I might be a grown-ass woman, but I love books written for middle schoolers. Middle school may not be a time many people look back on with fondness (acne! training bras! nocturnal emissions!), but at least kids that age get the good stuff when it comes to books. I think the secret is they’re not really books *only* for middle schoolers, they’re books that are accessible to *all* readers. Or so I tell myself, so as not to feel like a creeper when I, as a 31-year-old woman with no children and thus no built-in excuse, go trolling like a preteen for fairy tales and stories with dragons.
The Girl Who Drank the Moon is perfectly perfect. It’s exactly what I wanted—a heartwarming read that helped me escape from life for a little while. There’s escapist reading that is dark and twisted and guilty-pleasure-y, and then there’s escapist reading like this, which takes you on an adventure, maybe makes you worry about the characters a bit (you’ve grown to like them so much, after all), but ultimately proves that your heart was in good hands the whole time. There’s a kindly old witch, a spunky, sprightly girl, a swamp monster who loves poetry, and a teeny tiny dragon who thinks he’s a giant. There’s also a group of controlling mansplainers who have kept the town in terror for generations, but they’ll get their comeuppance, don’t you fret.
Middle grade books always reassure me that even though there’s bad in the world, there are forces of good working against it. I find myself needing that reminder a lot lately. If you could use that kind of encouragement too, consider this book my gift to you. Love wins, people.