The Girl Who Drank the Moon

by Kelly Barnhill (Author)

Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade
Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the Forest, Xan, is kind. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon. Xan rescues the children and delivers them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey.

One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. As Luna's thirteenth birthday approaches, her magic begins to emerge--with dangerous consequences. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Deadly birds with uncertain intentions flock nearby. A volcano, quiet for centuries, rumbles just beneath the earth's surface. And the woman with the Tiger's heart is on the prowl . . .

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review
Guaranteed to enchant, enthrall, and enmagick . . . Replete with traditional motifs, this nontraditional fairy tale boasts sinister and endearing characters, magical elements, strong storytelling, and unleashed forces.

Booklist

Starred Review
Rich with multiple plotlines that culminate in a suspenseful climax, characters of inspiring integrity, a world with elements of both whimsy and treachery, and prose that melds into poetry. A sure bet for anyone who enjoys a truly fantastic story.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

Xan, a kindhearted witch, lives in the woods with an erudite swamp monster, Glerk, and a lovable "Perfectly Tiny Dragon," Fyrian. Every year she finds a new home for a baby the sorrowful people of the Protectorate leave in the woods on the Day of Sacrifice. One year, she accidentally "enmagicks" a baby with moonlight, so the three decide to raise her as their own, their Luna. But Luna's magic is strong, and before her 13th birthday, events unfold that will change everything she has known. Barnhill (The Witch's Boy) crafts another captivating fantasy, this time in the vein of Into the Woods. Via intricately woven chapters that follow Luna, her unusual family, the devious Grand Elder of the Protectorate, his honorable nephew and niece, the mysterious Sister Ignatia, and a sympathetic "madwoman" in a tower, Barnhill delivers an escalating plot filled with foreshadowing, well-developed characters, and a fully realized setting, all highlighting her lyrical storytelling. As the characters search for family, protect secrets, and seek truth, they realize that anything can happen in the woods--when magic is involved. Ages 10-up. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Aug.)

Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Gr 4-6--In a vividly created fantastical realm, a baby is left in the forest, according to an annual tradition of sacrifice. Discovered by a kind witch, who mistakenly feeds the child moonlight, the girl grows up with a potent power she must learn to control. This swiftly paced and highly imaginative title expertly weaves myriad threads into a memorable story that will easily enchant readers.

Copyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

2017 Newbery Medal Winner
A New York Times Bestseller
A New York Public Library Best Book of 2016

A Chicago Public Library Best Book of 2016

"Impossible to put down . . . The Girl Who Drank the Moon is as exciting and layered as classics like Peter Pan or TheWizard of Oz."
The New York Times Book Review

"A gorgeously written fantasy about a girl who becomes "enmagicked" after the witch who saves her from death feeds her moonlight."
—People

"[Barnhill's] next middle grade sensation."
—EW.com

"With compelling, beautiful prose, Kelly Barnhill spins the enchanting tale of a kindly witch who accidentally gives a normal baby magic powers, then decides to raise her as her own."
—EW.com, The Best Middle-Grade Books of 2016

"Barnhill writes with gentle elegance, conveying a deeply emotional and heartrending tale with accessible, fluid prose. Characters are skillfully developed: the heroes are flawed, the villains are humanized, and they are forgiven for sins they may or may have not intended. The swamp monster and dragon provide plenty of moments of humor to leaven the pathos, while the setting is infused with fairy tale elements, both magical and menacing, and given a tragic history. Fans of Barnhill's The Witch's Boy and Iron Hearted Violet will find similar intersections of love, loss, and identity here."
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review

"The Girl Who Drank the Moon takes a probing look at social complexity and the high cost of secrets and lies, weaving multiple perspectives, past and present, into one cleverly unfolding fairy tale. Barnhill crafts wonderfully imperfect characters with poetic prose, warmth and wit. The resiliency of the heroes may be partly because of magic, but also because of critical thinking, empathy, deep love and the strength of family in all its unconventional manifestations. Thoughtful and utterly spellbinding."
Shelf Awareness for Readers, starred review

"Barnhill's impeccable writing makes for effortless reading, while she spins her plot with perfect pacing. Packed within the story are some tremendously thought-provoking themes which elevate this quite beyond an ordinary fantasy and make it a superb choice for a middle-grade-and-older book club."
OrangeMarmaladeBooks.com
Kelly Barnhill
Kelly Barnhill lives in Minnesota with her husband and three children. She is the author of four novels, most recently The Girl Who Drank the Moon, winner of the Newbery Medal. The Witch's Boy received four starred reviews and was a finalist for the Min­nesota Book Awards. Kelly Barnhill has been awarded writing fellowships from the Jerome Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board, and the McKnight Foundation. Visit her online at kellybarnhill.wordpress.com or on Twitter: @kellybarnhill.
Classification
Fiction
ISBN-13
9781616205676
Lexile Measure
640L
Guided Reading Level
X
Publisher
Algonquin Young Readers
Publication date
August 20, 2016
Series
-
BISAC categories
JUV037000 - Juvenile Fiction | Fantasy & Magic
JUV001000 - Juvenile Fiction | Action & Adventure
Library of Congress categories
Friendship
Magic
Dragons
Friendship in children
Fantasy
Witches
Newbery Medal
Winner 2017 - 2017

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