Cover Image: The Moonstone Girls

The Moonstone Girls

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Member Reviews

This book started out fun, with an interesting drama surrounding our main character that I honestly couldn't stop turning pages to check out what was next. During the first half of the book, I was constantly playing a game of "is this a love letter to boyhood because our main character is actually trans or is looking like a man the only way she found to be free in such a misogynistic society?" . It was an interesting journey to figure out the answer.

By the time the second half rolled around, I finally figured I'd gotten a good hold of the story they were trying to tell, but then I didn't. The book seemed entirely different, our main character's motivations were so flimsy and rushed that it was a drag to read. And don't get me started on the couple. I didn't know it was possible to have something quicker than insta-love, but apparently it's possible. Personally am already a non-enjoyer of insta-love, but this is a whole other level.

Anyway, this book was equal parts a fun historical drama and a weird little rushed thing. I enjoyed it.

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I had great expections for this books but it was seriously a disappointment. First half of the book was good but second half was so rushed and i didn't even feel the chemistry of the two main characters. Not gonna lie main character was kind of annoying. Moon stone gold introduction was done so late that wasn't enough. Seriously my disappointment of the year and i am very sad about it

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this book was both transphobic and racist. it was awful and i would rather eat a hot coal than read it again.

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Tracy, a young queer woman, is growing up in the late 1960s with her equally queer brother, Spencer. The Moonstone Girls tells the story of their lives and the reasons behind why Tracy leaves her family behind to move to Alaska.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. As someone who reads contemporary novels that tend to be set during modern times, it was refreshing to see queerness in a time period that wasn’t too far from today, but where the experience is so drastically different. As a lesbian myself, Tracy’s struggles really resonated with me- I too have kept secret relationships from my parents.

Something I really, truly appreciated was how not all of the side characters were homophobic. Especially when it comes to books not set in the modern day, it is always nice to see that queer people have been supported throughout time. The balance of homophobic and non-homophobic characters in the Moonstone Girls was very well done and it was important to me to see the reality of Tracy finding a place where she thought she could make a new life for herself (Alaska) and finding homophobia existing there too; a reality for too many people.

The one thing I didn’t particularly enjoy was the fact that, although the book is described as being about a young woman travelling to Alaska, Tracy doesn’t leave her hometown until the book is ¾ of the way done. Because I was expecting her to leave, it felt that the scenes where she was in her hometown dragged on and I found myself wondering how long it would take for the book to actually begin. Although they were important chapters that contributed to Tracy’s life, I wished that they could have been shorter so the author could have spent more time exploring the relationships and lifestyle Tracy builds for herself in Alaska.

In the end, I appreciated this book and the important storytelling it did, as well as the representation of queer characters and relationships that were very earnest and genuine, but I wish it had been marketed to me differently so I could have enjoyed the story, instead of waiting for the real ‘story’ to begin.

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This book moved me more than any book has in a long time. Ironically, the more I feel about a book, the less I know what to say. The cover is beautiful. It took me awhile to get used to the writing style but I enjoyed it

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Not for me unfortunately. I struggled to get into it and lost interest early on. Moving on something else instead

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The MoonStone Girls elicited no emotion from me - i did not care about the characters or the plot of the story (nor did the characters at points really, it seemed). I really dnf'ed 85% through and jumped through to the end, just to wrap it up.
The marketing of this book should have been adjusted. This is not the story of a queer girl going to Alaska disguised as a boy. That is one of the MANY elements and plot lines of this story but not the only one. It is more a fiction-biography of someone, focusing on 1 year of their life. Beautiful cover though.
The descriptive writing was fun, but that's the best i have for it - the lingo bit got old fast, and "sis"/"bro" talk will always feel weird to me. The dialogue was clunky; the plotlines ended up underdeveloped and none of the characters felt real. Maybe it was just too much for one story alone.

ARC provided by NetGalley

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“The first job is to be happy with yourself. Because if you aren’t, who else will be?”

Firstly, a massive thank you to NetGalley and Skipstone Publishing for giving this e-ARC copy of The MoonStone Girls, and another big thank you to Brooke Skipstone for sending me the physical version of it as well.

I vaguely remembered the plot of the book from when I requested on NetGalley, but I never imagined I would fall in love with Tracy and all the characters in it (well, except the dad!!).

