Book Review: The Girl who Drank the Moon, by Kelly Barnhill, Winner of the 2017 Newberry Award.

Let me say, first and foremost, that I wish I had written this book. I wish I had the skill and the imagination to conjure this wonderful story full of love and magic.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable book in which even the minor characters are fascinating – although there really are no ‘minor’ characters. Each person or creature is essential. Even the earth and the mountains and the bog are characters – especially the bog.

The characters in this amazing book include a swamp monster as old as the world, a tiny dragon who thinks he’s ‘simply enormous,’ a good witch, a bad witch, and a mad woman who creates living birds from paper, which she has created from dust. I think she may be my favorite, but my favorite kept changing throughout the book.

The story is about love and loss and grief.

Each year The Protectorate sacrifices a baby by leaving it in the forest where they believe an evil witch takes the child – to do what, they don’t know. And no one has ever actually seen the witch. The just ‘know’ she’s there.

But Xan is not evil. She doesn’t know why those people leave the babies, but she rescues them and takes them to loving families on the other side of the forest. She feeds them starlight as she carries them to their new homes.


…One child is inadvertently fed powerful moonlight, and is enmagicked.

Therein lies the story.

I will tell you no more.

I loved this book. That’s all I can say.

Ms. Barnhill has written three other books: The Witch’s Boy; The Mostly True Story of Jack; and Iron Hearted Violet. I will be reading them all. You can visit her online at

In keeping with my blog’s desire to be at least three hundred words, I will leave you with a quote from the book:

“A story can tell the truth, she knew, but a story can also lie. Stories can bend and twist and obfuscate. Controlling stories is power indeed.”