by Kelly Barnhill
Middle grade chapter book
Interest level: grades 5-8
5 out of 5 stars
This book is set to be released on Aug. 15, 2016.
This is an extremely well-written middle grade novel that has fairy tale qualities, and also tackles magic, love, and the creation of the world by a bog/beast/poet. Kelly Barnhill has created well-developed characters and a fully realized setting in a fairy tale type world. While a longer read at a little under 400 pages, the plot is well-paced and keeps the reader engaged and moving through the story.
The main character is Luna, a young girl about to turn 13. Luna’s birth parents live in a cursed village that is shrouded in gloom. Each year the village elders take the youngest child in the village and leave it in the forest for a witch. The village believes that the sacrifice will keep the witch from attacking the city. The witch does come to get Luna in the forest, but as she has done every year, the witch rescues the orphaned child.
Thus begins the story where the reader learns that all is not as it seems in the village, and the witch is actually a healer with magical abilities. As Luna gets older, the reader watches as the two worlds — the village and the witch’s — start to intersect, and the truth begins to be revealed.
The story is suspenseful and complex, so I would recommend this book to more mature readers in grades 4 and up.