Girls in the Moon :: Janet McNally :: Book Review

Book Reviews

Girls in the Moon :: Janet McNally
Book Review

About the book:

​Everyone in Phoebe Ferris’s life tells a different version of the truth. Her mother, Meg, ex–rock star and professional question evader, shares only the end of the story—the post-fame calm that Phoebe’s always known. Her sister, Luna, indie-rock darling of Brooklyn, preaches a stormy truth of her own making, selectively ignoring the facts she doesn’t like. And her father, Kieran, the cofounder of Meg’s beloved band, hasn’t said anything at all since he stopped calling three years ago.

But Phoebe, a budding poet in search of an identity to call her own, is tired of half-truths and vague explanations. When she visits Luna in New York, she’s determined to find out how she fits in to this family of storytellers, and to maybe even continue her own tale—the one with the musician boy she’s been secretly writing for months. Told in alternating chapters, Phoebe’s first adventure flows as the story of Meg and Kieran’s romance ebbs, leaving behind only a time-worn, precious pearl of truth about her family’s past—and leaving Phoebe to take a leap into her own unknown future.

About the author:

Janet McNally earned an MFA in Fiction from the University of Notre Dame, and has twice been a Fellow in Fiction with the New York Foundation for the Arts (in 2008 and 2015). She has had Stories and Poems Published in the Gettysburg Review, Boulevard, Mid-American Review, Ecotone, Crazyhorse and Best New Poets 2012.

Her first Book of Poems, Some Girls, was chosen by Ellen Bass as winner of the White Pine Press Poetry Prize, and the Book was published in August 2015. Girls in the Moon is Janet McNally’s first Novel. It is Publishedby HarperTeen. It has since been translated into German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Janet McNally lives in Buffao, New York, with her husband and three daughters, and she teaches Creative Writing at Canisius College.

Girls in the Moon Janet McNally, Book Review

My thoughts:

I’ve been Reading, and Listening to so many Books this year, and I’ve only just realized that many of them have dealt with the unique relationship of siblings, and in most cases, sisters. I did not grow up with a sister, but I’ve had a few very close, long-term female friendships that have almost felt like sisterhood. But, the more I read about this kind of sibling relationship I wonder if it can really compare.

There is something about growing up in the same house, with the same parents and family dynamics, secrets and stories, that impacts the person you are. It has to. But, I also think it impacts the relationships you have within the family, and it manifests in different ways between family members. My brother and I share a lot of non-physical traits – work ethic, music taste, sense of humor, control issues – as well as physical traits. We do not look much alike, but we have some similar expressions and body language.

We also have similar stories we’ve taken with us. Some are stories we tell. Ones we remember and were a part of. Some stories have been passed down, and often embellished on. These are stories we cannot always know to be completely true. And then there are the unknown stories. The secrets that have never fully been revealed, and the ones that we all keep to ourselves out of habit, survival, and expectation.

We also have our own versions.

This is what reading about Phoebe and Luna, from Phoebe’s perspective, made me think of. This is also what I thought of, but from a different lens, when reading Meg’s POV chapters. I thought about my own Mother, her time in a band, and her time following Bands around. How she met my Father, how they fell in love and married, and had me, and then split apart. How he disappeared. And all those stories, how there are so many missing pieces, so many details unsaid, tales I may never know.

I saw that in Phoebe as she tried to piece together her parents – their music, their past, their now. How she tried to both connect, and separate, from her sister Luna. How she also gauged herself from some sibling comparison chart, and how she started to see herself apart from that unrealistic scale. I felt so connected to her character, and when the book came to its close, I wanted to know more.

Also, I wanted to so much more of Meg and Kieran, Phoebe and Luna’s parents. I would have consumed an entire book about them, and their band. Their rise to fame, the in-between moments, the impact it had on their relationship. I would love to have learned more about Meg’s sister, and the rest of Meg and Kieran’s band, too. In my mind I imagine more of their stories, as well as the future of Phoebe and Luna, Archer, and the rest of Luna’s band.

This book left me wanting more, which is a writing gift, truly.

The amount of Music references in this Book is astounding! Music is my everything, and as a writer myself, I try to intersperse music in my stories, and it makes me absolutely gleeful to see it in other books, too. I was cheering every time there was a Music mention, and wish I’d had kept a running list so I could have put together an accompanying Playlist – maybe on my re-read (which I know will happen).

If you can’t already tell, I highly recommend “Girls in the Moon” by Janet McNally. It is now part of the list of Favorite Books, as well as Music Love Books. Go out now and grab yourself a copy!

“My Favourite Chords” (Live) :: The Weakerthans
(the Song quoted at the start of the book)


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