Moonglass by Jessi Kirby
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
Published May 3rd 2011
Hardcover, 224 pages – – ARC being reviewed
Challenge:  100 Books in 2011, 2011 Debut Author   

From Jessi Kirby, a debut novel about confronting the past in order to move ahead.

I read once that water is a symbol for emotions. And for a while now, I’ve thought maybe my mother drowned in both.

Anna’s life is upended when her father accepts a job transfer the summer before her junior year. It’s bad enough that she has to leave her friends and her life behind, but her dad is moving them to the beach where her parents first met and fell in love- a place awash in memories that Anna would just as soon leave under the surface.
While life on the beach is pretty great, with ocean views and one adorable lifeguard in particular, there are also family secrets that were buried along the shore years ago. And the ebb and flow of the ocean’s tide means that nothing- not the sea glass that she collects on the sand and not the truths behind Anna’s mother’s death- stays buried forever.

 Jessi Kirby’s debut novel, Moonglass, is a wonderful tale of loss, love, and hope. At a very young age Anna looses her mother to suicide. Now Anna is in high school and has just moved to a new town where their home is right off the beach. You would think that Anna’s love for the ocean, surfing and finding moonglass (sea glass), Anna would fit right in and love it automatically. But her new home has it owns ghosts, along with Anna’s, that she cannot run away from.

Despite Anna’s reluctance at first she finds new friends right away; while at first she is unaware of their importance. Constantly being haunted by her Mother’s decision to leave her and her father, Anna learns more about her Mother, her Mother’s past as well about herself. Not only does Anna grow as a girl troubled by something she could not control, her relationship with her father rides the waves of it all.

Moonglass was an AMAZING debut novel. Jessi Kirby’s use of detail, emotion, character development and symbolism are all superb, each playing a vital role in the overall novel. Kirby’s details of the beach, the water, and even something as simple as the sand make you feel as if you are walking or running on the beach along with Anna, jumping off a high cliff and then hitting the water. Your experience as a reader is heightened to a new level. Kirby’s character development is also done very well. While the novel centers on Anna, other characters are treated as main characters as well. Even though Anna’s mother is not physically present in the book, the emotional hauntings of Anna and her memories turns her mother into a main character; on level with Anna herself.

Of course we cannot forget about the Moonglass (the namesake of the novel). The Moonglasses in themselves serve many roles, creating new dynamics for this novel: they serve as a connection for Anna to her mother, they serve as a connection to the past but at the same time the future. Just like Anna’s Mother, the Moonglass serve as a main character themselves.

I could go on and on about how amazing this novel was. Jessi Kirby has really set the bar high for her next novel. Every aspect of this novel was beautifully written, created and executed. As an author Jessi Kirby has earned my respect and I for one cannot wait for her next novel. I highly recommend everyone who may have experienced something similar to Anna’s experience, or loss of any kind, or anyone looking to read an amazing novel, to read this!

My Rating:

Find Jessi Kirby at her Website and at her Blog!
** Disclosure: I received this book from The {Teen} Book Scene in exchange for an honest review.