Friday, May 6, 2011

Moonglass by Jessi Kirby

MoonglassMoonglass by Jessi Kirby

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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.

My take: This debut novel by author Jessi Kirby takes on a couple of heavy topics. I found her writing style to easy and flowing and her understanding of the ocean, currents, diving (like spitting in your goggles to keep them from fogging up), along with distance running and ocean creatures to be intriguing, well written, and accurate.

Kirby begins the novel with the protagonist's memory of her mother's suicide then skips forward 9 years where she and her father are relocating to a different beach for his job. This is the beginning of closure for both Anna, her father, and a surprising secondary character. I really enjoyed the inclusion of this character and a deeper understanding of his motivation and crosses to bear.

The author broaches the subjects of suicide, guilt, blame, and mental illness. Very well written and not laden with heavy terms. The protagonist is likeable, her supporting cast is diverse and enjoyable, and father/daughter relationship is well represented.

Well done.

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