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!
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★★★★✬ 4.5 stars
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.
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?
I’m Evelina and I blog about books that made an impression on me. I love middle grade, women’s, scifi and some literary too.