I was sent Moth Girls by Hot Key Books in exchange for my honest review.
WOW. Just wow. I was drawn to this book like a moth to a flame. Anne Cassidy has created a story which is compelling, character driven and impossible to put down. I wasn’t expecting much from Moth Girls after having read so much in this genre last year, but I was completely blown away by how beautifully this story was crafted and how invested I was in these characters. I just could not stop reading. Moth Girls follows Mandy five years after two of her friends Petra and Tina are presumed dead after sneaking in to a old house owned by a reclusive man. She blames herself for what happened to the girls and has struggled to let them go, and move on with her life. Until the house is being knocked down and it looks like one of the girls isn’t gone after all.
C H A R A C T E R S
Mandy: in the present is suffering from depression. She’s in love with her best friend Tommy, and even though romance isn’t a main part of the plot, it was so refreshing to read about some unrequited love where the characters had to deal with their feelings. Instead of mooning over him, Mandy shrinks into herself and wonders why she isn’t good enough, while still trying to move on with her life. It was such a minute part of the book but I appreciated it SO MUCH. Mandy was very calm, which I think is partly why her story was so interesting, because it contrasted everything we knew about her.
Petra: has had a tough life, with a drunk for a father – an abusive one at that. Petra’s story reminded me a lot of a Jacqueline Wilson book, and at first I was hesitant to read from a 12 year old’s perspective, but in the end it was extremely effective. I absolutely adored her first section, it was my favourite part of the book. Her relationship with Zofia was beautiful. I loved the ominous undertones and the overwhelming feeling that something was just going to go horribly wrong. Admittedly it wasn’t hard to put the pieces together and work out what happened that night, but I still really enjoyed the mystery nonetheless.
Tina: goes along with whatever Petra says. She’s the friendliest of the three girls and really makes an effort to welcome new girl Mandy into their friendship group even though Petra was less than enthusiastic. However, because we only learn about Tina through the other two perspectives, Alison, her mother, was more of a stand out character. She was so invested in trying to find her daughter and doing everything she could to make things right I couldn’t help but sympathise. I think we all know of/ remember a story similar to Petra and Tina’s of children going missing that the tension and curiosity of the news reports was so impactful.
In both Petra and Mandy’s case their the kind of the characters that you just want to root for. You wanted them to be okay and have their happy endings, and I don’t think I’ve felt so immersed in a character’s whole life in a book for a long time. These three girls will definitely be staying with me for a long time.
N A R R A T I V E
Moth Girls is divided into six sections, switching back and forth between Mandy in the present and Petra from the past, filling the reader in on what really happened that night. It’s ridiculously addictive, and the cliffhangers and reveals meant that for once I was reading a book quickly because I was excited to see what happened next rather than just trying to get it over with sooner.
Anne Cassidy’s writing has been shortlisted for awards before so it’s no surprise that she knows how to spin a good story. After loving Moth Girls so much I think I’m going to have to give the rest of her novels a go. There was something so mature about the writing style, and you got the sense that the author really understood all her characters. The way the girls were presented as 12 year olds was so realistic, I was cringing from my own memories as floods of friendship drama and make-believe games resurfaced.
Amazingly, the 12 year olds acted and thought as 12 year olds would and the teenagers weren’t over the top or melodramatic, who knew, right?! Seriously, if you’re looking for something realistic then this is definitely the book for you. My goodness as I proud that this is UKYA.
V E R D I C T
Moth Girls was incredible, if you haven’t figured that out by now. I will be recommending it to everyone! It’s 4 stars from me! (The only reason why it doesn’t get five is because I was slightly ahead of the game guessing wise, and I wished it had ended differently, as it felt a bit rushed in part five.)