This book made me feel like I could be in the East Village at 2am in leather boots and ripped tights, and I have never, ever been that cool in real life.
Why I love it
When I was growing up in my quiet, suburban nuclear family, I sometimes fantasized about what it would be like if my parents were famous. How easy and wonderful everything would be'”definitely worth being named something silly like 'œRocket' or 'œPomegranate''”to live in a world where I am always recognized, where strangers regularly congratulate me on nothing in particular, where people are fascinated by me simply because the person making my lunch has been on the cover of a magazine.
Janet McNally takes the kernel of that fantasy, and blows it up into a million directions in Girls in the Moon. The novel follows the coming of age of Phoebe Ferris, the second daughter of former rock stars Meg and Kieran Ferris who, post-divorce and post-band breakup, have retreated into their individual lives: Meg as a single mother who eschews any mention of her rock star past and Kieran, still a musician, who hasn’t spoken to his daughters in years.
Now Phoebe is a senior in high school and trying to figure out if she has an identity of her own hidden somewhere beneath that of her icon parents and her cool, indie-darling older sister Luna, who lives in Brooklyn and dropped out of college to pursue her music career.
McNally writes like a poet. It’s something of a magic trick looking back on it, how her language manages to exist so convincingly in the head of a 17-year-old yet still be dotted with phrases that get stuck in your head all day, like lines from a song.
Perhaps almost as dazzling is the way her story dips back in time to follow Meg Ferris, Phoebe’s mother, as her band and her relationship fall apart. It’s rare in YA to see a character as vulnerable and interesting as Meg, caught at the crux of wild musician and responsible mother, and even rarer still to see such a character treated with such delicacy and attention
If I had read Girls in the Moon when I was in high school, I can’t help but think it would have made me cooler. It’s woven with references to '80s bands that I kept having to Google mid-page, and then play on Spotify while I read, until another new band name or song was alluded to and I had to Spotify that one instead. Read with a playlist of Pavement and 'Til Tuesday and Hole and Sleater Kinney in the background. This book made me feel like I could be in the East Village at 2am in leather boots and ripped tights, and I have never, ever been that cool in real life.