Cover Image: The Moonstone Girls

The Moonstone Girls

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Member Reviews

TW racism
I did not finish this book due to the anti-Blackness in it. If I just don't like a book, I'll finish it and write a detailed review but with this... Like, it's in the first chapter already. The main character's brother says "for real", she tells him he already lost because he used this phrase and he asks "when". She is wondering why he already forgot since he is great at remembering things (usually) and her brother goes on to say (he is good at remembering) "things that matter. Stupid slang doesn't matter". What??? AAVE isn't stupid slang and that statement is just so insolent?! The book also mentions/implies that queer people have it much harder than Black people and it was made to seem as if racism was an issue of the past, as if these two were even comparable and as if there are no queer Black people.

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“You’re either brave or kinda crazy.”
“One implies the other, don’t you think?”

One moment this book was shattering my heart and without a moments notice sexual tension was seeping out of the pages. The combination made for a raw, fearful, and honest read.

My heart is so full and broken i don’t know how this book has managed to break me down and also build me back up stronger than ever. I’m more inspired to exist as my true self.

The dynamic between siblings shows trust as it is, you can hint and hope, tearing your insides apart with fear of losing them. Knowing that no matter what they do you will accept them and support them as much as you can, and how they’d do the same for you.

The relationships in this book do move rather fast, throughout reading I realised that the urgency they each felt to be loved and to love in turn is what sped such a process up. The fear of being caught or outed meant the time spent together was precious and having a chance to get all nervous and self conscious didn’t really take precedence in these situations.

After Chapter six I put the book down and cried very hard in gratitude to all the lgbtq+ members that came before me and had to fight for the right to exist publicly as themselves and in turn fought for me and the future generation. I don’t like to dwell on the past much as I get overwhelmed but this book really put me in perspective of how ignorant a stance i’d been taking by not encouraging myself to explore the identities and stories of those who came before me.

The way femininity in mainstream media is consistently portrayed as being slim, hairless, and innocent; it makes every woman feel not feminine enough because the ideal is just that: idealistic not real. Seeing Tracy explore her gender identity when she doesn’t achieve these standards and struggling to find who she really is was beautiful. She learnt no matter how she physically presented herself the only thing that defines her gender or femininity is how she feels and chooses to identify. When Tracy wore her ‘manguise’ and felt confident and true to herself i burst out into tears, the sheer bravery of a woman exploring who she is and who she could be if she were allowed to was so heartbreaking and eye opening for me as to what a lot of queer people go through.

The title ‘The Moonstone Girls’, is honestly the most simplistic yet accurate and fitting name. The meaning behind the gemstone itself and how they constructed MoonStone to embody each of them as their true selves was fantastic.

I’m going to buy this books physical edition so I can annotate and reread my favourite parts (there’s a lot). I sense this becoming my comfort read.

Lifesavers will never be the same to me.

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Overall, this was an okay read. The story itself was touching and I think it's so important, as a young queer person, to read and learn about the experiences of queer people in the past. The book touched on a plethora of queer topics and didn't sugarcoat any of the issues. It spoke about gender identity, coming to terms with your own sexuality, the frustration and fear of having to hide your true self, the pain of growing up queer with little to no support system.

However, from a literary standpoint, I think it was a bit disappointing. I found the writing to be a bit odd. It didn't flow naturally; even the dialogue felt choppy. It seemed rushed which made it hard to connect with the characters and their relationships. Even emotional moments didn't do much for me, and problems that seemed like huge issues were easily and quickly resolved in the next chapter.

I was also a bit thrown off by the storyline itself. It may have been the fault of the synopses I read, but I was under the impression that the book would follow the main character on her journey to and in Alaska. The very first sentence of the summary on Goodreads is : "In 1968, a seventeen-year-old queer girl traveled to Alaska disguised as a boy." In the end, she didn't get to Alaska until well after the halfway mark. This isn't an issue in and of itself, but it felt like there was no real story. It read more as a biography than a fiction novel, and it was hard for me to get into it for this reason.

I don't think this is a bad book per se–I actually enjoyed the second half of the story–, but I did have higher expectations for it.

