Moonglass

( 61 )

Overview

When Anna was little, she and her mother used to search for sea glass, but since they looked at night, they called it moonglass. Now, ten years after her mother's mysterious death, her father is working as head lifeguard on the same beach where her mother grew up and her parents first met and fell in love.

Reluctant to get close to anyone (including her father) and not pleased about having to start at a new school, Anna begins to spend more time alone, running the length of the ...

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Moonglass

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Overview

When Anna was little, she and her mother used to search for sea glass, but since they looked at night, they called it moonglass. Now, ten years after her mother's mysterious death, her father is working as head lifeguard on the same beach where her mother grew up and her parents first met and fell in love.

Reluctant to get close to anyone (including her father) and not pleased about having to start at a new school, Anna begins to spend more time alone, running the length of the beach and wondering about who her mother really was. After meeting a lifeguard named Tyler, she slowly lets her guard down and together they start exploring the abandoned houses that dot the beach.

But when learning more about her mother's past leads to a painful discovery, Anna must reconcile her desire for solitude with ultimately accepting the love of her family and friends.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"I couldn't put this book down. Kirby's voice is fresh and wise, all at once. An incredible first novel."
—Sarah Dessen, New York Times bestselling author of Lock and Key

"Like sea glass, this smooth, radiant debut, reminiscent of Sarah Dessen, sets authentic and sympathetic characters working through a life-changing transformation against the backdrop of a steamy summer romance. Great for beach time—or anytime."
Kirkus Reviews

"Kirby is an author to watch, and her debut will be enjoyed by a large array of teens in search of identity stories."—Booklist

"Well written, with clearly drawn, sympathetic characters, and will be a good read for those dealing with losses of their own."—VOYA June 2011

A poignant book about a teenager seeking answers yet fearful of what she might learn.
—-SLJ, September 2011

Children's Literature - Jean Boreen
Anna has always known that something was missing in her life: her mother, who walked out into the ocean one night and never came back. When Anna and her father, a professional lifeguard, move to a different California beach after a job promotion, Anna meets people who know all about her parents, their courtship and early marriage, and her mother's death. Anna struggles with these realizations even as she tries to fit in at her new high school and make friends. Even that is impacted by the reality that many of the young people in the community work as lifeguards and know that Anna's dad is extremely protective of her. But as Anna makes more decisions for herself in terms of going out for cross country and befriending Tyler, a slightly older lifeguard who also goes to her school, she finds that she is also ready to know more about her mother, and what drove her mother to such a heart-rending end. This is a solid book for teen readers, most likely girls, who are looking for a good blend of romance and self-realization. Reviewer: Jean Boreen, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—Because of a job transfer, Anna, 17, and her dad are moving. The relocation is particularly difficult because they are returning to the beach town where her father first met and fell in love with her mother, who died when Anna was seven. The teen remembers very little about her, but she does recall walking with her on moonlighted beaches looking for sea glass and listening in wonderment to tales about mermaids. She also remembers one cold night when she followed her to the ocean's edge, when her mom didn't stop; she just continued walking into the water. As local residents begin to tell her tidbits of information and through her own hazy memories, Anna is able to piece together the woman's life. This is a poignant book about a teenager seeking answers yet fearful of what she might learn. This summer is life-changing for Anna, and readers will understand and sympathize with her loss of a parent, especially to suicide, and her coming to terms with her feelings of guilt and anger.—Sharon Morrison, Henry G. Bennett Memorial Library, Durant, OK
Kirkus Reviews

When Anna Ryan was 7, her mother drowned in the ocean, leaving Anna with inescapable guilt and a growing rift with her withdrawn lifeguard father.

After he accepts a job transfer to southern California the summer before Anna's junior year, they end up stationed at the same beach where her father and mother met and fell in love and living beside the abandoned cottage her mother resided in for several summers. The teen's new surroundings, beautifully described in the first-person narration, invite unexpected friendships and a secret relationship with young lifeguard Tyler, who's been warned not to fool around with the boss' daughter. And enveloped by her now-mythical mother's stomping grounds, locals who remember her mother, a growing need for answers about her mother's past and an eerie pull from the ocean itself, Anna's fond memories of collecting sea glass by the light of the moon with a carefree mother turn to anger as she begins to remember details about her troubled mother's "accident." Like sea glass, this smooth, radiant debut, reminiscent of Sarah Dessen, sets authentic and sympathetic characters working through a life-changing transformation against the backdrop of a steamy summer romance.

Great for beach time—or anytime.(Fiction. 12 & up)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442416956
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 4/24/2012
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 419,913
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Jessi Kirby is the author of Moonglass, which was an ABA New Voices selection in 2011; In Honor; and Golden. When she’s not writing, she works as a middle school librarian. She lives with her husband and two children in Crystal Cove, California. Visit her at JessiKirby.com.

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Read an Excerpt

1

Rain and wind pelted the ocean’s surface so hard it looked like it was boiling. In the passenger seat of our VW bus, I shivered despite the warm, muggy air. My dad jumped into the driver’s seat and shook the rain off.

“Weird summer storm, huh?” Water dripped from his face as he tried to catch my eye.

