Skip to main content

Moonpenny Island

Moonpenny Island by Tricia Springstubb is a book about family and friendship that is perfect for MG readers who enjoy quiet introspective reads.

Flor and Sylvie have lived on Moonpenny Island all of their lives and are the best of friends. Living on a small island in the middle of a great lake, the girls are really each other's only option for friends. The summer people come and they go and there are not that many island residences. But they have a deep and strong friendship bonded by more than just convenience. Everything is about to change for the girls as Sylvie is being sent to the mainland to live with her aunt and uncle so she has better opportunities at school. Flor is devastated. Before her world can right itself, Flor's mother then leaves to help take care of her sick mother. But is that just an excuse? Flor knows how bad things are between her parents. They are always fighting. Flor is determined nothing else in her world will change and focuses on keeping her teenage sister, who is acting odd, from doing anything stupid and leaving too. In the midst of all this turmoil, a geologist and his daughter come to the island and Flor discovers that it is possible to allow for new and different people into her heart and life.

Flor's story is one that many MG readers will be able to identify it. Despite the almost magical setting of the small island which most readers won't relate to, the other aspects of the story are universal. Flor's search for stability and her fierce opposition to change despite it being the best thing for those involved is one that will resonate. Readers who have ever feared their parents' separating or have experienced it will find much in this book to identify with. Anyone who has ever lost a friend to a move will likewise be able to understand and feel Flor's pain. I enjoyed the developing friendships Flor discovers once Sylvie leaves and the community of the small island. I think that Springstubb did a great job bringing all the characters to life and making the island feel real. I particularly enjoyed the the tension and relationship between Sylvie's older brother and everyone else on the island. There was a lot of nuance and depth to that whole storyline that is incredibly well done. Exactly enough to show the complexities of it, but without so much detail that it will confuse young readers.

Moonpenny Island is fairly typical realistic MG fiction. It's about a bookish girl who has to come to terms with changes in her family and friendships. It will be a familiar set-up to anyone who reads a lot in the category. There isn't really anything in it that will surprise those readers. but it may hit exactly the right sort of mark because of this familiarity and predictability. There is comfort in the known. These books aren't exactly my favorites, but I recognize that those who love these sorts of books will also love this one. It is deserving of it. One quibble I have is in the narrative voice. The narration is third person, but it is so limited to Flor and sounds so much like her that it is easy to slip into believing it's first. It happened to me. Then the narrator would refer to Flor in third person and it was so disruptive that it pulled me out of the story every time. Eventually it really started to annoy me and had me convinced it would have been so much better in first person.

I read an e-galley provided by the publisher, Balzer & Bray, via Edelweiss. Moonpenny Island goes on sale February 10.


Popular posts from this blog

TTT: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly themed blog hop created by  The Broke and the Bookish  and now hosted at  That Artsy Reader Girl . This Week's Topic: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List From Most Recent to Least: What books have recently caught your eye?

Favorite Kissing Scenes

When thinking of a favorite things post I could do for February I decided it would have to be kissing. I've already done couples and I was feeling in the mood to do something fluffy and Valentine's related. So kisses it is. I read more MG than YA, and the YA I read tends to not focus on romance so this was actually harder than I expected it to be though a few jumped into my head right away. (And one of my choices does actually come from a MG book. One is adult. Gasp!) The actual scene from the book is quoted followed by my thoughts. The king lifted a hand to her cheek and kissed her. It was not a kiss between strangers, not even a kiss between a bride and a groom. It was a kiss between a man and his wife, and when it was over, the king closed his eyes and rested his forehead against the hollow of the queen's shoulder, like a man seeking respite, like a man reaching home at the end of the day . - The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner Turner doesn't write the


Shadowshaper  by Daniel José Older is everywhere. Best of lists. Award buzz. Blogs everywhere. It's one of those books everyone is reading and talking about. I had it on my TBR but decided I definitely needed to read it before the year was out just so I could weigh in on one of the most talked about books of 2015 if asked. It is deserving of every good thing said about it. Every. One. Sierra was looking forward to a relaxing summer break. Her plans involved hanging out with her friends and painting. They did not involve being chased by zombie like creatures and threatened by a magical power connected to her family's heritage she has never heard of. When murals begin fading all over her Brooklyn neighborhood, Sierra is perplexed. When her grandfather, who had a stroke, begins to apologize and starts repeating strange phases and insisting Sierra get the help of a boy she barely knows to help her finish her mural, Sierra is concerned but mostly about her grandfather. Then at a

Serafina and the Black Cloak

Serafina and the Black Cloak  by Robert Beatty is a thrilling tale of mystery and adventure set at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC in 1899. Having lived in Asheville and visited the house several times, there was no way I was going to pass up a chance to read this. (Also it's MG fantasy, always a bonus for me.) Serafina lives in secret in the basement of the Vanderbilt's spacious vacation home. She has lived there most of her life. Her father worked on the house as it was being built and is the mechanic who runs the massive generator and keeps the electricity going. Serafina is the chief rat catcher, slipping through the halls of her massive home secretly and quietly. She is light on her feet, sees well in the dark, and is quick enough to catch the vermin and keep them out. Serafina knows she if different and strange. Her father insists she stay hidden. But all that changes when one night Serafina witnesses a horrible crime. A little girl, a guest in the house, is fleein


On Tuesday I posted my Top Ten Books Read so Far in 2013 and promised to highlight more of this year's favorites and offer them in giveaways. This is the YA giveaway. This is open to anyone who lives where Book Depository ships for free . Book Choices: TO ENTER: Leave a comment below saying which book looks most interesting to you and leave a way I can reach you if you are the winner. (email address or twitter handle-If you are using Twitter it would be helpful if you followed me, @brandymuses , in case I need to DM you.) Entries after Monday, July 1 8:00 PM EST are invalid. The winner will be drawn as close to 8 as possible.  Yes, I still do my giveaways the old fashioned way.