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It didn't really catch my attention. The plot was a bit too slow for my taste and I ended up not finishing the book.

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I immediately loved the premise of The Moonstone Girls, and I'm obsessed with the cover, however, I think those two elements together mislead readers as to the tone of this book. It was a lot darker than I expected, not to say that is a bad thing. I quite enjoyed the dark, yet grounded tone and author's writing style. This novels discusses queer identity, queer rights and family relationships in great detail. I was really impressed by the nuanced writing. At the end of the day I'm absolutely going to recommend this book to people, I'll just be warning them of the content before hand.

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DNF on chapter 3. The dialogue felt really stilted, the characters really one-dimensional, and their interactions forced. I understand that racism and homophobia are supposed to help set the story in its time, but it felt overdone. Within the first three chapters, it felt like all that I had read was homophobic comments and one scene with blatant racism.

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I really, REALLY wanted to love this book. Queer girls, 60s/70s culture, and a road trip to Alaska? Sign. me. up. It had everything going for it in the summary.

Unfortunately, I had to DNF this book at about 65%.

What I liked:

Obviously, I love the queer girl representation. This book actually made me reflect a lot about my own queerness and my gender presentation. I think there is a lot of value to a story that discusses issues of identity.
There were parts where I really did like Tracy’s character and her story, especially at the beginning where she is exploring her newly discovered identity.
What I really didn’t like:

There was a lot of very uncomfortable comparison between the oppression faced by queer people in the United States and the oppression faced by Black Americans. Tracy would casually say things that suggested she thought life was much easier for Black Americans at the time than for queer people. I’m not sure if this was supposed to be a commentary on white feminism where Tracy is able to confront and correct her past remarks, but I highly doubt this happens in the short amount of pages left from where I DNF’d. I just did not see why this comparison was necessary.
The dialogue felt incredibly stilted and awkward. Every time Tracy had a conversation with someone else, especially with people in her family, it felt so incredibly forced. I can’t picture anyone saying most of the things Tracy and her family say to each other.
The pacing also just seemed… off. It felt like things were happening so fast with no pause to really get the full impact of the events. I get that it’s supposed to seem like Tracy is telling the story from the present and is going through the events of her life, but it just really did not work for me.
I’m definitely in the minority with my feelings on this book. Maybe it just wasn’t for me, but I gave it two stars for the queer representation.

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Oh man, was I excited about this book when I first read the synopsis, and I was not disappointed. Everything about this story from start to finish was entirely heart-wrenching, unfortunately how it was for LGBTQ folks back in the 1960s.
There isn't particularly a lot that happens for the first 40% of the novel, yet I found myself completely encapsulated with the story no matter where I was at within it. From how this story is written, there's hardly any way to know that this story is entirely fictionalized. The raw emotion and struggles the author brings through the pages are very real, she really sells the autobiography-type feel.
This story only has a few key male characters and you will love every single one you're supposed to love and absolutely hate every one you're supposed to hate. These characters are so well-written, I felt secondhand anxiety as well as giddiness reading the characters' actions. Everything about this book feels completely authentic.
This is a truly heartwarming, inspirational historical fictional look at the daily life of an openly queer person in the 1960s, completely heart-wrenching for those like myself, openly queer people today, And in my opinion, one of 2022's must reads. It also really encourages you to have a second look at what's truly important in life, nothing is guaranteed.

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This is a wonderful book set in a time when the United States was 88% white and at least 99% straight—at least claimed to be. A time when girls had to wear dresses in school and few had any idea what a lesbian was. Add a homophobic father who desperately wants a "normal" son who likes girls and fixing cars and a feisty, don't-take-crap-from-anyone girl who'd rather be a boy and you have a story brimming with conflict. Then there is Alice, the mother, who starts off as a typically obedient housewife but becomes the lion protecting her kids. This book is as much about a woman coming of age and finding her true self and strength as it is about Tracy and Jackie finding peace and joy as lesbians in Alaska.

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• The cover of 'The Moonstone Girls' makes it seem like a cute romance which it (partly) is but it also deals deeply with homophobia, war and suicide to name its main themes.

