THE GIRL WHO CHASED THE MOON by Sarah Addison Allen [Book 27 of 2010]

So yeah, remember how I got all sentimental during BOOK WEEK back in June and vowed to keep on reading a book a week for the rest of the year? Yeah, well so far that’s not going so hot. But I’m committed to reading a book a week from this week forward, and we’ll be hosting another BOOK WEEK before the end of the year, so that I can catch up and claim my 52 books read by hook or by crook. Wait for it. Meanwhile, here are my thoughts on THE GIRL WHO CHASED THE MOON by Sarah Addison Allen.

Why I Decided To Read It: I adored both GARDEN SPELLS and THE SUGAR QUEEN, so I was somewhat aghast to learn that I had full-on missed the release of THE GIRL WHO CHASED THE MOON back in March.

What It’s About: Um, let’s see, well this teenager’s activist mother dies, so she moves in with her grandfather, who happens to be a giant and he lives in a small town, which has a lot of magical things going on. She finds out that her mother back in the day then was nothing like the woman she knew. Mom was a mean girl and did something so terrible that the town hates her for it. However, the former goth chyck that her mother used to pick on takes the teenager under her wing while trying to avoid the attentions of the popular guy that one-night-standed her and then ditched her when they were back in high school.

What Makes It Different: This is kind of like Romeo & Juliet meets Alice Hoffman meets LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE. A truly compelling read with a lot of elements you wouldn’t necessarily put together like romance and John Hughsian high school drama and barbecue and lots and lots of magic.

What I Loved: This audiobook sent me straight into book thrall. I took a two hour walk just to finish it. And I think most single women are going to want to give Southern men a try after seeing how they’re depicted in this book. Most of all, it’s obvious that Allen truly loves her characters and her setting, and you can really sense that in the writing. That whole book has that “made with love” feeling that you usually only get from food.

What I Didn’t Like: The end happened too quickly. It felt like I was being shoved out of the story. You know how when you’re having a really great time at a party and your hosts start clearing up then yawning then talking about how early they have to wake up the next day? This is how I felt at the end of this book.

Writing Lessons Learned:

Keep a secret. Allen does something very interesting at the front of her novel. She establishes a buttload of really juicy secrets. Every piece of information in the first few chapters seems to be a mystery presented, and it makes the novel impossible to put down. In fact, I’d be interested in talking to someone who started reading this book and didn’t finish it. I doubt that person exists above ground.

Unpopular for different reasons.I’ve talked a lot in interviews about making your characters different. For example, I don’t really need to read any more books, movies, or TV shows, featuring adult women who used to be fat when they were in high school, but lost a ton of weight and are now “beautiful.” How refreshing then that Ms. Allen looked at the usual former unpopular girl candidates and chose the goth girl. I hope a few more writers take a page from her book and give other types of unpopular girls a chance.

Terrific Ghosts. I’m a big fan of dead characters who influence the characters lives and actions, even though they’re no longer alive. I would say that at least half this book’s cast is dead, and those characters do a great job of illuminating the lives and psyches of the characters that are still living.

To Whom Would I Recommend This Book: Southern Women, Big-City Women, People Who Prefer Their Romance Well-Written, Barbecue Lovers, Folks with Dead Parents, and Those Who Believe In Magic.

Click on the cover pic to buy the book and watch the book trailer below!