I thought this would have been the story of a road trip to Alaska, a chance for Tracy to find a new life and herself.
But Alaska doesn’t come in until much later in the story, it comes in at a point where you (I mean me!!) have already cried your eyes out for Spencer and hate their dad with all your life.
All the characters are very well written, even the ones you think are just side characters have actually a purpose in the storyline and what’s more important, they all have a conclusion to their story; it’s one of my pet peeves not knowing what happens to a character after they’ve been introduced briefly.

This is a story of character development. Tracy knows she doesn’t belong to her body. She thinks she was supposed to be born a boy. She’s a lesbian in the 60s. She likes girls and she thinks there’s something wrong with her. But as the story develops, Tracy accepts herself for who she is and even more, she accepts herself for being a woman who likes other women. She accepts her body for what it is, and she is finally happy with it.

I devoured the book thanks to an easy and captivating writing style. Chapters were not too long and, they have titles!! Yes, finally a book with titles in the chapters.
The author also provided a Spotify playlist to listen to whilst reading the book, which is a first for me. I have to admit, I forgot to play it for most part of it, but I did play a few songs.

Absolutely recommend this to everyone and it is a strong contestant for best book of 2022!
Trigger warnings: Physical and mental abuse, suicide

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“My life would be changed forever by a photo.
And saved by a girl and a mountain.”

The Moonstone Girls is a story of queer pride set in a time when it was very hard to have some. This is not a story of trauma, although some heartbreaking events do take place. Tracy is lucky to have allies and people who love her regardless of her sexual orientation in Texas and in Alaska — her mom, Spencer, Pablo, Ava, Mary, her principal, her basketball coach, Jeff, and most of all Jackie.

I appreciate hearing Tracy’s mom’s story, that she wasn’t just a side character but an integral part of the story. I think so often people forget that LGBTQ+ people were around before Stonewall and were just regular people like Tracy’s mom. They were just the same as everyone else, except they killed a part of themselves to get there. Tracy’s mom’s liberation was one of the most fulfilling moments in this story.

This book is sex positive, and not just for teenagers. It has bisexual, gay, and lesbian representation, and some moments of potential non-binary representation during Tracy’s gender crisis.

I was glad to see how Tracy’s views on what is means to be a woman progressed throughout the book. There were a few moments early on where Tracy’s internalized misogyny was blatant, so I am glad that we got to see her work through at least some of that.

Overall, I love this book because it doesn’t shy away from the bad, but it doesn’t make that the whole story. This is a story about love triumphing over discrimination and about healing with care.

Thank you to NetGalley and publisher for providing access to this arc. Thank you to Brooke for writing such an amazing story.

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Whoever said Never judge a book by it's cover has not seen a cover as gorgeous as this. I was drawn to the Moonstone Girls by the cover but the writing sucked me. Kept me reading till the last page
This is my first Brooke Skipstone read and now I'm wondering where I've been living to miss this beautiful writing that is realistic and transport you back in time.
I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for their next read. Now if you excuse me I'll be adding more of Brooke's work to my never-ending tbr pile

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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC of Moonstone Girls. I was intrigued by the synopsis and pulled into the story quickly. The writing and character development was strong.

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Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for sending me a copy of this book in return of a honest review.

I sadly did not finish this book, I DNF'd it before the halfway mark.

I think it was due to the few run on sentences, but I just had a hard time getting into the book personally even though I wanted to love this book so badly.

This review isn't to steer anyone away from this book though, some books just aren't right for some people but that doesn't mean it won't be right for you, I encourage anyone who wants to read this to do so and to formulate their own opinion on it.

Again, this is no hate to the author at all, I'm simply just holding up my end of the deal I made when I was sent this book.

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A beautifully written of wonder,hope, exploration, and tragedy..
In the late 60's, siblings Tracy and Spencer try to cope with the brutal criticisms their father dishes out about each child not following the gender roles he expects them to each portray.

The cover art is outstanding and was half of the reason I wanted to read this book.

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I'll start with the positives, I really enjoyed the way sexuality and gender were portrayed within this book. The way Tracy's sexuality impacted her gender presentation and behaviour felt very true to some of my own feelings about gender which isn't something I frequently see. There were also some very lovely and poignant moments/sentences that really hit the nail on the head with regards to queer experience.

