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“But sorrow can spread inside a person, blocking out any light that might find its way in to heal the hidden hurts.” –A Nearer Moon
A Nearer Moon
by Crowder, Melanie
Luna’s world revolves around her little sister, Willow. Willow is happiness and sunshine, and she brings the family together. When Willow becomes sick with the mysterious river sickness, everyone tells Luna there is no way to save her sister. They say she will be dead in three weeks. Luna refuses to sit by her sister’s side and watch her die. Luna and her friend Benny embark on a series of adventures to find a cure for Willow.
Interwoven into Luna’s story is the story of Perdita, a spunky river sprite. The fairies moved to a new world, far from humans. But in a devastating twist of fate, Perdita was left behind when the fairies went through the magical door to a new home. All alone, Perdita flees to the bottom of a swamp and hates anything that shows joy.
Luna offers herself to Perdita in exchange for Willow’s life. Luna hopes the sprite can save Willow, but has Perdita’s grief made her blind to others’ needs? Can Perdita find hope again?
A Nearer Moon is a beautifully written story about the love of sisters. The parallel stories about Luna and Perdita add interest. Luna is a plucky character who younger readers will love. The story has beautiful, vivid descriptions of Luna’s world. The only downside to this story are long descriptions that slow the action.
- While riding in a boat, Willow’s laughter disturbs Perdita, who goes up and tips the boat. When Willow is dunked into the water, she “sputtered and coughed the filthy swamp water off her tongue . . . Willow leaned over the side of the boat, her stomach heaving as she retched, her eyes teary and her nose running . . . The creature slid, unseen, back to its cave, the silence, smothering its aching heart like a damp blanket over hot coals.” Both Willow and Luna know the water will give Willow the river sickness.
Drugs and Alcohol
- The sprites used magic to build a door to take them to another world because humans poisoned the sprites’ world. “Only a hazy wrinkle of air betrayed that any magic had been done in that place or that anyone had passed through at that spot, passed through from one world into another.”
- A girl’s grandmother “told us a story about a wood sprite that lived in her rafters when she was little. They never once saw it, but if they so much as dusted the beam where its bundle-of-sticks house was, the milk would turn sour and vegetables would rot overnight.”
- Gia, a sprite, makes two lockets, one for herself and one for her sister. “These, when opened, would be like doors of their own. Private doors through which to call a lost thing home.” If both lockets were open, Gia could speak a word and her sister would be magically transported to wherever she was.
- When Willow becomes sick, Luna tries to discover how to cure her. Some people “call it a sickness. Call it a curse . . . Maybe it was all the same thing, only different words used by different people struggling to understand the sort of thing no one can comprehend.”
- Luna finds a book that has fairy recipes in it. Luna makes “a dram of flower essence for use in the purification of soured water.” When she uses the potion, she whispers a phrase. “She didn’t know if this was magic. It was pleading. It was hoping. It was speaking the deepest wish of her soul and asking the air to hear her.”
- When Willow becomes sick, her mother “sank to her knees beside her own bed, clicking her prayer beads around and around again.” Willow’s mother goes to the chapel often to “click” her prayer beads.