The Girl Who Chased the Moon
by Sarah Addison Allen
Everyone in Mullaby adores Julia Winterson’s cakes—which is a good thing, because Julia can’t seem to stop baking them. She offers them to satisfy the town’s sweet tooth but also in the hope of rekindling the love she fears might be lost forever. Flour, eggs, milk, and sugar . . . Baking is the only language the proud but vulnerable Julia has to communicate what is truly in her heart. But is it enough to call back to her those she’s hurt in the past?
Can a hummingbird cake really bring back a lost love? Is there really a ghost dancing in Emily’s backyard? The answers are never what you expect. But in this town of lovable misfits, the unexpected fits right in.
"I'm homesick all the time," she said, still not looking at him. "I just don't know where home is. There's this promise of happiness out there. I know it. I even feel it sometimes. But it's like chasing the moon--just when I think I have it, it disappears into the horizon. I grieve and try to move on, but then the damn thing comes back the next night, giving me hope of catching it all over again."
The summary blurb is slightly misleading, but all-in-all does a great job of pulling you in. Before you realize it, you don't care what the summary blurb says anymore because you're reading the story. And the story is entrancing.
The Girl Who Chased the Moon is a very charming tale of mending hearts and finding a place for oneself. Mainly, it follows the tale of two young women trying to figure out their own lives, even as the people around them try to figure out the same thing.
Julia has come back to Mullaby to see to her recently deceased father's assets and try to move on with her life. She's always lead a broken existence and feels like there's nothing left for her where she was born and raised. But somehow, she's found herself slowly softening up to a place where she'd gone through a lot of hurt.
Meanwhile, Emily wants to reconnect with her recently deceased mother's past, hoping to learn more about the mother she loved and adored. Instead, she shows up in Mullaby to find out that Dulcie Shelby had lead a completely different existence before she left the small town, as a person Emily does not even recognize.
This story is fairly straight forward with few tangential wanderings into some of the secrets of the rest of the people in Mullaby, North Carolina. In fact, given some time to think about it, the story was pretty tooth-achingly sweet, with it's descriptive charm, and genteel telling, and quiet progression. Surprise twists actually didn't really feel all that surprising, and emotional encounters actually came off kind of serene. I don't know if it's just the way the book is written, the lazy southern mood projecting off the book, or just my own strange impression of it.
Then there are the magical, unexplained happenings that are slipped into the story, such as the changing wallpaper in Emily's bedroom. There were other weird little habits and descriptions that made an action seem magical, but probably weren't. Sawyer's claim of always finding his way back to his mother whenever she bakes a cake was a pretty nice touch; conveyed to Julia and her obsession with baking cakes.
The big secret surrounding the Coffey family was actually a little less startling, though. And while some of the concluding secret reveals weren't predictable, they also weren't really that surprising.
The romances were kind of lukewarm to me. Thought-provoking, yes. Meaningful, probably. But the relationship between Emily and Win felt awkwardly poetic, if only because they are teenagers and teenagers just don't talk like that. And also because they hadn't even really known each other that long before the word 'love' was thrown around; and this entire time, secrets were still being kept.
The relationship between Julia and Sawyer was a second-chance romance with a lot of potential. Though I found it a little hard to believe how easily Julia accepted Sawyer back into her life considering what they were like before she left Mullaby. The hostility between them felt like it melted away almost too abruptly.
But all-in-all, The Girl Who Chased the Moon was an entirely lovely experience--a fluffy, sweet, and charming piece for anyone looking for something heartwarming with small twists of magic here and there.
2016 Reading Challenges:
• Goodreads Reading Challenge
• BookLikes Reading Challenge
• Bookish Resolutions Challenge
• 2016 Halloween Bingo