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Girls in the Moon by Janet McNally
Young adult

Girls in the Moon


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

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 ratings (2,305)

  • Kimberly W.

    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

  • Colleen K.

    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.

  • Olga G.

    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.

  • Sydney E.

    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!

  • Cristine D.

    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!