I looked away.

“You ready? Sure you’ve got everything?”

“Yep. Got it all.” I paused, staring straight out the windshield. “Oh, wait—except for my friends, my school, my life …”

“Anna—”

“I know. I’m gonna love it there. It’ll be just great.”

He started to say something but shook his head instead, cranked the key, and turned the music up to a volume that made it clear we were finished talking. I felt a pang of regret for being like that with him, but kept my eyes on the beach that he’d decided, without even asking me, to leave. The beach where I’d found a simple peace on my morning runs, and trolled for boys with my friends on lazy summer afternoons, and where I’d caught my last waves of the day, just as the sun slipped into the ocean. It was where my life was.

And where my mother had left hers.

I couldn’t understand it any more than I could put it into words, but tangled up with my anger at my dad over moving was a sense of guilt that ran deep in me. The stretch of water here belonged to my mother. And, somehow, leaving felt horribly wrong.

I would never have said it, though, even if I thought it’d change his mind. I knew well the boundaries we’d drawn. Instead I rested my temple on the rain-cooled passenger window and watched the churning ocean disappear through a blur of gray.

The dark all around threw me off. Apparently I had actually fallen asleep while pretending to be asleep so as to avoid talking to my dad. He put the car in park and stepped out to open the locked gate in front of us. When he looked back and motioned for me to slide over to the driver’s seat, I did so grudgingly and pulled our old bus forward, far enough so he had to back up a step or two, just to see if I could make him move. He didn’t seem to notice.

“You wanna drive on down, Anna?”

It was a stab at peace. Every time we’d talked for the last few weeks, we’d argued about why I couldn’t just live with my grandma and finish out high school at home, in Pismo Beach. Either he didn’t get it or he didn’t care how unfair it was, the way he’d changed everything like it was nothing. In a week’s time he’d taken a promotion and a transfer, packed up our life, and come to the cove to start a new one. Just like that.

His generous concession was that I could stay with my grandma for the rest of the summer. So while he’d moved in and started work, I’d spent my days on the beach, trying to feel the normal fun and lightness of summer. Shelby and Laura and I went on with our summer traditions. We paddled out at the pier on the Fourth of July so we could watch the fireworks fall down like rain over our heads. We camped out on the dunes, feasting on s’mores and getting spinney on wine coolers. We snuck into the hotel pools only to be shooed out by the owners, who’d known us since forever. And we didn’t mention that I was leaving. Instead we laughed at tourist boys for their loud board shorts and backward wet suits, and then at ourselves for flirting with them anyway.

But none of it was the same. For me, everything we did was weighted with the knowledge that I was leaving and the stark realization that their lives would go on nearly the same without me once I was gone. Mine was the one that would change.

It was a lonely thought, and I tried not to think about it. I had other worries. As soon as my dad had made his decision to take the transfer, something in him had shifted. There was a distance between us that was more than the result of me being angry about moving. He was just off somehow, only half there, and it unsettled me the same way watching a storm move in over the water did. I could tell he was trying hard to hide it and somehow hold on to the careful balance it had taken us so long to build. But the moment he’d made the decision to leave, that balance was all off. Which brought us to the cove.

“No, I don’t wanna drive down.” I scooted back over to my seat, and he got in, probably resigned to the fact that I was going to draw this out.

“Suit yourself.” He sounded tired. I looked out my window, arms crossed, and he tried again. “I think when you see the place you may have a change of heart.”

When I didn’t respond, he sighed and put the bus in gear. We rolled down a steep hill past a carved wooden sign that read CRYSTAL COVE STATE PARK. Just beyond it the road turned to dirt. He perked up and pointed out his open window to a tiny yellow cottage.

“This was the first building here, Building One. It was the check-in site for the old tent campers.” He said it like he was conducting a tour.

“Hm.” I curled my toes around the crank on the door and pushed it to crack the window. Cool salt air flowed in, and my mood lightened a little. We were definitely close to the water. The crash of the next wave confirmed it. I breathed in deeply, and my dad glanced over at me just before I could hide a small involuntary smile. He didn’t bother to hide his own as we trundled slowly across a white wooden bridge, our tires thunk-thunking over each plank.

The road made a little curve and opened up to a view that humbled me. A yellow moon hung low over calm, glassy water, creating a path of light that began at the horizon and ended with a splash on the slick sand. Just down the beach I could make out a point dotted with the silhouettes of jagged rocks, where a small wave stood up and broke with a surprisingly loud crash.

I rolled my window all the way down, and my dad broke into a grin. “This”—he motioned with his hand—“is our new front yard.” He waited for me to say something. “Not too bad, huh?”

In spite of myself I felt a little ripple of optimism rising. I looked at the row of cottages illuminated by pale moonlight, and attempted to sound only mildly interested. “So … we actually get to live here? In the park?” He nodded, obviously proud. “Which one is ours?”

He took his foot off the gas, and our tires crunched over the dirt road. “It’s right … up … here.” We came to a stop in front of a small white cottage with blue trim. Our new home. Literally on the beach. “Not bad for employee housing, huh?”

