Fiction, Loved-it, Magical realism, Well known books, Women's

[Magical Realism] A Soft And Comforting Story Of Love And Magic The Girl Who Chased The Moon by Sarah Addison Allen

This was one of my most magical reads of the year! I am absolutely in love with this sweet, adorable story. And I’m not a sweet story person even! For anyone who loved Practical Magic, this is the softer and more sepia tale that will not give you even a drop of sadness. Well, maybe a little bit of wistfulness!

Emily has lost her mother – the only family she has ever known. Now she is moving to her mother’s childhood home, where her grandfather lives – and she has never known him. More than that, her mother has never even talked about where she grew up. Emily still doesn’t know it, but there are reasons why this is the case. And everyone in the little town will make sure they teach her about those reasons, and not in the most pleasant ways imaginable.

The small town Emily’s mother grew up in doesn’t seem to understand that Emily is a different person from her mother. So Emily has to live in the shadow of who her mother was, when she was growing up. Despite knowing her as a great person bent on helping everyone, Emily is faced with an absolutely different image of her mother that everyone else in the town seems to remember. She is hurt and confused, and she will need help to come to terms and even understand what is going on here. Luckily, help is on the way – and it’s even two kinds of help, although both of those sources are just as unexpected.

A Super Sweet Story For When You Need A Pick-me-up

Again – I absolutely LOVED this story. Yes, it talks about sad things – loss, pain, betrayal and conceit – but it’s also told in such an innocent style. The world this book is written in? It’s my inner world. Where even the sad and scary things are actually safe, or even if they’re not, you can hide safely behind all the little magical details of small town life. There’s indeed a feeling of incredible safety in this story! Which is why you should pick it up when you need to recharge or mend a slightly broken heart. Indeed this book is a lot like Practical Magic or The Rules of Magic, but it skips all the dark parts and tragedy and just keeps the warm and reassuring parts! That’s why I loved it so much especially.

Two Stories Told At The Same Time

While telling Emily’s story in the forefront, Sarah Addison Allen also tells the story of Julia, Emily’s neighbor – and strangely, someone who was bullied by Emily’s mother and her gang of popular girls. Julia is an incredibly character as well as an incredible human being, and her story of forgiveness and finding her own path was just as beautiful to me as Emily’s. Although it’s essentially a love story, it’s also a rocky one, and it touches up on difficult subjects.

You’ll Get Attached To Nearly All The Characters

I’ve already mentioned that I absolutely loved Julia – imagine a person who is willing to take the child of her bully under her wing. I was bullied myself – actually, I don’t know if I’d be able to do it, especially if my past was like Julia’s was. I absolutely loved her for it. But the other characters are all amazing too! Emily’s giant (literally) grandfather is so colorful and sweet. Emily herself is adorable and realistic. Emily’s beau? Well, I used that word for it, so you must know how it makes me feel. Everyone in this book was so well fleshed out that I still remember them a half a year after I’ve read the book! And that’s 50 books later. So you know I’m for real.

Magical Realism Done Well

I am usually very careful of magical realism. It can go really bad really fast! There have only been a few books with it that I liked – and incidentally, I mostly only blog about books I loved, so you only get to hear of the good ones with magical realism, and none of the ones I didn’t like. So you might have got the wrong impression! The way I like my magical realism is very faint and careful, unobtrusive, but colorful. And it’s just the way it is in this book! It both forms a huge part of the plot, and takes up so ‘little space’ – it’s important, but it’s also just a little detail of life. And there are also certain aspects of it used just to color the story – like the strange wallpaper in Emily’s mom’s room that is never explained – it changed color, based on the types of things the person living in it is going through. I will admit, I have not stopped dreaming of wallpaper like that since. Just your little bit of Hogwarts in your own home!

There Are Recipes At The End!

Julia bakes throughout the entire book. It’s very symbolic for her and also the person she is resolving her feelings about. I will not say how, lest I spoil you! But what I didn’t expect, upon finishing the book, was to find those recipes all listed and explained!!! That, my dear friends, is the epitome of amazing for me. No, I have not baked a single of those cakes yet (you might have heard that I’m not the cook in my family), but it’s nice to know that I could!

Other Books You Might Like

I have already mentioned Practical Magic and The Rules of Magic – but just like I said, The Girl Who Chased the Moon is so much more innocent and positive, and not dark at all – it’s like if you wanted to read Practical Magic and not cry, you should read The Girl Who Chased the Moon! Then there’s also The Finding of Martha Lost, which I regret to say I didn’t really like, but you never know – you might.

Practical Magic (Practical Magic #2)   The Rules of Magic (Practical Magic #1)   The Finding of Martha Lost

You can buy The Girl Who Chased the Moon here at Book Depository and buying using this link supports the blog.

Do you like reading books with magical realism? And maybe you’ve read other books by Sarah Addison Allen?

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(Danielle) Books, Vertigo and Tea

I have talked to a few readers who share my tastes and they were not impressed with Practical Magic, so I have refrained from picking it up. But this sounds like a beautiful read! I love magical realism. It is such a hit or miss though. I will add this one loved your review!!!

