Anna and her father move to the small seaside town of Crystal Cove, the town where her mother and father first fell in love, when her dad gets a promotion at work. However, what was once a romantic setting is now a place of pain for Anna, who witnessed her own mother’s death. The relocation is difficult for Anna, not only because of the constant reminders of her mother, but also because she has had to leave behind all of her friends. In a beach town where her dad is the new head lifeguard, it is difficult for Anna to meet new people. Anna runs and swims her days away; maybe if she’s fast enough she can outrun or outswim her painful memories. When she meets Tyler, though, and they begin to explore the old, abandoned beach cottages together, Anna grows more ready to face her past and welcome in the future.
Jessi Kirby’s Moonglass was a single sitting read for me. It’s short and sweet, well-written and vivid without needing a whole lot of additional development. Kirby dives right in, and the result is a beautifully atmospheric novel that will rank high on my list of beach books for the year.
This is one of many recent books with a (gorgeous) cover that suggests beach romance and text that delves much deeper than that. Kirby’s debut is an exploration of grief and guilt. Anna has a very complex relationship with her parents, and a lot of buried feelings about her mother’s death that finally come to the surface as Anna is able to learn more about her parents’ past. The setting, moonglass, and mermaid folklore are seamlessly woven into the story, playing as large a role as any character.
The book’s tone is reminiscent of Twenty Boy Summer and Stay. In fact, the book bears many similarities to Caletti’s new release, both featuring protagonists who move to beach towns with their single fathers, and both a bit dark with some light romance thrown in. Fans of beach books with substance should walk, run, or swim to pick this one up.