- bad points

• This book has a huge problem regarding representation; while both protagonists are gay, they are also white. And not only them but I could reccord 3 characters who are not white and just because they are walking stereotypes.

A mexican teenage boy and twins black women. The boy keeps randomly saying spanish words - so we can never forget he's spanish, I guess?. And the twins are the loud-sassy-black-friend trope we know and hate.

And to make things worse: all of them experience racism in the book;

• I was loving it until 2/3 of the book but when it came to the last 20% it all was ruined. The main romance was developed way too quickly, the main plot had little time to expand. It felt like the author just forgot that this was supposed to be important, not rushed scenes and time skipping;

• All the making-babies-part at the end (no, I'm not talking about sex) along with a scene where the characters compare football with rape could be excluded from this book, it were short but really uncomfortable and unnecessary.

+ good points

• I absolutely love the fact that the author made a playlist with all the mentioned songs in the book;

• Right from the beginning if someone had told me it was nonfiction, I would've believe it. It gave me what I see people talk about in 'Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo" (wich I haven't read yet). Incredibly realistic. Until the very end;

• I love how we get the perspective of Tracy's mom, It's fascinating when we can learn about the parent's history life and have them be more than just a background character;

• The songs Tracy wrote were an beautiful addiction to the book;

• That was the first in a long time since I've cried with a book (twice!);

• The plot told in the synopsis talks a while to actually happen but there's so many interesting things that occurs before that, which makes you just enjoy the way to that point.

• There's a scene involving a woman/Tracy and a bathroom, and the author makes it seem all philosophical and all but let me tell you: if I enter in a bathroom and there's someone naked I WOULD ABSOLUTELY START SCREAMING. There is no way in hell I would act the same way as Tracy nor as this woman did. Not to mention it was gross (not ppl being naked but the not actually having a bath part);
• I feel like sometimes the author goes overboard in the feminist subject as to force things that doesn't necessarily are related to it in the narrative (example: the-being-naked-in-front-of-anyone-thing, which feels a lot like 'my body my choice' but that narrative where you say that for minors and they show revealing pictures thinking it's "empowerment");
• Tracy's obssesion with Jackie is SO WEIRD, she just starts "liking" her over a picture and fantasizing about her, like girl you didn't even talk to her once;
• The resolution at the end with Tracy and her father was terrible, we have the entire book of him being a terrible person to everyone, and then at the very end when he's extremely unwell and dying he gets all good and a perfect father and then dies- like ??? No, I don't want that at all, you don't get a pass for what you did and I do believe people can change but that in this book just felt off.

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I loved this sweet heartwarming book.
I think it perfectly depicted the struggle of being queer in a heteronormative world. The book also explores the themes of racism, racial discrimination, war and gender roles.
The relationship between the siblings was beautiful and touching. I laughed and cried with them. However I found the first half of the book to feel a bit superficial and I couldn't really connect with the characters, but it got better after some chapters. And the ending brought me to tears.
Reading this book was an emotional and liberating experience for me. Thank you.

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I did not expect to love this book nearly as much as I did! I was of course drawn in by the cover and the blurb, and I was really interested in reading a story that is set during a time when queerness was seen as unnormal and a sin. (That is not to say that we‘ve completely moved past that by now.)

What I wasn’t prepared for was how deeply this book would make me feel. I seldomly cry over books, but this time I really did several times. The bond between Spencer and Tracy was so special. If I had to pick one, he would be my favourite character for sure. Where Tracy was that outspoken and strong (though not unafraid) girl, he was quiet and trying to fit in and do right by everyone. Every scene in which their father laid into him hurt so much to read. I adored the song Tracy wrote about him because it just characterised him perfectly to me.

So that’s one thing that made me cry, and the other thing was that basically the only people who were accepting and supportive of Tracy were members of the queer community themselves. I always thought I had gotten the memo about how difficult it must be to be queer in a community that doesn’t accept you, but the way this book portrayed it kinda opened my eyes wider, if that makes any sense.