(Danielle) Books, Vertigo and Tea

Aw thanks! I believe I did say that to you 😉 I will keep in on my TBR <3

Madeline Bartson
3 years ago

This review was really well written! Magical realism is one of my favorite genres, so I’ll have to check this one out. It sounds magical in all the good ways. If you like subtle magical realism, I feel like you would really like Everything all At Once by Katrina Leno!

3 years ago

I’m glad you enjoyed this. Great review!

Lucy ~

3 years ago

What a beautiful review! I can’t wait to read this 🙂

3 years ago

I enjoyed your review. It sounds like a great book. Anne – Books of My Heart

Laura Thomas
3 years ago

This does sounds magical. I adore the cover and your fab review makes it a must read!

3 years ago

So glad you liked this! I didn’t know you didn’t like magical realism. Anyway, this one does sound amazing. That wallpaper would be something I would keep dreaming about too. And what??? Recipes in the end??? Wow, totally gonna pick this up for the little cookbook feel it gives in the last few pages. You loved ALL the characters? Now that impressed me! Characters are something that are always a hit or miss for me so everyone being amazing is a deal I need to snatch. Great review, Evelina!

3 years ago

Great review! I’ve read and loved all of Sarah Addison Allen’s books. This makes me want to go back and revisit a couple including this one!!

3 years ago

This book has a lot of things I love – grief, loss, magical realism, and feels. Wait! And baked goods!!! Sounds fabulous.

CG @ Paper Fury
3 years ago

WAIT THERE ARE CAKE RECIPES AT THE END?!? Honestly that is the best thing I’ve heard in my life and I think all books should have that?! (Now I’m plotting how much I need to do that for one of my books someday…) I do love magical realism! SO much (says me who never stops talking about The Raven Cycle haha) but sometimes it can get a bit weird? Like recently I read Wicked Like Wildfire which was nope nope, but I love Maggie Stiefvater and Anna-Marie McLemore and Laura Ruby so much! Anyway definitely keeping my eyes peeled for… Read more »

Daniela Ark
3 years ago

I really really really want to read this one! Love MR to pieces!

JJ @ This Dark Material

Aw, I love this review 🙂 Soft and quiet stories are usually hit-or-miss with me since I gravitate towards darker, bolder ones, but I’ve actually had a lot of luck with books described that way so far this year! So I think I’m going to have to give this one a shot 🙂 If you like magical realism, I’d also recommend What Should Be Wild. It has a very different tone from this book, but I thought the author did a great job subtly weaving magic into the real world. Thanks for sharing such a lovely read, Evelina! 🙂

Rosie Amber
3 years ago

I’ve read this book too and really enjoyed it for the magic and the sweet story. In fact I’ve now read several by this author and enjoyed them all.
I’ve tried Practical Magic after reading these books, but gave up about a third of the way through. I found it harsh in comparison.
One of the best bits for me was the wallpaper and the way the house felt alive.
So glad you enjoyed this.

Jackie B. @ Death by Tsundoku

!!! Is this your first time reading a Sarah Addison Allen novel?! Oh goodness. I love her works. They are all sweet and wistful, tinged with sadness and joy on the edges. I’m so glad you found passion in this novel. This isn’t one I’ve read, but all of her books are on my TBR. Actually, my mother gave me a copy of Garden Spells to read on the airplane when I moved from Ohio to Wisconsin. I was leaving home for the first time, and possibly for good, so my mother gave me something comforting and sweet to read.… Read more »

3 years ago

Uuaaaah, I’m so happy that the library has this book in their collection! And I’m super excited about the recipes! Like! CAAAAAKE. Yum.

Loved your review! Hopefully I’ll enjoy it too 🙂

Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

What a wonderful sounding book! I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it so much and your review definitely makes me want to pick it up and give it a read. I am also a sucker for books with recipes. I am a terrible baker (I’m too lazy and impatient) but I do love finding new recipes and when an author puts the effort in to include something like baking or cooking in a storyline I really like to have the recipe to go with it so you can try them out too.


[…] reading is kind of like required reading for school! As for the reviews, I recommend checking out The Girl Who Chased the Moon because that book was simply […]

Dani Eide
Dani Eide
3 years ago

I love anything with a bit of fantasy. This book sounds awesome and I can’t wait to read it. Great review! It sold me on the book! ♥️

Sim @ Flipping Through the Pages

This definitely seems like an interesting read. Magical realism is the same for me too- they are either done quite right or they go totally opposite.
I really loved that how you convinced me to add this book to my TBR 😀 I love books where all the secondary characters are done well and this sounds exactly like that.
Really hope to read this.


[…] Speaking of Sarah Addison Allen… The Girl Who Chased the Moon is also one of my five-star rated books. It was one of my most magical reads of the year! I was absolutely in love with this sweet, adorable story. For anyone who loved Practical Magic, this is the softer and more sepia tale that will not give you even a drop of sadness. Well, maybe a little bit of wistfulness! The author just charms you with the innocent and lost main character, the sleepy town, the unusual family members, and of course, the baking. There were love interests, yes –… Read more »