August 11, 2016 • Cee • Reviews

The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill • August 9, 2016 • Algonquin Young Readers
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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 . . .


I received this book for free from Algonquin Young Readers for review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

First sentence: “Yes. There is a witch in the woods. There has always been a witch.”

My heart is filled with so much love for The Girl Who Drank the Moon!


In the Protectorate, there’s a yearly tradition where the people leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. Nobody questions why; they do it out of fear of this evil witch who is said to do horrible things to them if they don’t. However, this witch in the forest named Xan is nobody to be feared; she is a sweet old woman who actually does a lot of good, delivering the babies to a loving home when she finds them. Xan’s life changes when she accidentally feeds an abandoned baby moonlight and decides to raise the enmagicked child, Luna, with a Swamp Monster and a tiny dragon. Not only do Xan’s life changes with this baby, but also the lives of the people who live in the Protectorate, where a young man there can no longer stand the threat of the witch and heads into the forest to kill the Witch.


  • You will fall in love with these characters.

Readers will meet:

  • Xan, the “evil” witch who is actually the most caring person who has ever lived! She rescues the abandoned children from the Protectorate and finds them a new loving family on the other side of the forest. She has devoted her life into helping others;
  • Luna, the enmagicked child who is extremely loved and contains a lot of magical powers, and her existence changes everything.
  • Glerk, the lovable swamp monster who’s older and wiser than most living beings in the world, and constantly waxes sayings by the Poets;
  • Fyrian, the “Perfectly Tiny” Dragon, who is excited about everything and prone to fiery hiccups.
  • Atain, an Elder-in-training in the Protectorate who questions the ways of the Elders and wants to be a carpenter.

Every one of these characters will have readers head over heels in love with them. You’ll want them in your life. They are so delightful and lovely, especially because they’re flowing with so much love.

  • These characters are family.

You know what will get me super emotional in books? When I see non-blood related characters coming together to form a family. It’s such a beautiful sight, and The Girl Who Drank the Moon has that. Xan has created an unusual family that works—who would’ve thought an old witch, an ancient swamp monster, a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, and an enmagicked little girl would make a loving family? They worry; they protect; they tease; they love; they will do everything and anything like risk their lives for each other. It’s extremely touching.

  • There’s so much love radiating from The Girl Who Drank the Moon.

Every moment in The Girl Who Drank the Moon radiates with love. This book is filled with so much love for its characters and the relationships they have. I can’t stop raving about it! Every character shows their love in their own way, and it makes my heart soaaarrrrr. You won’t ever question their love—not Xan the supposedly “evil” witch, or the hardened but soft Glerk, or the crazy Madwoman who speaks in riddles, or Atain, who just wants to protect his family. The love will make your heart full and wanting.

  • Stories are apart of their living.

From the evil witch who lives in the forest to the lies people tell themselves in survive, stories are constantly being told in this world. Everybody in the Protectorate keeps the stories of the witch alive by constantly retelling and warning their children. However, not all stories are true. It takes one person to get tired of the fear and sorrow the witch has caused and do something about it. It opens a whole can of worms and changes the narrative of the story like what Atain decides to do against the wishes of the Elders. Everybody has a stake in the stories.

  • It’s funny.

I promise that readers will be smiling when they read The Girl Who Drank the Moon, especially when it involves Fyrian, the Perfectly Tiny Dragon, who can’t read the room well, but he’s a sweetheart. These funny moments make you take a step back and appreciate the characters. It’s one of the reasons why I fell in love with this book.

  • The prose is inviting and warm.

Just what a fairytale-esque book should be! The writing is fantastic. It paints vivid scenes of the forest and the bog, the magic and the starlight, and so much more readers need to experience for themselves. It will envelope readers in its warmth and love. Readers will fall in love with the characters just like when Xan, Glerk, and Fyrian fell in love with baby Luna all those years ago. It’ll leave readers utterly spellbound.

Should you read The Girl Who Drank the Moon? YES, YES, A MILLION YES!

The Girl Who Drank the Moon is unlike any fairytale you’ll ever read. It’ll absolutely enthrall you, I guarantee this.

In The Girl Who Drank the Moon, readers get a misunderstood witch who is so loving, a coming-of-age story of an enmagicked and well-loved little girl, unusual characters who are larger than life and absolute sweethearts, corrupted Elders who refuse to listen to reason, characters who just want to protect their family or their secrets, amazing storytelling that’ll keep you wanting more, and so much love that you can’t help but want to twirl in it. Readers, strap yourself in for this wonderful magical adventure you’ll embark on. It’s so worth a read to get to know Luna and the people (and Swamp Monster and Perfectly Tiny Dragon) who loves her.


5 Responses to “REVIEW • The Moon Is Full of Tricks (The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill)”

  1. Great review! I absolutely loved this book, too. Best book I’ve read so far this year!

  2. Tasya says:

    Ooh this one just sounds like a perfect middle grade book! I have an ARC for this one, but I keep putting it off. Better read it soon then! :D I keep imagining the tiny dragon as Mushu xD

  3. Brooke Banks says:

    Looks like I need to read this book! Just added it to my GR. Fantastic review. Thanks!

  4. Steph says:

    This sounds like an amazing read. I will have to add it to my TBR, thank you for such a wonderfully detailed review.

  5. Alexa S. says:

    The Girl Who Drank the Moon sounds utterly delightful! I’m a sucker for stories with a fairytale vibe; based on your review, this sounds like one of them. I definitely think the characters already sound really appealing, and have no doubt that I’ll find them charming when I do get around to checking out this story!

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