That said, I went into this book having seen it marketed as YA but there were many moments that felt far more NA. There was sexual content that, personally, I wasn't too comfortable reading and I'd not have picked this book having known it had that in it. Of course, that's personal preference - it doesn't make the book 'bad', so to speak.

Furthermore, the pacing felt off. This book seemed to be marketed as being about Tracy going to Alaska but that didn't happen until over half way through the novel. Additionally, some of the relationships (especially Jackie/Tracy) felt underdeveloped. They moved so fast and the only reason you could tell they would work was because this book is written to be Tracy reflecting on her past. If it had been present tense I fear it'd have fallen flat.

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Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a digital ARC
I dnf after a couple of chapters. The characters were too stereotypical and just boring.

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tw: racism, racist comments on page (not challenged), homophobia, internalized homophobia, slurs, altercation with a police officer (a brown character is attacked by a police officer for being "suspicious")

There are probably more trigger warnings but I started skimming through it and then DNFd at about 50%, so I couldn't tell you what they are.

I will read anything LGBT+ and I love a good historical piece (especially the 70s era), so I was very excited to pick this up. I had not heard of Brooke Skipstone before picking this up, so I went in blissfully unaware of literally everything.

I tried to read this so many times, and the writing never felt engaging or particularly interesting to me. The main character felt like a caricature of a person, and nothing she said or thought felt like something a real person would say. She was a shell of a person if that makes sense. Do you know that trend where it's like "An AI Reads 100 Scripts and Comes Up With Its Own"? That's how Tracy's dialogue felt to me. It was just forced and uncomfortable.

One of the bigger things, though, was that Tracy continuously made racist remarks, where she played the Oppression Olympics and tried to compare her plight as a queer person to what Black people were going through in America.

Here's a quote from the prologue: "In the late 60s, our country was at war with itself - war hawks vs doves, patriots vs antiwar demonstrators and draft card burners. It was much like today's battles over masking and vaccines, police shootings, and an election. I saw riots and marches for racial justice in my teens and now in my seventies. What I didn't see back then, however, were Pride marches."

The first "official" Pride march happened in June 1970, which, sure was not the late 60s, but queer people had been protesting and fighting for rights and liberation well before that time. But also, it is very uncomfortable for Brooke Skipstone (presumably a white woman, IDK I couldn't find a picture of her online), to compare queer movements to race movements. This happens further into the book, too, where she almost proposes that Tracy's life would be less difficult if she was Black, rather than queer. (This doesn't even take into consideration that Black queer people exist.)

All in all, this book was a verifiable mess and I will not be picking up other works by this author.

Thank you to NetGalley and Skipstone Publishing for an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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I got through about three chapters of this and had to mark this as a DNF. Not only was the writing was lackluster, the characters were unengaging and flat and stereotypical, but the White Feminism of this book really made it a no for me.

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This book grabbed me and I did not expect that to happen in the way it did.
When I read the blurb, it spoke to me for several reasons: taking place in the sixties (which is an era I'm born in and find very interesting) it's about a queer teenage girl and boy, - brother and sister -, who have a hard time finding their place in the world, specially in those years where homosexuality was far from accepted. The girl leaves her home, trying to find what she's looking for in far away Alaska. But the drama, the hurt, the pain...I hadn't expected that this way. But to me it added up to all the reasons why I won't forget about this story soon.

It starts with the writing. That was truly wonderful. It was my first book by this author, and I'm wanting more. It flowed, and the dialogues felt true to real life. I love it when characters talk as if they're real people. Good dialogues can make or break a story for me, they are an important part of my level of enjoyment. But here they flowed just like the words the author used to tell us about Tracy and Spencer and their struggles to accept themselves and to be accepted.