I adored joining Tracy on her journey to finding herself. She was so fierce and headstrong and kind and loyal and afraid of the unknown but even more afraid of staying in the place that makes her feel small and like she doesn’t belong. I hope her character can be an inspiration for a lot of people out there - and even though I‘m not queer, I can definitely learn one or two life lessons from her as well.

What more to say? The writing style was beautiful and the characters were extremely well written. I loved the way their interactions and friendship dynamics were written. Going into the book, I had expected for Tracy to go to Alaska way sooner, and I think that would have been a good thing - in the end, I felt like the story was a little rushed and despite the message that was sent about Tracy and Jackie‘s relationship and the underlying deep friendship, I didn’t really feel the chemistry between the two of them all that much.

Oh but I adored Jeff! There definitely was something about tragic male characters in this book…

Also, I personally didn’t like the wrapped-up ending, but that’s a personal preference!

4.5/5 stars.

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This book brought back so many memories of the late 60s—the music, dress codes, youthful rebellion, and iron-clad homophobia. I believe I knew many of the teens in this wonderful story which was full of pain and joy. I'm very happy I read this book.

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When scanning Netgalley's Read Now section for a new eBook, this striking cover caught my eye, as did the one sentence description on the front: "In 1968, a seventeen-year-old queer girl traveled to Alaska disguised as a boy." While the sentence itself seems a little odd as a cover hook, there's a lot of things about it that intrigued me: the late 1960s, when my parents were coming of age, positive LGBTQIA representation in YA, and, of course, ALASKA. As I may have said before, an Alaskan setting will pretty much guarantee at least a half-star boost in ratings for me. Unfortunately, this book needed every boost it could get.

Tracy and her brother Spencer have both recently come out as gay, which in 1960s Texas is a dangerous assertion. Tracy's determined to live her life proudly, while her brother is having a much harder time accepting their father's bitter anger and bigotry. After tragedy strikes their family, Tracy decides she must get out and heads to Alaska, where she hopes she can wear pants without scorn, be independent, and maybe find the girl of her dreams.

Disappointingly, despite the cover, Tracy doesn't take off for Alaska until 2/3rds of the way through the book. The majority takes place in Texas under the hateful watch of society and her father. If that was the only issue, a misconstrued sense of what this book would be, I could probably get past it. Unfortunately, that wasn't the only thing. This book is marketed as YA, which in some ways makes sense in terms of the main character's heightened sense of drama. However, every. single. interaction. Tracy has with another character was extremely emotional (whether positive or negative) in a way that felt incredibly unrealistic. There was no nuance, no gradual, no quiet. Every interaction was lived at a 10, when honestly, most of us only get there occasionally, even in our teen years. All her relationships felt extremely rushed as well. Also, I wasn't convinced I would in fact hand this book to a teenager, as there were some weird sexual scenes that felt complicated and a little iffy for me, a fan of steamy romances in her mid-thirties. As far as the LGBTQIA representation, there certainly was a lot of it, but even that didn't feel authentic to me. I don't know how the author identifies, and maybe as a cisgender straight person I have no right to question authenticity in this respect, but it left me with a lot of questions. I would definitely be interested in an own-voices reviewer's opinion.

I read this book quickly (perhaps in part to get it over fast), so at least there was that. And once she did get to Alaska, the setting was everything I could hope for. I loved all the talk about Denali and loved that I am part of the "30 percent club" of visitors who have seen the mountain in her full glory. That being said, if Denali wasn't a part of things, I don't think this star rating would have been as high as it was. This one was a womp for me.

This one hits the shelves on Valentine's Day, two weeks from now. Thanks to Netgalley and Skipstone Publishing for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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If you've ever dreamed of moving away from society to Alaska, been through a gender crisis, or are a Lesbian, you should read this book. I was thoroughly interested the entire time. Tracy is a Lesbian in 1967, her brother is gay and the two of them struggle to live in a world that does not accept them. Tracy discovers a brochure one day and decides to move to Alaska to meet the girl in the picture.

My main concern with the novel is that the POC characters seem to exist to prove that the main character is not racist. The pacing was odd at times- although it did read like a life story being retold (which was the premise of the book). At times the author could have shown character traits and development instead of simply stating it. The ending was very different from the beginning of the book, and there was a lot of foreshadowing for the ending that did not fully resolve itself. I recommend checking trigger warnings before reading.

