By Kelly Barnhill
AR level: 4.8
AR points: 12.0
I suggest 4th through 7th grade.
I’d been hearing a lot about this novel, and it had been recommended by a dear writing friend. Needless to say, I was not disappointed. The Girl Who Drank the Moon is vivid, urgent, and sometimes downright funny, although it may also be responsible for making you cry.
The book is big, but plenty of middle grade novels are these days. I’d suggest a read-together format for younger readers (or maybe even audiobook), and getting a honest-to-goodness hard copy for readers who like the “heft” of a book. The dragon in this is an absolute favorite character of mine, and the cast is so interesting, you’ll be halfway through before you even know it!
Description from B&N:
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 . . .