Cover Image: The Moonstone Girls

The Moonstone Girls

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Member Reviews

I can’t say I enjoyed myself reading this book, and that really sucks because the cover is stunning and it genuinely sounds like something I would really like. I’m usually a sucker for anything LGBT, I wrote about the lack of proper LGBT representation in YA fiction in the 2010s for my BA dissertation, and though I love what this book was trying to do, the writing style kept me from fully enjoying it. Writing in first person POV is so limiting in itself though it does have its perks, one of them being that the fact that we get the inner monologue which can help us understand the main character more. However, we got none of that and I never really got to understand Tracy at all. She didn’t read like an actual person. Whenever she spoke up about something, I just felt like it was more performative than actually meaningful on her behalf. I had to sit on this one for a few days, but I landed on one star after debating between that and two stars. I just did not like it.

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Literally 2 pages into this book I started to feel that white feminism vibe. Then I saw one glorious 1 star review saying that happens throughout most of the book. Unnecessary comparisons of Black ppl & Queer ppl. As if being Black was the easier option, as if Black Queer folks don't exist. Then I searched my ebook for "Black" found another one of those examples and decided i've read enough

Quotes in question
" 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"
Bayard Rustin who orchestrated the march on Washington would beg to differ

"The only way society would accept such a premise (interracial couple white & Black) would be if the brilliant doctor was played by Sidney Poitier. Mom & Dad & maybe even Spencer would walk away feeling good about themselves. they'd have been tolerant too in those circumstances. who wouldn't? but no casting or directors tricks would sell the story of the girl bringing home her girlfriend"

these are odd and uncomfortable.

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This book was beautiful and also absolutely brutal. Kind of reminded why I don’t read period pieces. Same melancholy awful feeling as the Miseducation of Cameron Post. 4 stars.

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I enjoy reading books that take place in a different time where it's not easy being who you are. Our MC has serious struggles with living in 1960 and being her authentic self. The cover is colourful and I thought it would be lighter than it was but I was still drawn into the story.

Despite the hard topics this book is about hope and pushing through even if the world doesn't seem to accept you.

An ARC was provided by the publisher in return for an honest review.

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I was incredibly excited to read this book when I first received and ARC, but, sadly, the novel did not live up to my expectations. The synopsis gave me incredibly high hopes for the story, and I must admit that the cover absolutely helped when it came to making the decision to ask for this book.

The book started out quite promising — establishing the deeply special bond shared by two queer siblings in a time and family that didn’t quite know what to do with them. However, no matter how layered the characters’ lives and their relationships with one another were, the writing took me out of the story. It was quite juvenile, even for a YA book, and the dialogue felt forced, too artificial to keep me immersed in the story.

This book simply wasn’t for me, though I can see other people appreciating the queer representation and the exploration of just how complex family bonds can really be.

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I’m not going to lie— when I picked up The Moonstone Girls and saw the bright pink and yellow cover, I thought it was going to be a lighter, fun novel set in the late 1960s. Even after reading the description, I expected it to be a bit lighter fare overall, but I have to warn you— the happy brightness of the cover is a deception. The Moonstone Girls does have plenty of light moments, and it is absolutely a 1960s novel, but it also was far darker than I was expecting. (I’ve included content trigger warnings at the end of the review, but beware of slight spoilers.)

The Moonstone Girls is told in retrospect by Tracy, who when she was seventeen in 1967/1968 had to learn to navigate life as a lesbian when the world was not openly friendly to those in the LGBTQ community. This is definitely a coming-of-age story, with none of the brutal punches held back, that follows a tumultuous year that shaped who Tracy would become as a person. It’s a study of what it’s like growing up queer in a society that views queerness as a disease (thanks history), but it’s also a story about the bonds and struggles of family, finding a community that will love you for who you are, grief and loss, feminism, and self-acceptance.

There are a few things that would make me hesitate recommending this book, especially for younger readers, mostly due to the content trigger warnings (listed below—slight spoilers) and some excessive gratuitous sex scenes. This is not a book for everyone, and I would highly suggest looking at the content trigger warnings to decide if this book is right for you.