Tracy is a seventeen year old teenager who realizes she is attracted to girls. She's also a girl who has a hard time accepting the traditional roles in sixties, American society - girls are supposed to marry, have children, support their husband, be a wife who one can be proud of and who manages the household and raises the children. Tracy wonders about a lot of things. Why can't she wear men's clothes? Why can't she play basketball with the boy's team when she's better than some of them? Why can't she hold hands with a girl in public like boys and girls can? She feels very limited in her possibilities and she tries to find a way to break through the boundaries. While doing so, she often finds her conservative father in her path. He dislikes everything she does, feels embarrassed for the way she acts, ashamed when he finds out he has a gay daughter. He was a pilot in the second World War, and now works for a commercial airline. He doesn't agree with his daughters views on almost anything, but specially when it comes to the Vietnam war and to her urge to break free. They often clash and the only periods of peace at home are when he is away for a few weeks.
He's also ashamed of his son, Spencer, Tracy's older brother, whom he suspects to be gay as well. He wants to make a man out of him, and doesn't take pride in his excellent piano skills and a possible future in music. In his eyes, Spencer would only be a man if he enlists in the army, even when there's a chance he'll end op being sent to Vietnam.
Spencer is a sensitive, kind an insecure young man, wanting nothing more than to be noticed and accepted by his father. But he's gay and his father won't ever be able to accept that part of him. Even though he has a (secret) boyfriend, he won't ever be able to openly be his true self. It eats at him. And when he finally makes his choices, he might win his father over, but loses everything and everyone he ever loved and longed for.

This story is about love, about family and about finding your true self. About accepting who you are and fight to be true to yourself. Tracy was a strong, determined girl, who fought her father every time and everywhere she could, where Spencer and their mother became silent and lost themselves so they could please their father and husband. I loved how the bond between Tracy and Spencer was portrayed. They had a strong, loving and caring brother-sister relationship and Tracy tried to protect and save her brother the best she could.
When Tracy finds a way to escape and literally bring distance between her and her father, she proves that she really is that strong girl who is able to chase her dream and to find a future where she can be the girl she wants to be, with someone she choses to be with, someone she loves, whether society or her father approves or not.

I'm really impressed with this book. I usually read mm romance books, but I love historical romances and this is a book about being queer in those days, so it didn't feel like a step too far out of my usual comfort zone. And it truly didn't. I felt for Spencer and I admired Tracy.
This read like an autobiography and until I read the acknowledgements, I was in doubt whether it was. It isn't, but it's so good, it makes you feel like you get a glimpse of the author's life when she was young, about her fights and struggles, about the sadness and grief. It's so well done, it gives off a true sixties vibe too. And since I also love music, I really appreciated the playlist!

I wouldn't really call this a queer romance, but of course there is love and sure Tracy finds someone to spend her life with. But it's much more than romance - it's historical without making me feel like I'm taught a lesson in history. It's about family dynamics and how time can eventually change things. It's about coming of age and finding who you really are, what's important and what not. What you want out of life. How far you are willing to go to be yourself.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in queer fiction with a happy ending, and if you also love history (and specially the sixties), then this is certainly your book. I truly, truly loved it.

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I really like this book. The author spoke about a lot of tricky subject, and that makes this book really special. The only thing that could have been better is the timeline: sometimes I found myself a little lost as to where we were in the timeline.

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Overall, I enjoyed it, Alice, Tracy, Spencer, Pablo, Jackie and Jeff are characters that have a special place in my heart, and there is also the trope I enjoy so much that I don't know if it has a name but it's basically gay siblings pretend to date with each other's significant other so they can be happy around conservative people.

The thing is, I think there are some unnecessary comparisons between black people and queer people, some quotes that sounded to me kinda racist, and the fact that the only two black people in the book were relief comedy characters and in the end turned out to be homophobes and against the main character... well, it makes me kinda suspicious. Also there were many fatphobic comments, which is why I can't give this book 5 stars.

Personally, I like to think the author didn't understand the impact of certain words and scenes in the book that sound racist even though the main character claims not to be one, I like to think is just internalized racism that even with years of deconstruction its hard to completely quit unless you educate yourself constantly, something that didn't happen in the late sixties.

I was left with the curiosity of what happened to Pablo, after Tracy left we didn't know more about him, but I was kinda hoping we could get some letters between them, since Pablo was also Tracy's friend

And Spencer, oh, Spencer left me with so much damage, and also Jeff, I really wish they could've get a happy ending, it hurts me so much everything that happened to them.

Content warnings: suicide, abusive father, homophobia, lesbophobia, mentions of war, racism.

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