I love reading books set on a beach during summer. Moonglass by debut author Jessi Kirby opens with the end of main character Anna’s summer vacation. Anna’s father has been transfered from Pisom Beach to Crystal Cove. Anna must leave behind the beach where her mom died, her friends, her grandmother, and being a new life at the Cover. There, she finds love and will finally confront her grief.
What I loved the most about Moonglass were the less obvious components. At it’s surface, Kirby’s book is a simple summer read. Yet, if we dig a bit deeper we can find some literary motiffs, and I think half the fun is realizing a book is deeper than one initially thought.
There is a motif throughout the book based on seaglass. Seaglass is a bit like diamons in the rough. You see, the ocean wears down these rocks and what emerges is a thing of beauty. Much like Anna, where life knocks her down, but she perseveres.
Furthermore, the way Anna’s mother commits suicide is reminiscent of The Awakening by Kate Chopin, and definitely worthy of discussion. Both women end up walking into the ocean as a means to meet their maker, for different reasons though. Moonglass takes on the theme of depression within it’s short pages. I think this theme is handled with sensitivity and respect. We get a very human picture of Anna’s mother. She’s never just the character who is depressed and depression is her only defining quality. Instead she is a well rounded character with a background and a history.
However, least you think Moonglass is too heavy, there is a bit of romance thrown into the mix. I would say the romance is comparable to that of a Sarah Dessen novel. We have a main character who is obviously suffering her own problems, but there’s a boy, usually a nice guy to help the main character out. Honestly, the romance felt a bit chaste to me. Kirby’s male lead Tyler is a lifeguard at the Cove, but he’s also a local. The relationship between Tyler and Anna slowly develops. The furthest these 17 year olds go is kissing. I believe this novel could be appropriate for younger teens looking for a romance-y read.
Perhaps my favorite aspect of Moonglass was the exploration of father-daughter relationship. Anna and her father experience their fair share of ups and downs. Both are strongly affected by their grief for the missing piece of the family. Anna’s father is obviously doing the best he can for her, but he’s not the perfect parent. Nor is Anna the perfect daughter. They fight, yet understanding emerges between the two, much like in real life.
Moonglass is a compact book, but it packs an emotional punch with quite a few surprises. This is a great book for a breezy summer day, if a bit heavy.
Disclosure: Received for review via Amazon vine.
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