My resolve to stay mad was slipping away. Fast. I didn’t fight the genuine smile I felt spreading across my face. “Not bad.”

He got out and stood, arms stretched above his head, smiling out at the ocean. “Wanna jump in?” A wave broke, then rushed up the sand like an answer to his invitation.

“Seriously?”

“Yeah. That drive was brutal without the A/C.”

I shook my head, knowing that once I got into the water, my hard-fought battle would lose its bluster. He knew it too, and more often than not had coaxed me into a surf or a swim together to diffuse a fight. I watched for a second, torn a little between not wanting to concede and the desire to let the day’s tension slip beneath the slick surface of the water. I could swim straight out into the shining path of moonlight and let it go for now. Give it a chance. By the time I reached into my backpack to grab a bathing suit, my dad had already made his way to the water with steps so light they made me wonder if I’d been wrong about the change I’d sensed in him.

The water was warmer than I’d expected. I waded out, enjoying the slap of white water against my legs. When a wave rose in front of me, I took a breath and dove under. The familiar surge passed over me, bringing a calm kind of happiness, and I surfaced to meet the cool, fresh smell of the beach at night. Some things were the same everywhere.

I turned to float on my back and take the place in. Down on the beach it looked like a snapshot from long ago. Our beat-up VW bus parked in front of the weathered beach cottage was perfect. A simple, dreamy beach life. Sort of. Despite the calm that was all around me, I found myself almost waiting for the first ripples of the past to appear. I’d known the name Crystal Cove long before my dad had told me we were moving. According to my grandma, it was where my parents had met so many years ago, on summer vacation. My mother had been here, before I was even a thought. Maybe walked the beach, watched the sunset, went for a night swim …

My dad popped up behind me. “Almost too good to be true, huh?” His smile made him look like a kid.

I felt a momentary softness. It really was amazing, and he really was trying. Hard. “Yeah, it’s pretty great.”

“It is.” He said it almost to himself, then was quiet a long moment, and I knew what he was thinking. What he had to be thinking. I tensed and willed him not to feel the need to bring it up.

“This is where your mom and I first met, you know. Right down there on the beach.” He pointed south, suddenly wistful, and I froze. Though I’d known, hearing him say it turned my stomach.

“Yeah. I know.” I took a breath and went under, pulling myself past him beneath the surface. I didn’t want to go down this path tonight. Actually, I wasn’t sure I wanted to go down this path ever. We didn’t talk about these things. Our comfortable, mostly easy way of getting along with each other depended on not bringing up my mom. And now here we were. Amidst a whole lot of history I didn’t want to dig up.

I surfaced a few feet away and tried to sound light, but there was an edge to my voice. “Sooo, are we gonna stay out here all night, or do I get to see the place?”

My dad glanced down the beach, started to say something, and then thought better of it. “Yeah. Let’s go.” With that he looked over his shoulder just in time to catch the next wave in. I waited for another one and pushed off the sand with my toes. The swell lifted me, and I put my arms out in the face of it, gaining speed all the way to the sand.

As I stood, twisting water out of my hair, my dad strode over the sand below the dirt road in front of our house. I heard a tiny click, and a motion detector light flipped on. When it did, I noticed for the first time what looked like a condemned cottage sitting on the beach, backed up to the cliff. A drooping fence surrounded it, overgrown with ice plant, setting it apart from our row of restored cottages on the hill. I hadn’t even realized it was there. Now, though, in the yellow light, it stood like a piece of history preserved in time. The cracked windows were barely translucent from the mist and sand accumulated on them, and the whole shack leaned precariously, as if the weight of the vines sprawled over it were too much for it to bear. I shivered a little.

“Anna, you coming?” My dad reached into the bus and grabbed two towels, wrapping one around his waist. He didn’t even glance over at the dilapidated cottage. “Here. Towel for ya.” He held the other one out to me.

I fumbled with it for a second, then slung it over my shoulder, still unable to look away from the cottage. As we picked our way up the uneven stepping stones in front of our new house, I opened my mouth to ask about it, but changed my mind just as the light clicked off. I paused and squinted at the cottage in the dark, waiting for something. But there was nothing. Just the crash of another wave and the stillness that followed.

My dad put the key into the dead bolt and nudged the door with his shoulder. We stepped into hot, stale air and darkness. The smell was unfamiliar but not unpleasant—something of the old wood the cottage was built of. The light flipped on, and he went straight to opening the windows.

“Gets a little stuffy in here all closed up.” He pulled a latch and threw open another window.

In the dim light I could see that the hardwood floor had been painted over with brick red paint. The pale yellow walls were smudged and cracked. It wasn’t my grandmother’s house, that was for sure. Once my dad had gotten here, he’d called to say it probably was a good idea for me to stay back with her while he came down here to get settled. I could see why. The place wasn’t exactly homey. Not much hung on the walls or softened the emptiness of it. In the few weeks I’d spent with my grandmother, I had grown accustomed to a comfortable life. She doted on me like I pictured her doting on my dad as a kid, complete with a commercial-perfect breakfast every morning and clean sheets every Sunday. Here I could see that wouldn’t be the case.