Overall, I’m glad I read it, even if I wasn’t prepared for some of events of the novel that ticked my own trigger warnings. The Moonstone Girls does not shy away from telling the truth, even if that truth is almost impossible to swallow, as some things in life are. In the end, though, the book was hopeful— maybe, for a moment, matching that bright cover after all.


tw: suicide, car accident, homophobia, internalized homophobia, period-typical homophobia, slurs, parental abuse, verbal abuse, gaslighting/manipulation

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A rich book full of emotion, and great characters. A beautifully told story, and one that I would recommend. Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Before we are introduced to the contents of this book, we are presented with a Spotify playlist. As a writer who uses music as inspiration and is constantly making playlists for my own works, I was immediately so excited! I did listen to the playlist that was given as I read and I highly recommend doing this if you’re a reader who listens to music while you read! The experience was absolutely phenomenal.

Set it the late 60s, Moonstone Girls follows Tracy, a girl who is coming to terms with her sexuality, her place in the world and her anger towards it. It tackles issues such as queer liberation, the changing of labels and language over time, women’s rights, the anti-war movement and perfectly captures the zeitgeist of 1968 and what it must have felt like to exist during this time as a 17-year-old lesbian.

This book honestly shook me. It was an emotional roller coaster that hit so close to home, I cried on several occasions. The family dynamic within Moonstone Girls was so real and raw. From the father’s ignorant abuse, the mother’s silent role with her secret streak of rebellion, the brother’s disdain for conflict and Tracy’s fiery need to rock the boat all came together in such a real explosion of personality. The only thing I could critique about this otherwise amazing book is that Tracy and her brother, Spencer, called each other ‘bro’ and ‘sis’. For me, this is just a silly pet peeve as I have never called my own siblings ‘bro’ or ‘sis’ and neither has anyone else I know. But, who am I to judge someone else’s sibling dynamic, right? I thought perhaps this could have been more common in the 60s and it absolutely wasn’t something I couldn’t move past.

Tracy’s character, for me, perfectly brings together the intertwined web of identity and the crossovers between the butch lesbian, trans and nonbinary experiences (which, of course, we only recently have gained the words to express). Although I myself am a femme, I saw snippets of myself as well as my friends and my partner in her experiences. Tracy’s energy and spunk can be perfectly summed up by the beat of Louie Louie by The Kingsman, and I just absolutely will love her forever. She is SO COOL!

Music was such a huge part of this book (and surprisingly so was sport, which I adored) and this absolutely made my heart sing.

Thank you to NetGalley and Skipstone Publishing for providing me an e-copy of this wonderful title in exchange for my honest thoughts. I can’t wait to get myself a copy of the paperback! The front cover is absolutely to die for and very cleverly ties in the colours of the lesbian flag. Whether that was intentional or not, it’s gorgeous!

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The Moonstone girls is about two gay siblings in the 1960 trying to overcome the challenges that come with being queer. the representation in this book felt genuine and was done very well. it was a lot darker than I thought it would be, so make you know that before reading this, but I highly recommend you do. The only thing that I thought could be better was the pacing. 60% of this book is Tracy trying to get to Alaska, which isn’t terrible but I felt you spend way too long actually getting to the heart of the story. Overall, this book gets 4 stars and I recommend you read.

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I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for a fair review.

Oh wow - this book moved me a lot more than I ever expected it to. The premise interested me; a story of growing up gay and gender non-conforming in the 60s, whilst navigating unaccepting parents alongside finding yourself. Though I found the first 30% of the book to be quite slow-paced, once I really got into it, I was hooked.

The story is equal measures heartbreaking and beautiful - Tracy and Spencer's siblingship had me crying from both tears of joy and heartbreak at various points throughout. The characters within the book are so extremely well written - you adore the good ones, and want to break the noses of the bad ones.

The book itself is extremely well-wrtten; the characters are really well developed, with each of the MC's getting their own time to truly come into themselves throughout the story. I was rooting for Tracy throughout, and was so happy with how her ending turned out. For Spencer, my heart broke for him. He's written as the type of character you simply want to reach into the book and hug for a while.

Overall, I believe this book is a must read for everyone's 2022 - it's thought provoking, endearing and the story feels authentic throughout. Moreover, it urges you to gain perspective of the shortness of life, and how we must evaluate what really does matter to us. Brooke Skipstone wrote an absolutely incredible narrative in The Moonstone Girls, and I will absolutely be recommending it to everyone I know.

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TWs include homophobia, suicide, mourning the death of a loved one

I loved this book so immensely. It broke my heart several times and it also made my heart sing with the relationships and friendships in the novel. It read to me like a memoir, I had to keep reminding myself it was fiction because the characters, their lives and hardships seemed so real, and these were definitely peoples’ stories in the 60s, who
struggled with their sexuality and acceptance from society.

