Title: The Girl Who Chased the Moon
Author: Sarah Addison Allen
Source: Publisher for the Pump Up Your Book Promotion tour
Challenges: Read 'n' Review Challenge
First Sentence: "It took a moment for Emily to realize the car had come to a stop."
Summary (From back of book):
Emily Benedict has come to Mullaby, North Carolina, hoping to solve at least some of the riddles surrounding her mother's life. But the moment Emily enters the house where her mother grew up and meets the grandfather she never knew, 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, Julia Winterson, bakes hope in the form of cakes, not only wishing to satisfy the town's sweet tooth, but also dreaming of rekindling the love she fears might be lost forever.
Can a hummindbird cake really bring back a lost love? Is there really a ghost dancing in Emily's backyard? The answers are never what you expect. But in this town of lovable misfits, the unexpected fits right in.
My Two Cents:
This was another stellar read from Sarah Addison Allen. I truly can't say enough good things about her books, nor can I recommend them to enough people.
The Girl Who Chased the Moon has a little more magic than Allen's first book, Garden Spells, but it's still fully believable. In fact, the magic is so believable that I wanted to move immediately to Mullaby so I could know each and every one of these characters.
I have to say that my favorite character in here was Grandpa Vance. At just over 8 feet tall, he is a Mullaby legend in his own right, but an incident involving his daughter 20 years earlier places him even more on the periphery of the people in town. He is certainly a "gentle giant" who doesn't know how to handle living with Emily, but who tries hard. One of the sweetest parts about Vance, I think, is his tendency to check the dryer at random intervals. I'm not going to tell you why, because that's explained in the book, but the explanation brought tears to my eyes.
I also loved Julia. She was sassy and standoffish, but Allen shows you the reason why she tries to keep aloof from others, especially Sawyer. I loved that she was a baker. To me, characters who have a specific identity or hobby, especially one that is deeply rooted in their past, are really interesting. A person's hobbies can tell a lot about them, and I liked hearing the reasons why Julia began baking.
To me, there was a lot more that could have been done with this book, though. Even as detailed as it was, there were some things I would have liked to see more of. I especially wanted to see more of the interactions between Win and his father. The Coffeys have a huge family secret that Win's father is desperate that no one should know, but we really don't ever get his reasons as to why he's so desperate to keep the secret. It's insinuated, especially based on past events, but I kind of would have liked to see a little more discussion between Win and his father on the matter.
Also, the book ended too soon. I know Allen wanted to leave the reader with a little mystery, even though it's obvious how that mystery will be resolved, but I would have really liked to see how it played out instead of imagining it. But that's just me!
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes books with a little bit of mystery and whimsy. This was a fun, quick read.
About Sarah Addison AllenSarah Addison Allen is the New York Times bestselling author of Garden Spells and The Sugar Queen. She was born and raised in Asheville, North Carolina, where she is currently at work on her next novel. You can visit Sarah Addison Allen’s website at www.sarahaddisonallen.com.
Note: I received a free copy of this book in order to participate in the Pump Up Your Book Promotion tour. Receiving a free copy in no way influenced my review.