He must have seen it on my face. “I know. It needs some help. We’ll have plenty of time for that. I’ve been putting in a lot of hours since I got here.” I nodded skeptically, eyeing his sunburned face. “Plus, I figured maybe you’d have fun decorating.” I was silent. “Hey. I got started.” He gestured to a set of shelves in a little alcove.

In his own way he had tried. Scattered over the shelves were pictures of us that I knew were his favorites. Almost all were images of us smiling at the camera from a boat or our surfboards, happy and tanned. Between the picture frames were a few seashells—his attempt at decorating. I set my bag down.

“As long as you’re forcing me to be here, I guess there are a few things I could do with the place.” I gestured at the giant picture window framing the moon and the water. “I don’t think we should put curtains up there. It’s too pretty to cover up.” We looked out at the water, quiet, and it felt like one of those moments that was heavy with the things we didn’t want to say out loud.

“Well, come on. I’ll give you the full tour.” He put a hand on my shoulder and steered me through a narrow doorway, then flipped another light switch. “This”—he swept his arm over a bare room with a bed in the middle—“is my room.”

“Wow, Dad … this is depressing.” I glanced around. On his ancient dresser was a plate-size abalone shell he had found on a dive in Mexico. Another attempt at decorating. Above it hung a black-and-white picture of my mom, from when they had first met. At this beach. In it she stood at the waterline looking down, like she was unaware of the camera. She wore a white sundress and a calm almost-smile. I squinted to see if I could glimpse any of the cottages in the background, but then felt my dad looking at it too, starting to get lost in the thought of it again.

I clapped my hands together and looked around. “So. Where’s my room?”

“Well, you have to go through my room to get to yours, but you have an outside door too.” My mind hummed at the potential of this as I followed him past his bed and to another doorway. He stopped, hand on the doorknob to my room, and turned abruptly to face me, so that I almost ran into him.

“Listen.” He took me by the shoulders. “I know I asked a lot of you, to pick up and move.”

My eyes welled up instantly, for too many reasons to name.

“And maybe you don’t understand all the reasons I decided to take the transfer.” Maybe I didn’t understand?

I kept myself from saying anything, because I knew exactly how it would come out. I was too tired to start it all over again, so I let him go on.

“Honestly, I’m not sure I do either. But I think, if you give it a chance, you’re gonna love it here. It’s a pretty special place. Wait till you wake up in the morning and look outside.” He squeezed my shoulders, searched my eyes for an answer.

I sniffed and nodded, trying to smooth it over for now. It couldn’t be easy for him, either. “That beach out there is the only thing you have going for your case, you know.”

He smiled and opened the door to my room. All of my furniture was there, unpacked. He had even made up the bed.

“You arrange it however you want. I just didn’t want you to come home to an empty room.” He cleared his throat. “Most of your stuff is still in those boxes, but I got a few things out. You still have plenty of time to get settled in before school starts.”

I stood in the middle of my new room, amidst my things, and tried to feel it. The word “home.” But it wasn’t there yet. For me, anyway. When my dad said it, though, it had a ring of old familiarity to it, and that was somehow comforting. I sat down on the edge of my bed, which felt the same as it had back home, ran my hand over the same worn-soft quilt.

He rubbed his neck. “I gotta open the park in the morning, so I won’t be here when you get up, but I’ll leave some money on the counter if you wanna walk up to the Shake Shack for lunch. We can go for a dive or a surf or something when I get off.” He walked over and kissed the top of my head. “Good night, kiddo. I love you.”

“Mm-hm. You too.”

When the door closed, I stood up and looked around again. On top of my dresser sat my jar of sea glass, full with the greens and blues of countless hours spent combing the beach. I walked over and examined it, wondering what the ocean might uncover here, on this beach. Maybe a rare piece—purple, or yellow, or red. I set the jar on my nightstand, where it belonged, then changed out of my wet swimsuit.

Any other day I would have opened my door to the outside and sat on the step, breathing in the night and listening to the ocean. But this day had been long and heavy, and the only thing I wanted was to start over in the light of the morning. I climbed into the cool of my sheets and switched off the light. For a long time I lay there listening to the sounds of my new home. The most noticeable was the rhythmic smack of waves on the shore, and then the static-like sound of their foam rolling up in disorganized ripples. The rest of the night outside was silent.

I wondered what Laura and Shelby were doing at this moment. Thought of my grandma, probably sitting up with her glass of wine and a “late movie,” like she loved to watch. I replayed the conversation I’d had with my dad, spoken and unspoken, until I had myself convinced we’d be all right here … somehow. But then I rolled onto my side and thought of my mother, here on this beach.

And like a reflex I closed my eyes against it all.

© 2011 Jessi Kirby

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 61 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(37)

4 Star

(13)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

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1 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 62 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Moonglass was absolutely beautiful!

