Thursday, January 28

Moonpenny Island

Moonpenny Island
Tricia Springstubb

My rating: ★★

ISBN: 978-0062112934
Publisher: Balzar + Bray
Date of publication: February 10, 2015
Age: Grades 5 - 7
Genre: Realistic Fiction

Themes: family relationships, best friends, secrets, fossils & geology, change

Moonpenny is a tiny island in a great lake. When the summer people leave and the ferries stop running, just the tried-and-true islanders are left behind. Flor and her best, her perfect friend, Sylvie, are the only eleven-year-olds there—and Flor couldn’t be happier. But come the end of summer, Sylvie is suddenly, mysteriously, whisked away to school on the mainland. Flor's mother leaves to take care of Flor's sick grandmother and doesn’t come back. Her big sister has a secret, and Flor fears it's a dangerous one. Meanwhile, a geologist and his peculiar daughter arrive to excavate prehistoric trilobites, one of the first creatures to develop sight. Soon Flor is helping them. As her own ability to see her life on this little lump of limestone evolves, she faces truths about those she loves—and about herself—she never imagined.

So depressing. And not in one of those good ways. Because the ending was just terrible (though I'll admit I was skimming the last couple chapters—I was hoping there would be some great resolve...and there wasn't). The characters were frustrating; I didn't understand or appreciate them. Does the dad really have to be that ignorant? Was the whole geologist-and-daughter aspect really necessary? And the writing. So flowery and poetic. Too flowery and poetic. I wanted Springstubb to get to the point.

Okay, I apologize for that rant. What did I like? The issues Flor faces are real, and change is hard. Flor does a lot of growing up that many readers will appreciate. Overall? There will be plenty of adults who will enjoy the beauty in this tale, but I, sadly, am not one. And I really don't believe many grade-schoolers will like it either.

Find it at your library or on Amazon

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