The Heroine: Emily Benedict, a high school senior that returns to her mother's hometown after her death in order to live with her mysterious grandfather and hopefully discover the secrets of her mother's past. Introverted, intelligent and people-pleasing, Emily is confronted with a truth about her mother that she never expected, along with a group of unusual new friends and hints of magic lingering around the town.
The Highs: The concept of the book is original and unique and I found it a very refreshing change. Though the book deals with difficult issues such as alienation, isolation and loss, the touches of magic like the Mullaby lights (mysterious glowing lights spotted around the town at night) and the sense of sweetness able to detect a baking cake lend a sense of lightness and humour that keep the story from seeming too serious. The mood is instead uplifting, hopeful and encouraging – a great, easy read for anyone who needs a pick-me-up.
I adore the author's use of suspense throughout the novel. After the first few introductory chapters, I found myself entrenched in the story and longing to know what would come next. A real highlight for me was the slow, intense growth of the relationship between Emily and Win Coffey. The romance had the same sort of Twilight – esque sweet intensity as Bella Swan and Edward Cullen (with the same sort of supernatural twist!) The romantic relationship between Julia and Sawyer was also very sweet to read about, with many "aww"- inducing moments.
I found myself very attached to Julia, a woman that befriends Emily and is the focus of half of the novel. I really related to her hardships, trying to overcome the misfit status she had created for herself as a teenager and become the woman she wants to be. Her story encompasses many uplifting lessons, like overcoming personal demons and being proactive in creating your own happiness.
The Lows: I found this read a little too quirky for my traditional tastes. Though light, enchanting and airy, I found it hard to comprehend some of the magical elements and I became confused as to whether this novel is classified as fantasy or realistic fiction. Perhaps I need to spend more time developing my creative side, but for those of you with active and engaged imaginations, this shouldn't be a problem.
I had a little trouble connecting to the protagonist, Emily. She is perfectly kind, quiet and docile – in short, one of those girls who is so nice and bland that they become a little boring. Without her relationship with the mysterious (and may I say, sexy?) Win, I probably wouldn't have been too interested in what happens to her. I also found it odd how easily she accepted all of the magical elements around her, like the ever-changing wallpaper in her mother's old bedroom. Personally, that would have really freaked me out!
I also would have appreciated a little more depth in the story. An improvement I would have loved would be flashback chapters inserted between the present-day chapters to the time of Dulcie Shelby (Emily's mother) and Logan Coffey. I would have absolutely loved that and I think it would have provided some additional suspense, tension and much-needed depth to this book.
Final Thoughts: If you're looking for something new and different, this is the book for you!
Rating: The Girl Who Chased the Moon earns six magical cakes out of ten.
Buy 'The Girl Who Chased the Moon' on Amazon here
Connect to author Sarah Addison Allen here
Photo from here