Cover Image: The Moonstone Girls

The Moonstone Girls

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Member Reviews

This book was so atmospheric and lovely. I've always had a soft spot for queer coming of age stories so this hit the spot perfectly for me. Content warning, however: there is mention of suicide/suicidal ideation so please be aware of that prior to reading.

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I'm done this book and before I get into the review can we talk about how STUNNING that cover is!!!

ok anyways - this book is about a teenager in the 60s navigating their sexuality (this is such a basic synopsis it is much deeper than that). This book was actually pretty good- I loved how character driven it was and the amount of shocks that came with reading it. Like I was tearing up in class while reading this book TRYING to pull myself together. Alongside sexuality and homophobia, this book covers racism and police brutality and the gender construct and I loved that. Despite the main character being female, they would constantly step out of binaries . There were so many lines that insinuated that the main character could be gender non-conforming and I absolutely loved that.

But, there were some parts that I just though were filler and then other parts that I thought were too drawn out. Like I wish "Moonstone girls" was more early introduced in the story rather than having this whole build up for it to be one thing at like 80% into the novel (perhaps the author did that on purpose since it was sort of written in an autobiographical style). Another criticism I have is probably more personal but I did not feel the chemistry between the two girls at the end, maybe this is more subjective.

All in all this book was pretty decent, took me a while to get through because school SUCKS. Have a nice day to whoever's reading this <3333

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I read this book in one day and even listened to most of the playlist. I love 60s music! All of it fit perfectly in the story which was at once tragic and full of hope. And so full of symbolism. The story starts with a mention of three Polaroid prints of two nude girls walking and kissing in front of many others having just emerged from a lake—cleansed and reborn, no longer worried about hiding her sexuality or her body. Yet the main character starts the story uncomfortable in her own skin, thinking she should have been a boy. She disguises herself as one through much of the story but eventually finds herself being photographed—naked and vey much a girl. Such a satisfying full circle.

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I think the formatting of this book- a story written by the main character about her own life- was a beautiful vessel for a really great tale. I feel really connected to Tracy and Jackie and Jeff and Spencer and all the other characters we met. I know this book could mean a lot to queer girls, and I'm excited to see it published.

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The cover really drew me in! It's gorgeous and evokes joy, which this book has in plenty. But there is also so much angst and high drama. The main character—Tracy—is a pistol. So protective of her gay brother and so unafraid to confront misogyny. I wish I had been more like her as a teenager.

At first she is hesitant to respond to Ava's advances, but once she experiences her first kiss, she is determined to experience more. Which she does but only in secret. She decides to disguise herself as a boy so she and her girlfriend can be together in public. She had always considered herself to be more boy than girl.

Tracy cannot feel comfortable in the rigid expectations of a girl in the late 60s. Dressed as a boy, she finds her confidence which eventually leads her to pursue a dream in Alaska where she doesn't need a "disguise." She can be who she is without apology.

I cried many times during this story, and cheered at others. I loved the role music played in her life and the story. Tracy and her family go through the depths of despair and the intense anger that only family members can feel for each other. How the family ultimately resolves will take your breath away.

This is a very well-written story.

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[ARC provided by NetGalley.]

Wow, I feel really bad writing this. Despite my hopes, when I hit 50% and was not enjoying myself, I decided it was time to DNF and take the loss. I seem to be in the vast minority here, though, so don't take my word as gospel!

Starting with the things I liked! I enjoyed the overall atmosphere of this book. I also really enjoyed the dynamic between the two siblings. That felt really genuine. I also really liked that it felt like an autobiography, especially since it's written in the style of one! I also liked that a playlist was included, haha. I wish more authors included an official playlist in their works!

Unfortunately, that's about it for me. The truth is I'm not super shocked I didn't vibe with this much since I'm not the biggest fan of contemporary fiction, but the cover was SO gorgeous I just had to give it a try. (Oh yeah, props to whoever designed the cover! Fantastic job!) I was really, really hopeful seeing the other reviews were insanely high.

Sadly, I kind of feel like a spoilsport knowing I'm going to be one of the first and only negative reviews for this book. I didn't HATE it. I want that clear. I think this book has a lot going for it, just... not for me.

Specific things I didn't like that lead to me DNFing: like I said, contemporaries usually aren't my thing. They just tend to bore me a lot of the time, and unfortunately that happened here.