    I am so happy that I decided to check out this book from the library. It had lots of detailed paragraphs that made me feel like I was also experiencing Anna's new life in Crystal Cove. Moonglass reminded me of how much I love the beach and hot summers. Jessi Kirby knows how to make you laugh, cry, and everything in between. I found myself tearing up near the last few pages of the book. I fell in love with Kirby's characters. Even though Anna has been going through her mother's death for ten years, she stays strong. She's also brave and different from how Kirby describes the other people living in Newport Beach. (Teens with tons of money, designer everything) Anna's dad seems to remind me of my own. He can be mean and strict at times, but only because he loves and cares about Anna. Tyler is different than most characters in contemporary novels like this; he's unpredictable. I like how Kirby doesn't rush Anna's and Tyler's relationship. Finally, I adore the book cover. Its color scheme and the setting on the beach is gorgeous! Props to whoever designed the book jacket. Its amazing. If you haven't read Moonglass already, I highly recommend that you read it. Its an amazing debut novel and a lovely summer read!

    Twitter: @teenagereader

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Beautiful and light.

    If someone told me this was Jessi's debut novel I wouldn't have believed it! Moonglass is beautiful, light and has the affect of making me tear up a couple times.

    Anna is flooded with questions and emotions when she is slowly picking up pieces of her mom's history. Emotions that she pushes down when she turns up at a new house, the very place her parents first met. Although she goes to school, it mostly focuses around her and her house on the beach. As many people have mentioned the beach becomes a character of its own. I feel so connected to the cove and the whole setting. I don't think I've ever enjoyed a setting so much and how it means so much to the book.

    I can't possibly understand the feelings of losing a mom, but I can relate to losing someone you care about. Anna is a character that I can connect with and someone I end up caring so much about throughout the story. Jessi wrote it so well that I felt the love and pain she feels whenever she think of her mom.

    If you're wondering what's her love life like and is there a guy? (One of the first questions I always ask) Then yes. Tyler is an easy going life-guard that's realistic. He's written out in a way that makes me feel like I could possibly walk out side and maybe bump into someone like him. Honestly though, I didn't see much in him and why Anna liked him so much in the beginning. But there's this loving quality about him that I grew to like.

    What I loved most was how moonglass tied the whole story together. They are usually called sea glass, but moonglass is a word Anna and her mom made up. Whenever they found a piece of sea glass during a full moon it'd be called, moonglass. It just fit so well and wrapped up the story like the finishing touches of a bow. You'll have to read the book to see how it ties in so perfectly!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Vivid & Atmospheric - The Perfect Lazy Day Read

    Moonglass is truly a stunning book, with its atmospheric setting and poignant storytelling. It pulls the reader into its pages and drops them right on the sand with Anna, fumbling for purchase in a new town, on a new beach, with no friends and the weight of the memories of a mother she never really got to know.

    Kirby balances Anna's growing sadness with a sweet love story and quite a few amusing characters. Tyler is everything a beach-loving girl could want. He's gorgeous, a lifeguard, and confident without being overly cocky. His personality is electric and the reader will feel that, along with Anna. Then there's Ashley, Anna's first new friend, who is pretty much a bimbo, but very innocent and impossible not to like. Jillian, Anna's cross-country teammate, is such a contrast to Ashley, but her backstory plays well into Anna's.

    The focus of the story is Anna and her family though, her dead mother, her father, and the world the two of them left behind; the world that Anna never knew, but that her father has pulled her to. Kirby's vivid descriptions of the ocean, the sea glass, Anna's 'moonglass,' and the story of the mermaids is heartbreaking and poetic. This small community that Anna first views as foreign becomes such a huge part of who she is. Every detail is important; every character adds to the intrigue about Anna's mother and towards the end I was near tears.

    Moonglass is a beautiful debut that is the perfect summer read. It delicately confronts family issues, while allowing for a romance to bloom. If you're heading out to the beach or plan on spending a night overlooking the water, grab this one to bring with you.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2011

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    One Great Summer Read

    Moonglass, by Jessi Kirby: The Plot
    Anna is an active 16 year old girl raised beach side by her father who lifeguards locally. When he is offered a lead position, Anna is moved back to the town where her mother and father met years before. After the death of her mother when Anna was young, she finds her relationship with her father slowly becoming quieter and now she will be leaving behind the only home she has ever known and the few good memories she still clings to before the tragedy accrued. This new beach home for Anna is where she unravels the mysteries of her parent relationship, realizes the truth behind her mother's death, finds an unlikely friend, feels the spark of romance, takes the first step at repairing the space between her and her father and discovers the courage she never knew she had.
    Why Moonglass is this months: Best Book Ever
    The Writing: As a frequent reader of the YA genre, I have noticed that not all authors are of the same caliber in their own personal style of writing. Sometimes, a YA book will seem as though it was written as a Junior High english assignment. The story may read choppy, the conflict can seem trite and many times the description of emotion will make me want to physically roll my eyes! Kirby however, fluently puts together a story that is not only intriguing, but emotional and thought provoking. Anna, the main character, is just plain relatable. You can imagine yourself being friends with her, you have sympathy for her and you want to know what is going on with her family just as much as she does. This is important. If the author cannot write a character I care about and is simply to unrealistic in her thoughts and emotion, I'm out. I do not want to read some 12 year olds journal doodling of her hopes, dreams and disappointments. The writing of Moonglass can transcend to the adult category simply on the style of writing alone. As a matter of fact, it has passed some of the toughest reading critics I know: my mother-in-law, who generally doesn't agree with me on what's likable and what's not, and Yolanda, a teacher from my school who sets the bar very high on anything in the entertainment realm. I have given it to people who sat down and read it in a day and came back to me and told me that it brought up feelings of their own upbringing and I have had people tell me that they loved the description of the way the everyday things were true to life, like the way Anna felt during a run. Brenda, was even late to work one morning because she just had to sit in her car and finish the book uninterrupted and then handed it to me with tears in her eyes. The truth is I have had several people read it and I haven't met the person yet who didn't truly enjoy the story.