Our main character goes to Alaska after her brother commits suicide to look for acceptance from the outside and also to figure herself out in an environment where she doesn’t have her judgmental dad looking over her shoulder. She finds a found family (including her life partner), love, acceptance, and over 50 years later- apology from her dad.

I loved Tracy’s mom, got frustrated with her dad and the outside world, ached when her brother passed away with her- there truly is no stronger bond than a sibling bond- and swelled with love when she found her partner in Alaska. I’m also so glad Tracy’s mom was able to find her own way as well and reunited with her daughter.

This was a unique and beautiful read and I really highly recommend it.

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This book is about love, healing, and acceptance.

i can never imagine how hard it was to be LGBT back in the day. It's like they were the most horrible thing happened in the world. This book really reached my heart BIG TIME, because it doesn't tackle just about gender discrimination, but also grief and love for ourselves..

Tracy taught me how to be brave in all circumstances. I never imagined myself surviving all those things she experienced. She's one heck of a character! She's bold and resilient. Nothing could stop her. I love her!

The tone and the point of view of the story is unique. As I progress in the story, I thought this is an autobiography!
I loved everything about this book: Mom, Spencer, Tracy, Jackie, Jeff, Pablo and even Dad! I loved how the story ends. The character development of Mom and Dad was satisfying. Especially Dad, I was crying the whole Dad scene in the end!

Everyone should really read this book. I literally hugged my Kindle after finishing it. Plus it has playlists you can play to really feel the setting.

Thanks so much Netgalley and Skipstone Publishing for giving me an opportunity to read and have an advanced reader's copy of this wonderful book in exchange of an unbiased review.

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I laughed and cried. I love this whole story so much. The relationship, the real struggles, the themes and imagery and love? Exceptional!

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Tracy and her brother are gay and when this is revealed to their family, their father violently opposes. With the turmoil of the Vietnam War, the pain of loss and the calling of a girl in Alaska push Tracy to undertake a soul-searching journey.
She dresses as a boy because society won't accept two girls in love, and through this she begins to explore and defy gender stereotypes and find her place in the world.

I did exactly what we're taught not to do - I judged The Moonstone Girls by its cover, I saw the bright, familiar colours and paired that with the vague, seemingly upbeat synopsis and was entirely mislead as to what the tone of the book would be, and that's not a bad thing!
It's a lot darker and more grounded than I was expecting and the authors handling of a lesbian relationship in a homophobic society is powerful and raw, and the stigma surrounding the queer community in the 60s is articulately portrayed through the stories of these characters, which character development resonant of Taylor Jenkins Reid.
Every inch of the story is captured in vivid emotionally raw detail and is truly authentic and enthralling.

It has to be noted that the book is laced with "white queerness".
There was comparison between the oppression queer people and black people face, which was incredibly uncomfortable.
I can't rate it higher because of this, and because of how stitled each piece of dialogue felt.
The stars I have given it are for the queer/lesbian rep and the character development from the perspective of a white, queer reviewer.

Checking content warnings is advised.

Thank you NetGalley for the arc

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I was so blown away by this book and positively surprised! I went in expecting a easy-going novel, but received so so much more. This book was emotional and powerful, whilst thoroughly exploring themes like sexuality and family relationships. I was immersed completely into the fear of being queer in the 1960s and searching for approval and safety amongst a hostile world. The depth and the sensitivity at which these issues were discussed and represented by the characters was incredible. I loved the relationship between the two siblings especially, and the clear differences between their personalities and the contrast in how they dealt with adversity. I also found the exploration into the father's character and mindset very interesting (especially the discussion about the Vietnam War and his generations' desire for a nuclear family). I will be highly recommending this book. 5 star read!

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This book is a novel, at its core about queer identity, their rights, and the family/friend relationships at play. Written based on the 1960s, a period that was considered a great cultural revolution, this novel shines. We follow Tracy, who is transgender and how awkward she feels in her own skin. On top of that, her brother, Spencer believes the same about himself (herself). AS the Vietnam war gains momentum, Spencer is considered for the draft. Tracy finds herself dressing like a boy and leaving her family behind in exchange for a life on the road. She ends up in Alaska with her guitar and that is when she meets The MoonStone Girls.

I was a big fan of THE MOONSTONE GIRLS, especially after seeing the cover and the plot of the book. HOWEVER, I do think the book is a bit misleading. This book is a lot darker than people might think - this tone is not a bad thing, in fact I think it plays in the book’s favour, however, this doesn’t seem to be the case from the premise provided. I really liked this book and highly recommend!

