Book Review: The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill
Each year on the day of sacrifice, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch in the woods in hopes that their sacrifice might stop her from terrorizing their town. However, the witch, Xan, is actually kind and takes the child left abandoned to a new home in a new city where it will be loved. As she takes them to their new homes, she nourishes the babies with starlight, giving them the name, star children.
One year, Xan rescues a baby and instead of feeding her starlight, accidentally feeds her moonlight. This filled the girl with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise the baby, who she calls Luna, on her own to help the girl learn about her magic and how to use it. As the girl grows her magic is more powerful then Xan thought. To keep Luna safe from her own power, Xan locks it away inside the girl, where it will stay until her 13th birthday. When her birthday approaches, Luna's magic starts emerge, however Xan is far away. At the same time, a man from the Protectorate is on a mission to kill the witch in order to save his young son. Soon, it is up to Luna to save those who have protected her, even if it means leaving behind the only world she's ever known.
The Girl Who Drank The Moon, is a wonderful story of magic and fantasy that will engage and inspire young middle grade readers. I love the contrast throughout the story of sorrow and hope. The sorrow eater who shows up in an unexpected way, is a clever character and a new way of telling the age old good vs. evil story. I also thought Luna was written in a really great way. She's young and naive to the world, but she has a power within her that she can feel bubbling around for years. She doesn't know what to do with it until the moment arises that she must stand up and protect those she loves. I think that is a great message for all of us. Everyone has a power inside them. Sometimes, it takes something extraordinary for us to see it, but it is always there.
This was a beautiful, kind story with well written strong characters. I think it's a perfect read for the star child in us all.