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A Cool Moonlight Hardcover – September 29, 2003
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From School Library Journal
Grade 5-7-"i don't remember the sun. i don't remember the sun or how my sister, monk, says it warms you up-." So begins Lila's unusual, gentle, almost ethereal narration. She has lived in a reverse world for all of her almost nine years, unable to go out in daylight because of a condition called xeroderma pigmentosum, a "defect that made me sensitive to light. the sun. uv rays. some streetlights." Lila goes to a coffee shop called the Fallen Angel with Monk, 18, in her jalopy and has a nighttime friendship with two girls only she sees. The mysterious, perhaps otherworldly Alyssa and Elizabeth recede as Lila celebrates her ninth birthday in a poignant scene in her backyard. Fireflies gently envelop her, a moment shared and enjoyed by her family and neighbors. Lila gradually accepts that being a "moon girl" is just as good as being a "sun goddess." Recognizing that she is different, that her light is softer than the sun, bolsters Lila's inner strength and ultimate self-acceptance. The writing is lyrical and fluid, and uses no capitalization, but captures a child's feelings. "i feel like i've been eight for practically a hundred years-. if i stay eight any longer, I will have gray hair when I turn nine-." This small, poetic book requires a special reader, but those who meet Lila are likely to remember her.
Maria B. Salvadore, formerly at District of Columbia Public Library
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
*Starred Review* Gr. 3-6. Lila has a rare medical condition: sunlight and certain kinds of artificial light can burn her skin and even blind her. Relatively isolated at home during the day, taken out by her loving parents and older sister at night, she has few friends but a rich fantasy life. Lila begins her narrative two months before her ninth birthday, which she sees as a pivotal time. Among those she believes are two imaginary playmates who appear at intervals and encourage Lila's notion that after collecting certain objects, she will magically be able to go out in daylight. Outdoors at her night birthday party, surrounded by family and friends, Lila experiences an epiphany and embraces being "the moon girl with fireflies." Though few readers suffer from Lila's illness, many will recognize the ragged path she consciously takes as she lets go of a fantasy that has sustained her and begins to leave childhood behind. The book's real magic resides in the spell cast by Johnson's spare, lucid, lyrical prose. Using simple words and vivid sensory images, she creates Lila's inner world as a place of quiet intensity--spun gossamer that proves immensely, unexpectedly strong. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
This book is a journey of Lila's ultimate self-acceptance and her realization that not all dreams come true. The way in which she discovers this is not destroying, though. Her light is a softer kind of light, and being a moon girl is just as good as being a "sun goddess". Angela spins a world of shadows that is not entirely dark. Lila's world is strangely alluring; it is a whole different place than ours, but she keeps it all in perspective. While we spend our days under the intensity of the sun, she will forever be able to relax under her soft moonlight. This book has stayed with me since I first read it eight years ago. Lila is a companion that haunts me. Her life has always drawn me to it, and it will draw in all readers who open this book.
Lila doesn't lack for companions. Monk, Lila's older sister, calls the family "shadow people and proud of it." Monk is Lila's co-adventurer, bundling her sister up at night to take her to coffee houses and on rides. After dark, Lila's dad accompanies her to the grocery store where they race shopping carts in the parking lot. David, a neighbor boy, brings Lila comic books and comradeship. Reading the comic books makes her want to be a super hero called the sun goddess/moon girl.
Lila's friends, Elizabeth and Alyssa, visit her only at night; somehow no one else has met them or even seen them. Her mysterious nocturnal visitors secretly plot with Lila to find a way for her to enjoy sunlight. In fact, they promise to help fill her sun bag. When it's filled, Lila will no longer have to live only in darkness. She can't wait until she's able to go outside during the day and dance in sunshine as a true sun goddess/moon girl.
As time goes by and her ninth birthday approaches, Lila begins to wonder why no one has seen Alyssa and Elizabeth --- even when she points them out. She also puzzles over the sun bag --- how can filling it with sun pieces "fix" her?
This is an intriguing, unusual story told in a graceful, childlike voice. Although I was too aware of the lack of capitals for the first few pages, I soon realized it contributed to the smooth stream-of-consciousness narrative flow. I highly recommend A COOL MOONLIGHT for its gorgeous writing, complex mysteries and triumphant conclusion.
--- Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon (email@example.com)
Lila's distinctive voice sounds almost like poetry, creating intense images for the reader to share. The characters are intriguing, and Lila's secretive plans will keep older children and adults alike turning the pages.
This book is just about how she plots with Alyssa and Elizabeth to go out into the sunlight during the day, as she longs to "feel the warmth of the sun on her cheeks".
Lila and David read comic books about The Magnificent Mutants, superheroes with different powers. Lila's favorite Mutant is Talia Tears. She says that if she were a superhero, she would want to be both Sun Goddess and Moon Girl. She says she would not want to wait until it was day or night to have power. She would want to always have power.
In the end of the book, she realizes that xeroderma pigmentosa isn't so bad- she wouldn't mind being a Moon Girl only.
I didn't exactly enjoy this book for the following reasons: The whole storyline was extremely boring and shallow. I did not find it touching. There are many grammatical errors in this book. Plus, all the letters are lowercase.
Bottom line: I didn't enjoy this book. A young child probably wouldn't, either; they would be bored to tears.