A Nearer Moon

Posted on Jun 4, 2016 in BR Library

9781481441483By Melanie Crowder
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Pages: 160
Lexile: 960L
Age Range: 8 – 12 Years

In a small river village where the water is cursed, a girl’s bravery could mean the difference between life and death in this magical story of “perseverance and hope” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) from the author of Parched and Audacity.

Along a lively river, in a village raised on stilts, lives a girl named Luna. All her life she has heard tales of the time before the dam appeared, when sprites danced in the currents and no one got the mysterious wasting illness from a mouthful of river water. These are just stories, though—no sensible person would believe in such things.

Beneath the waves is someone who might disagree. Perdita is a young water sprite, delighting in the wet splash and sparkle, and sad about the day her people will finally finish building their door to another world, in search of a place that humans have not yet discovered.

But when Luna’s little sister falls ill with the river sickness, everyone knows she has only three weeks to live. Luna is determined to find a cure for her beloved sister, no matter what it takes. Even if that means believing in magic…

“Crowder (Audacity) blends gorgeously poetic language with precisely observed detail in this delicate fantasy of sisterly love tested by separation and illness. Luna and her younger sister, Willow, live in a swamp caused by the mysterious damming, nearly a generation ago, of the river that used to flow through their village. The swamp water is supposedly cursed, and even one sip causes a wasting sick- ness that inevitably kills in three weeks. After Willow becomes ill, Luna’s desperation causes her to seek high and low for a solution. Meanwhile, the water sprite sisters Perdita and Pelagia prepare to leave the entire world they live in, because sprites can no longer share a world with humans. The fates of the two sets of sisters are more closely entwined than any of them would expect. Crowder’s vividly observed setting, centered on a rooted and loving village community and that community’s interdependence with the land and water, helps this simple-seeming story gain remarkable complexity and emotional resonance.”
Ages 8–12. Agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Sept.)
Publishers Weekly