Not murder mystery death, but sad, heart wrenching find yourself death. While the cover of Moonglass by Jessi Kirby may lead one to believe that it is a schmaltzy summer romance, that assumption is far from the truth. Moonglass is a touching story about Anna and her journey towards accepting her mother’s death, which happened many years ago. Her mother drowned herself in front of seven year old Anna, and while Anna has grown up to be a confident and accomplished young woman, questions about her mother still remain. Her father accepts a new job at the beach where he first met Anna’s mother, and she slowly uncovers the mysteries of her mother, as well as discovering the many different shapes of grief.
This book is at its strongest when it focuses on Anna, her father and her mother. There is some great character building and a few truly touching moments. Where the book falters is when Anna goes off to start her new high school and things become a little too stereotypical “new girl at school is amazing and gets the hottest boy.” If it were a whole separate story, it would be wonderfully entertaining and a lot of fun. Mixed into the heaviness of the other plotline, it looks vapid and makes the serious issues lose some weight. I found myself getting whiplash from how quickly Kirby would jump back and forth between the two plotlines, often with no warning. It took some effort to keep things straight, but the characters, especially the Dad, made me stick it out. Kirby had so many wonderful characters and ideas, that I wish that I had gotten more time with all of them so they could fully develop. Overall, I did enjoy this book, and it is a wonderful first effort from Jessi Kirby. You should check it out for yourself at the Tucker Free Library.