    The Setting: The Beach...who doesn't love to read a great book set on the beach during the summer. Even better, I just went camping at the beach this weekend and kept thinking that I wished I had brought it with me. It's perfect for July's BBE, so if you are on your way to the coast right now as we speak, stop by B&N and put the cash down for this book before you get there, it will only make it better!

    The Crystal Cove Store where Kirby did her book signing on
    on the 1st weekend of the official release of Moonglass
    It's All In The Details! Let me try and give you some details behind the elements of this story from a round-about interview I had with the author without raising any spoiler alerts. The view from

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2012

    Anonymous

    Ms. Kirby's my library teacher!!!!!!!

    Great book for the emotional reader absolutely love it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2012

    My favorite book!

    This is one of the best books have ever read! Its a beach romance what gets better than that!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 7, 2011

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    Review: Moonglass

    've been reading way to much paranormal. At any given moment, I honestly expected the truth to come out that Anna's mom was really a mermaid. I was really happy to see that this is really just a fantastic contemporary book about dealing with truth's long hidden.

    I really enjoyed Anna's character. I got the impression right away the she was in a little bit of denial of what might have happened the night her mother died. And since neither she nor her father like to talk about it, I'm not surprised that the truth has managed to stay buried for so long. I do like the relationship she had with her father. They seem to get along really well outside of the one taboo subject. I found humor in the fact that her father doesn't like her to hang out with the very people he's worked with his entire life. I also liked Anna's relationship with Tyler. It felt real and that's always a change of pace from instant romance. She doesn't trust her feelings, and he's weary of the boss's daughter.

    I think my favorite part of this book was the ocean itself. It's seem to be a character in the book. Anna reacts to it. It makes her feel things that she's really want to deal with. And she becomes familiar with it and her mother that she didn't know in relationship with this place, she begins to remember bits and pieces of that night that she has long buried. Really a beautiful setting for this type of book.

    I look forward to another book by Kirby. I understand the need to do something different, but she really has a knack for the ocean setting and I would mind reading something with it again!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 15, 2011

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    Beautiful Book!

    I love books that have to deal with forgiveness. Sometimes in life, bad things come at you, you don't understand till years later and then BAM! You realize your angry. You understand the situation more, but you still don't understand why it happen that way. You want explanations. You want answers now, but more importantly, you need to let it go.

    Anna is that girl. Caught in the sea of dying secrets, she needed to understand, that she wanted answers to. Anna, I felt everything for this girl. She was so young when it happen, so she didn't grasp the whole thing. When she starts to learn about the past and what it held, she let it out. I felt tears prickling down my face as I fell into Anna's shoes. So much of her was lost that night and so much of her is hurt. I loved her determination to find out what really happened. But what I loved more is that once she saw the whole picture, she understood, and let go.

    I am so very grateful for the love interest in this book. If it weren't for him opening the doors for her to see, she might not have seen it all. Also, she needed him. He help her a lot with understanding and seeing it differently from another point of view. One thing that amazed in this book that really took me by surprised in this story was the beach bum. Yeah that's right, he played a bigger part than I ever imagined.

    This is a beautifully written story about a girl who finds answers to a question that has boiled in her soul forever. One that will change everything that she knew. It is a tear jerker, so if you decided to read this, grab your tissue box!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 22, 2011

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    Good but not Great

    Moonglass has been on my wishlist for a while now based on the cover and summary, so when I finally got my hands on a copy I was nothing short of ecstatic. Thankfully, while Moonglass did contain a few downsides, it still was a great debut filled with interesting, relatable main characters and beautiful scenery.

    Anna's life has not nearly been the same since her mother's sudden death ten years ago. Her and her mother used to be the best of mother-daughter teams. They collected sea glass on the beach every day, and bonded over their love of the ocean. Now, ten years later, Anna's dad is ready to pack-up and move on to the town where Anna's mom and he fell in love. Scared to leave behind her memories, friends, and life behind, Ann reluctantly leaves only to meet with some unexpected surprises. From great friends, to a new love interest, to a chance to become an "official" runner, Anna is enjoying her new life. Slinking around the amazing things, however, is secrets and drama about her mother's last day and life that Anna could never have imagined. Will Anna be able to survive once everything tumbles out, or will her life once again take an interesting and deathly turn? Only time and more pages will tell in this read of love, loss, and remembrance.

