if I can’t bake a cake yet to save my life. The significance of the cake and the sugar and all the sweet things made me yearn to not just eat one but make one. Someday, I will make a double layer cake successfully.
Compared to Garden Spells and The Sugar Queen though, this didn’t feel as magical despite its whimsical title. Garden Spells still feels the most magical, and I thought The Sugar Queen explored the friendships of the characters better. The Girl Who Chased the Moon kind of scratched the surface on those ends, but I think it did pretty well with town secrets and finding forgiveness from each other and from the past. Overall, while it’s not my favorite SAA, I still think it’s a good read. :)
This is my third Sarah Addison Allen novel, and I think it’s enough to consider myself as a fan. I’m glad I still have The Peach Keeper waiting for me on my TBR the next time I want a Sarah Addison Allen fix. :)