This novel spoke to me because a lot of the time I want to move away from society to the wilderness like Tracy, mostly for the same reasons. I loved the setting and I was emotionally invested in the characters. Overall it was an enjoyable read.

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I'm a fairly new reviewer on Netgalley trying to build a reviewing profile and part of this means reviewing the free-for-all books and trying to find something that would hold my interest enough to see it through to the end and not abandon it before I can write a review. This therefore probably wouldn't have been my go-to genre and I'd probably never have read this book otherwise.

Briefly the book is written in the first person from 17-year-old girl Tracy's perspective and the first two thirds of the book are about her home life, school, living with her older brother Spencer who is gay but doesn't want to be, and Tracy's realisation that she too is gay and is happy to be. Both live with their accepting mother, and extremely bigoted father in 1968, the time of the Vietnam war, a time when men should be men, women should wear make-up and dresses, men shouldn't play the piano and men and women should stick with their own sexes and being gay is something you can snap out of.

This is another book where I would find myself thinking about it when I was away from it and wondering how things would pan out as in parts it was very emotional and thought provoking. Although it seems to be marketed as a Young Adult read, I was really taken in with it (and I am in my mid 40's), so I am sure it would appeal to all ages.

They say you should never judge a book by its cover but I'm glad I did as the cover is stunning and so was the storyline. The writing flowed well, the dialogue was realistic and the characters well rounded. The happy-ever-ending was a bit rushed to me, although all loose ends were tied up nicely, but I think the author could actually have got a second book from it.

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This was BEAUTIFUL. I loved it. I love a messy family dynamic in a story and I think sibling dynamics are often overlooked. The queer representation felt authentic, lived in, and moving. The characters truly touched me and I felt myself relating very much to Tracy. I'm so glad I read this book and I will be recommending it to everyone I know. I'm very grateful I got the chance to read it. I also thoroughly enjoyed the playlist included. That is a wonderful touch and assists the beautiful writing in evoking the time period very well.

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Where to start?! I absolutely loved it, I laughed and cried. I fell in love with characters, and despised some others. Brooke Skiptone provides us with an incredible novel based in the late 60s, going in depth on so many important topics such as sexuality, gender, mental health, and race, just to name a few. I started the book less than 24 hours ago, and I just had to keep reading in any spare time I had! So much happens in the book, I almost wish it was longer! I really cannot wait to get a physical copy of this book, I know this will be a regular reread. Thank you Brooke for such an incredible book.

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I have a few books by Skipstone in my TBR, but "The Moonstone Girls" is the first novel by her that I actually picked up and what a start!
The book touches on multiple relevant themes of the 60s, as well as relating them to today's society and highlighting how these are the same issues we are facing today. While I enjoyed reading this, I also felt like too much was thrown in in quite a short amount of time. Our female protagonist Tracy falls in love twice in the space of 300 pages, gets through an immense amount of trauma and pain, as well as adventures and setbacks. It was definitely a lot and I somehow thought it'd be best divided into parts, or even split into two books.
The content itself was great to me, and it was overall an enjoyable experience that felt well tied together and exciting to read about. I especially loved Tracy's relationships with her mother and brother, which are detailed very well and treated with outmost attention. This is a novel for all teens who love music and look to it to save themselves, and have difficult relationships with one or more parental figure, all despite loving them and hoping for them to change and love them.
It's a three and a half star read for me, rounded up to four.

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I may have a new favourite book.
To cram so much emotion, so much character, so much beauty into a reasonably short book is incredible. Looking back, this is very much a novel in two parts, but it flows beautifully.
'The Moonstone Girls' has so much to say and so much to give, I can't believe I haven't seen much hype for this book yet. It felt so real I was convinced it was autobiographical until I read the acknowledgements.
My sole criticism would be that the ending felt a little rushed and the writing wasn't quite the same as the rest of the book, but it doesn't take away from my overall impression of it.
A must read for fans of Evelyn Hugo & the marauders etc.

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