Moonstone by Marilee Brothers
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books
Length: Short Story (120 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 4 suns
Reviewed by Snapdragon
Wry, compelling, heart-warming and just plain fun. Allie Emerson is living in a twenty-four foot trailer with a mother who has decided to Retire From Life. Not exactly the sort of environment you'd expect to produce a girl destined to save the world. Allie's barely managing to survive high school. She hasn't got time to believe in prophecies and evil. Until evil makes it personal.
Moonstone, the first in a series of three YA novels is a fun and quirky jaunt that starts off with sparks and offers a whole different perspective on being ‘different’ in high school. Allie, our main character, is immediately likable. I’m not sure if it's her tough situation, her conversational style, or her always semi-humorous response to the frequently off-kilter events in her life. She never fails to learn from her misadventures (like never wear flipflops on an aluminum ladder.) Sometimes, she makes goofy decisions or takes forever to realize something we long since suspected, but she’s always honest about how she sees things.
She’s often annoyed with her mother (Faye) and so are we! Allie is the sensible adult of the pair, and we can’t help wishing she could be the kid at times. She kicks off a somewhat weird relationship with Trilby too, who just shows up out of thin air. Well – to be honest, Allie has on odd relationship with pretty much everyone. Her friends are perfectly willing to believe in the paranormal (would love to meet a vampire,) but she doubts their capacity to believe in her guardian angel.
Kizzy, her pal the elderly gypsy-slash-witch, helps her identify her unusual abilities in a way I think anyone would question a bit more than Allie does, but there it is. If you haven't much tolerance for magic and the second sight (or the third eye, or the power of suggestion) this book may not be for you. One crush (that might or might not lead to something meaningful) and the High School bully all help to round out a cast of all slightly-unusual personalities.
The rural atmosphere provides a fun background which comes so clearly through when poor Allie has to avoid the cow patties as she plunges off the roof, and has an obsession with garden-fresh produce. Author Marilee Brothers tells us this is a small town -- and then she very believably creates Peacock Flats. And more importantly, she creates Peacock Flats High School and its population: the all too believable high school social scene. Throughout, the setting is clearly there and occasionally humorous, but never intrusive, and never slows the fast paced story line.
Everything about this story is funny and unexpected; from Allie herself to all the events that surprise her. Life is never boring for Allie, and so this tale never suffers one dull moment. It does require a willingness to believe in magic in a world trying desperately to be everyday: it all lends to the overall charm.
The most appealing part of this work is Allie herself, her take on the world, and her usually positive approach to problems. Do read.