    From the first page, I knew I would like Anna. Sweet, candid, and determined, Anna is someone you cannot help but root for and relate to for the majority of the story. What I loved most about her character, though, was the relationships she had with the other characters. The one with her mom was complicated beyond words, and Jessi Kirby presented it in a powerful way that nearly made me cry once or twice due to not only Anna's memories but also her distress over her mother's death. On the other hand, Anna's relationship with her Dad always brought a smile to my face, because it was easy to see just how much they cared about the other. Anna's ones with her new friends were my absolute favorite simply based on the secondary characters' personalities and the different ways they changed Anna's life for the better in small but important ways.

    The plot in this moved in swift yet slow motions that always managed to carry this novel at a great pace. While the plot events were always a bit predictable, I still managed to be surprised once or twice, especially towards the end. Best of all, the scenery details in this are beautiful. I truly could always imagine a cozy and beautiful beach town, which makes this a perfect summer read based on setting alone, in my opinion.

    However, there were a few things in Moonglass that it made it fall of the "amazing" scale a few points. For one, I felt that Anna's romance with Tyler was lacking necessary development, and while the lack of development in this aspect lead for more development in other placed that I enjoyed, I feel Moonglass would have been even better with it. The other thing that brought down the "amazing" was the Sarah Dessen references. Because while there is nothing I love better than a Dessen-like story I always loathe when the novel does not live up it, as in effect it makes the story less perfect in my eyes so to say.

    Even with that, Jessi Kirby's Moonglass is an impressive debut that I still recommended highly. I simply cannot wait to see what Jessi has up her sleeve for her sophomore novel.

    Grade: B

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 27, 2011

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    Review from Blkosiner's Book Blog

    This is a perfect mixture of grief and romance. I really connected with the main character Anna, and Ms. Kirby wrote her emotions beautifully and they really evoke a response.
    I enjoyed reading about Anna's relationship with her father, there is pain that they work through, time honored family traditions that they uphold, and I really enjoyed the parts where they get honest with each other.
    Anna's relationship with Tyler is sweet, and he really is a good guy even though his reactions to some stuff still really has me puzzled. But, that is just the trademark of a well written and true to form guy.
    The friendships that are formed in this book are a bit surprising. Ashley is both the opposite and exactly what I expected, and I really like the competition and comradry between Anna and Jillian.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 27, 2013

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    Anna's story begins on a rainy and windy day, indeed fitting he


    Anna's story begins on a rainy and windy day, indeed fitting her mood. She and her father just packed up everything they own and are on their way to their new home. Moving to a new town is never easy. New school, friends and crush.
    And Anna's finding a friend pretty quickly after moving to Crystal Cove, or better said she's found. Anna's trying to keep her distance but no one can resist cheerful and devoted Ashley. They both join the school's cross-country team and the sportive meetings and bubbly personality of Ashley add a lot of positive energy to the story.

    Tyler is a local lifeguard who offers Anna a new chance for love and trust. Their relationship has its sweet and daring moments. It was a welcome change to see there were no major conflicts troubling Anna and Tyler's relationship because they deserved some quiet and peaceful time to find to each other. I just wish we had more time to follow the development of their love story.

    MOONGLASS is not only sunny beach days. It's also a story about regret and a terrible family tragedy. Short falsh backs to the past show how much Anna's remembering of one unfortunate night many years ago. You can see that the death of Anna's mother still affects her very much. The beach will always be a reminder of her lost mother and at the same time a source for Anna to draw new energy and recover.

    This all beach-themed read takes you to the beautiful place of Crystal Cove with wide long beaches and shimmering blue water. Jessi Kirby's writing magically makes it your temporary second home. How I wish I lived there. Scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming, surfing, a bonfire and BBQs are only a selection of the fun beach activities we are invited to partake in.

    The first book I read by Jessi Kirby was IN HONOR, followed by GOLDEN and MOONGLASS. One thing they have in common are their unsatisfying endings, making us leave our characters too early and too abrupt after major-life changing events. To sum up, I can say that I did enjoy all of Jessi Kirby's novels so far and with nearly over 230 pages MOONGLASS serves as a quick beach read, one I would always recommend.


    4/5 **** MOONGLASS – A contemplative and uniquely soulful beach read.

    A right portion of soothing, lulling beach moments and kisses stolen in the moonlight are Jessi Kirby's formula to heal a broken heart. Like sea glass her debut has many facets and colors to shine with, so take your time to find them all!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2013

    Great

    This novel was amazing I LOVED it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2013

    I have to read this

    I have to read this in my reading i chose to i think i am going to like this.

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  • Posted February 17, 2013

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    I Also Recommend:

    oh my gosh, i loved this book!  it was beautiful in every way!  

    oh my gosh, i loved this book!  it was beautiful in every way!  the writing was extravagant and the characters were truly believable and i fell for them.  i went through Anna's journey with her and ached for her.  this book was marvelous and oh my gosh, i just really want to read it again.  it was a tale of loss and forgiveness.  it was truly fantastic.  i highly recommend this book to anyone.  i'm normally into paranormal teen books but this one tugged at my heart strings!  it's great and i cant wait to see what Jessi Kirby comes out with next!  hopefully it'll be just as good as Moonglass.  Moonglass was creative and was a breath of fresh air from the genres of dystopian worlds and vampires, werewolves, etc.  truly original!  you must read this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2013

    I don¿t think Moonglass is a bad book, I¿m sure lots of people w

    I don’t think Moonglass is a bad book, I’m sure lots of people will love it, but I didn’t particularly care for it. I never connected with the book.