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Wow. I don’t even know where to start with this book. There’s so much in this book that I can’t stop thinking about and I’ve been telling all my friends about it because it is such an important one. But it’s definitely not an easy read.

Being different is never easy and especially for the LGBTQ community it’s a whole different level. We all see it on a daily basis (even in 2022 there’s still so much that needs to improve).
Now, let’s imagine it’s the late 1960s and two teenagers (brother and sister) are trying to figure out who they are, who they love and why they aren’t happy with the bodies they were born into. Whilst having to deal with the worst father in the world who shows no love, respect, understanding or support because for him (and most people back then) there are certain “rules and behaviours” for boys and girls and you are not allowed to act differently.

More trigger warnings for this book are definitely suicide and toxic relationships, which forced me to put the book aside for a while at some point because it got too much.
But despite all the dark things in this books, we also get such a beautiful love story and we also get to see how a mother and daugther fight together for a better life.

The writing and character building reminded me a lot of Taylor Jenkins Reid and that’s probably why I enjoyed Brooke Skipstone’s writing style so much. There were so many moments where I had to check if this was actually an autobiography because it just felt so real.

There’s still so much that I haven’t said about this book but just believe when I say that you don’t want to miss it when it is coming out on the 14th of February (so soon already)!

Thanks again @netgalley for letting me read such a powerful book!

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I'll start with the good: the cover is beautiful, and the one-liner printed on it was intriguing. The premise of this YA book on the LGBTQIA+ community alone is enough to draw anyone in. The writing is also very clear, and the author steers clear of any pompous words, perhaps because of the YA audience.

However, this was a classic example of me judging a book by its cover. While that one-liner introduced an element of adventure and mystery, lo and behold, more than 1/3 into the book, Tracy is still stuck in her conservative hometown and living under the scrutiny of the people around her. We haven't arrived at the main action.

While the premise was amazing, I felt that the BIPOC characters were not represented well at all. I felt as though they were mere tools to advance Tracy's development. Even her own brother Spencer felt like a caricature of the effeminate gay man. There was not much nuance at all and things are either at a 0 or 10. It's either no relationship, or hardcore making out and groping. It was hard to get behind the plot and support the characters because the build-up wasn't there.

This book also tells more than it shows. Everything is in the dialogue, the characters are literally spelling it all out for each other all the time. No guesswork is needed at all, and that removes the beauty of uncovering secrets and interpreting the events that happen. As a reader, I don't like when things are left waaaaay too open or if there are too many plot holes. Conversely, I also don't like being spoon-fed and having my agency and intuition as a reader to be alienated from reading.

I was really stoked for this, and I'm bummed that I could not finish this and had to leave a less than stellar review. There were no surprising turn of events in this one and everyone seemed to be a trope, even our protagonist herself.

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I want to say a huge thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this beautiful book, and to Brooke Skipstone for writing it.

I cried through so much of this book, both happy and sad tears. It moved me in so many ways, and that’s such a precious thing when reading.

This book is beautiful and painful in equal measures. It’s a story of love and acceptance and finding yourself. It’s about loving and accepting yourself even when the world and everyone in it tries to tell you you’re wrong. It’s about found-family and romance and growing up gay in the 60s.

Apparently, the more I feel about a book, the less I know what to say.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book, not just to queer people, but to everyone.

This book is set for release on February 14 and is currently available for preorder on Kindle for under $5 in Australia so go snag a deal!

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4.5 stars. I received an ebook ARC copy in exchange for an honest review.
Wowzas! What a great, solid book. If you like hippie lesbians, sapphic historical fiction, and found family, then this book is for you. There are MAJOR trigger warnings for homophobia, sexual assault, racism, homophobic slurs, and s*icde.
Honestly I adored this book. Tracey was such an engaging, feisty protagonist who reminded me a lot of myself at that age. I especially related to her relationship with her dad (unfortunately). This book was so raw and real, it will definitely make you cry! I especially loved how Tracey's relationship to gender and gender presentation as it relates to lesbianism was written, as a genderqueer lesbian it was very relatable. It would’ve been five stars, but I docked half a star for the following reasons:
-this book is kinda explicit for a book that is marketed as YA.
-the middle of the book lagged a bit.
-as much as I loved the ending, it felt rushed.
All in all this was a great book and I can’t wait to get my hands on Skipstone’s other books!

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