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All booksYoung adultGirls in the Moon
Girls in the Moon by Janet McNally
Young adult

Girls in the Moon

Debut
We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Janet McNally, on your first book!

by Janet McNally

Quick take

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

Dana Schwartz
Writer

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.

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Member thoughts

All (1973)
All (1973)
Love (682)
Like (1098)
Dislike (193)
2102 ratings
  • 32% Love
  • 52% Like
  • 9% Dislike
  • Middletown, NJ

    A fun ode to sisterhood and rock-n-roll. It’s fun to remember that our parents had lives before us. A good read with a well-done love story that i was pleasantly surprised wasn’t the main plot. 8/10

  • Lockport, NY

    I've lived in the Buffalo area my entire life, am married to a bassist who used to play in dark bars on Allen. I related sopersonally that I couldn't help but fall in love with this book on that alone

  • Newark, NJ

    A captivating novel about sisterhood, finding yourself, and learning to make decisions to make you happy. Infinite praises for McNally's captivating novel told from a mom and daughter's point of view.

  • Columbus, OH

    This book was a whimsy story of a rock & roll family. I loved the relationship between the two sisters and felt the dynamic with the parents very relatable. The flirty texting made me swoon. 5 stars!

  • Nashville , TN

    Really well written, intriguing style. The characters were lovely & even though their lives weren't all tied up in happy bows at the end, you had a sense that they were all going to be okay. Loved it!

  • Fort Worth, TX

    Sister drama, mother and daughter drama, boys, music, bands, and New York. My type of novel. The character development is refreshing, and the independence of these sisters is striking. Defies the odds

  • Frankford, DE

    I loved all the music references and could live vicariously through the musician characters. The girls were fun - I could remember back when I was a teenager. I liked how she reconnected with her Dad.

  • New Brockton, AL

    I love how the mom doesn't want to be famous anymore yet does? How the girls have lived in the small town with everyone knowing who their parents where & how they are choosing to live their lives now!

  • Fredericktown, OH

    Phoebe is wise beyond her 17 years and more importantly, more open to forgive the insane past of parents who never ment to be parents than her sister Luna. Loved this book. Hopefully more from Janet

  • Omaha, NE

    I loved the relationship the two sisters had and how they both relieved themselves of the burdensome feelings about their parents. I found myself wanting to know more about their parents' band though!

  • Lubbock, TX

    This book was so incredibly written, I felt like I was Phoebe through most of the story. It takes you through her life and just really makes you feel what she is feeling, she what she is seeing, etc.

  • San Antonio, TX

    This was my 1st book that I received from BOTM and I wasn't disappointed! I loved the surprises that were throughout the entire book and I find that this book is one that I'll want to read over again!

  • Everett, WA

    I loved to see "the other side of fame"--where someone leaves the industry. It was refreshing to see a character starting a new life and nice to know they experience the same insecurities we all have.

  • Washington, DC

    Disclaimer: I am from Buffalo and love 90's alternative, so this was a heartwarming book of a teen discovering herself and her talents balanced by her mother's flashbacks of choosing family over rock.

  • Anderson, IN

    For weeks after reading, I listened to nothing but the 90s grunge from my youth I so miss. A beautiful coming of age story that captures the intricate balance of mother/daughter/sister relationships.

  • Chico, CA

    I use slow as a positive here. This is just a beautifully written, contemplative book. The language is lovely. It is a delicately rendered study in family dynamics and life choices for music-lovers.

  • West Bloomfield, MI

    I loved Phoebe's voice in this book. The little funny quirks that were thrown in really helped move the story along. I wanted more from Tessa, but the rest of the relationships were more than enough!

  • Dubuque, IA

    This was a wonderful read. I loved how the point of view changed from present to past, daughter to mother. It gave a different story while answers questions from the first story. I highly recommend.

  • Peabody, MA

    This was my first book with BOTM and I loved it. just what I needed after busy day, 30 minutes with this book after the kids are in bed was a great way to relax and get carried off to another place.

  • Kansas City, MO

    Such a quick and fun read! I read it in 2 evenings and had to force myself to put it down. I loved how the story was told from the daughters perspective in real time and the mothers went backwards.

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