    Characters

    There wasn’t a single point in this book when I felt connected to the characters. I never related to the main characters or the secondary characters. I know what Kirby was trying to do with Anna, but the entire time I was reading the book I felt like the author was constantly nudging Anna along, forcing her to do things, instead of letting the character morph into her own personality and act of her own free will. This was a pattern that the author followed with the rest of the characters.

    Plot

    Kirby wanted Anna to realize what happened to her mother, and repair the relationship with Anna’s father. She did a really nice job of sticking to her plot.

    Ending

    The ending of the book, Kirby tied up all the loose ends, and answered all the questions. When the book ended, I got the sense that the answers Anna found left her an even more damaged character than she’d been when she moved to the beach. I wish the author would have spent a bit more time discussing why Anna’s father felt the need to move back to beach where so many things had happened.

    Writing

    If you like the way Sarah Dessen writes, you’ll love Kirby’s style. She does an amazing job using words to pain intense images, and has lovely lyrical sentences.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2012

    Maoonglass

    Moonglass is a grest book i am reading it now and its such a good book i would recomend this book for anyone who like romance and the beach

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2012

    Love

    Awesome summer read!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 4, 2012

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    Moonglass is a beautifully written novel of acceptance and self-

    Moonglass is a beautifully written novel of acceptance and self-discovery set against the sun-soaked sand and waves of summer.

    I loved the character of Anna, as she's just the right balance of smart, confident, tough, and yet still vulnerable. She's also very easy to relate to because she doesn't always make the right decision. She's had to become very mentally strong to deal with the death of her mother and I loved getting to watch as she slowly let new people into her life. I also appreciated the realistic, if not strained relationship that Anna shares with her father.

    I really enjoyed the pacing and unpredictability of Anna and Tyler's relationship since I never really knew what to expect from it. One minute I'd think it wasn't really going anywhere, and then the next, I'd be wondering why they weren't already making out somewhere, LOL.

    One relationship I wanted to learn more about was Tyler's relationship to Jessica. I can't talk to much about it without giving anything away, but I will say that I expected more of an explanation to what happened. I felt kind of cheated that this "thing" only gets a very small mention. I think if each of them had discussed more about what happened, it could have provided Tyler and Jessica with more depth and a deeper understanding of Anna's personality.

    The way in which author Jessi Kirby slowly reveals the details of Anna's, mother's death is truly moving, not just for Anna but for the reader as well. It also help to better explain the strained relationship and distance that has grown between Anna and her father. I loved all the mermaid metaphors that were used throughout the book since they truly helped to capture the atmosphere and mood of the story.

    Recommended to any fan of YA contemps. Jessi Kirby is an author to watch and Moonglass is a novel that shouldn't be missed.

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  • Posted February 28, 2012

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    a great, summery read with a lot of substance besides.

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

    Ten years ago Anna watched her mother walk into the ocean without a second thought about anything--even her own daughter.

    Now instead of starting her Junior year at home surrounded by familiar faces and memories, Anna is moving with her father to a new town and a new beach. Except, the beach cottage isn't as fresh a start as Anna thought.

    Sure, Anna does get a fresh start here with the cute lifeguards her father has declared off limits, runs along the beach, and even some new friends. But she is also surrounded by old ghosts and the weight of blame from her mother's suicide still looms large between Anna and her father.

    In a new town, with new people, Anna still hunts for sea glass on the beach--just like she did with her mother. The only differences is this time Anna might find a way to move on mixed in with those colorful pieces of sea-tumbled glass in Moonglass (2011) by Jessi Kirby.

    Moonglass is Kirby's first novel.

    Anna is an excellent narrator. She loves the beach, she is athletic and above all she is ultimately real. Parts of the story felt almost too surreal but by the end of the story it all tied together in a way that worked for the characters and the plot. Kirby does an admirable job looking at loss and the often uncomfortable topic of guilt. All of the characters have a certain dignity about them and, by the end, they also have a bit of closure.

    At 224 pages (hardcover), Moonglass is quite short compared to some books. The brevity allows Kirby to create a tight story that holds a reader's attention even in a book that is much more about characters than plot in a lot of ways. Unfortunately it also does not leave time to expand certain areas including an almost abrupt (and definitely wide open) ending and backgrounds for some secondary characters.

    Kirby's writing is reminiscent of the evocative, subtle voice Sarah Dessen and Deb Caletti use to such great effect. Her atmospheric writing brings the beach to life. Moonglass is a great, summery read with a lot of substance besides. Kirby is definitely an author to watch.

    Possible Pairings: The Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti, A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley, What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen, Drawing the Ocean by Carolyn MacCullough, The Miles Between by Mary E. Pearson, Absolutely Maybe by Lisa Yee

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  • Posted January 15, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Love, love, loved Moonglass!

    A stunning debut novel. The characters, setting, story line all written beautifully. Can't wait for Kirby's second novel, IN HONOR , May 2012!

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