Author: Therese WalshSummary: This mesmerizing coming-of-age novel, with its sheen of near-magical realism, is a moving tale of family and the power of stories. After their mother's probable suicide, sisters Olivia and Jazz take steps to move on with their lives. Jazz, logical and forward-thinking, decides to get a new job, but spirited, strong-willed Olivia—who can see sounds, taste words, and smell sights—is determined to travel to the remote setting of their mother's unfinished novel to lay her spirit properly to rest. Already resentful of Olivia’s foolish quest and her family’s insistence upon her involvement, Jazz is further aggravated when they run into trouble along the way and Olivia latches to a worldly train-hopper who warns he shouldn’t be trusted. As they near their destination, the tension builds between the two sisters, each hiding something from the other, until they are finally forced to face everything between them and decide what is really important. ~powells.com
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Genre: contemporary fiction, mystical realism
Bottom Line: Slow moving novel about how we define our selves and how that makes us define others
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Just get it at the library
Review: The Moon Sisters is a slow, character driven novel that centers around two sisters, Jazz and Olivia Moon. Jazz and Olivia couldn't be more different. Olivia is the dreamer and Jazz is the realist. OK, Jazz has a chip on her shoulder but as the story unfolds, it becomes evident why she has that chip. Olivia was the child her mother always wanted; Jazz was the child that cost her a lot in life. It was Jazz's plight that I connected to the most. Olivia drove me crazy. She definitely wasn't dealing with her grief in the healthiest way but given how she was coddled, I wouldn't expect her to.
Ms. Walsh slowly reveals things about each sister that makes you understand where both of them are coming from. Their mother was definitely bi-polar. You find this out by the letters she wrote her father and by the way both of her daughters detail her life. It was like everyone knew but no one wanted to acknowledge it or try to get her help. While it is pretty clear that their mom took her own life, Olivia refuses to believe it. She thinks it was an awful accident. She chooses to believe this because if she didn't she would be overcome with guilt. Both girls feel guilty but for very different reasons.
What Ms. Walsh does extremely well is the setting of the novel. I could feel myself walking through the woods with the group. I could feel myself trying to jump onto the train with Olivia. I could picture Hobbs and his odd coloration. I could feel the tension between Olivia and Jazz. Neither one of them understood each other or took the time to do that. They were very different and it wasn't until the end of the novel that they came to some sort of understanding. Ms. Walsh surrounded the Moon Sisters with some great secondary characters that helped to shed light on their relationship. It was also where the shoe dropped from the other foot, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
One thing that always irks me about sister novels is why they always have to be polar opposites? Sometimes being that different isn't so bad. I'd like someone to write a novel about sisters where they are similar enough to have conflict as well. Sometimes it is easier if you are polar opposite.