The writing of the pov character was especially... grating. I feel bad saying that, but it's the only way I can think to put it. As a very queer sapphic person, I love female characters that are outspoken and true to themselves! The problem here is that the way Tracy talks and acts is often very artificial sometimes. Like she's not a real person. And I know she's a character but it really takes me out of it. Like, she talks back and that's fine, but she does it in a way that makes it painfully clear that she is being written in the 2020s. And it just got to a point where I couldn't take it. She also sometimes did or said things that were uncomfortable in a way that I don't think was intended, although it's hard to put into words?

The choice to write first person didn't help, as first person amplifies your pov character for better or for worse. And I did not enjoy being stuck in the head of a character I didn't like. She's just a tough character, and I imagine she'll be more someone else's cup of tea.

Despite DNFing, I'm still going to give it two stars. I recognize why other people like it! This is just a situation where the book isn't for me.

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This was going to be a comprehensive review but honestly I'm in awe. I don't have words to describe how much I loved this book, how much I needed it. I could say that the story flowed seamlessly, that the characters were very human and that it had the perfect ending, but that wouldn't be saying anything, really. Because what got to me was the way in which the main character's family danced around each other, her dad's screaming and her mom's silence, her brother's need to deescalate conflict and her need to do the opposite. The familiar feeling of always looking for somewhere to belong, for someone to belong with. The need to escape. The need to reach out for people who are doing worse than you and pull them out of their spirals. The hope put in some far away place, the one-way promise that everything will be okay. That you will find love, and you will find community, and you will find peace.
As a queer woman, I am so honored to have read this. I can't wait for more queer women to read this, too.

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The Moonstone is set in 1968 and follows Tracy and her brother Spencer who are struggling to figure out who they are. Both Tracy and Spencer are gay and one day they are caught with their gay partners. Their lives and future soon become endangered by their homophobic father while their mom tries to defend them. Soon Tracy and her father start disagreeing more and more causing turmoil within the family. So at seventeen Tracy decides to leave home and go to Alaska to see if she can find who she is and the love she has always wanted.

*Trigger warning: this book does have themes of suicide*

Thank you NetGalley and Brook Skipstone for the ARC of this book. If you would like to read this it comes out on February 14th. This is one of those books that I feel like is going to stick with me for a while. It deals with issues of staying true to yourself, loss, and love. It was such a beautifully written book and shows what life was like for the LGBTQIA+ community in the 1960’s. I would highly suggest checking this one out when it comes out. Such a great story.

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Even though this heartbreaking story takes place in the late 60s, it could easily happen today in many, many families. Otherwise, why are 40% of current homeless youth from the LGBTQ+ community? This story is engrossing, touching, and beautifully constructed. All the characters—even the most minor—are distinct and real. Tracy's journey to self-acceptance will linger in your thoughts for a long time.

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In 1968, a seventeen-year-old queer girl travelled to Alaska disguised as a boy. But she also did so much more than that. She faced critics, broke boundaries, loved, lost, and ultimately allowed herself to live life on her own terms.

Though set in the late 60s, a time where homosexuality and 'otherness' was feared and ridiculed, Tracy's voice is still relevant to, and reflective of, the modern queer experience in many senses, particularly the importance of community, shared understanding, and a chosen family. I believe 'The Moonstone Girls' is intended as a young adult novel, but it does not read as such - the almost naive maturity of the main character is reflected in the writing, which I think makes it appealing to a broader audience than teens.

This is a tale of love, grief, freedom and music, and one which will stay with me long after my tears have dried (you're going to need some tissues for this one). I couldn't possibly rate it lower than 5/5 - on this basis, I will be sure to seek out Brooke Skipstone's previous work.

Many thanks to Brooke Skipstone, Skipstone Publishing, and NetGalley for the opportunity to enjoy this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review.

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please read this book ! it’s everything i’ve ever wanted and just ugh it’s so good. of course there were a couple moments that annoyed me but im a very critical reader so that’s no shock - i honestly think most people will be better at looking past those little things. i’ve preordered a copy and i’m so exited to read it physically !

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“In 1968, a seventeen-year-old queer girl traveled to Alaska disguised as a boy.”
“The Moonstone Girls” book cover might say this quote, but damn if this book isn’t so, so much more than just that.
The majority of “The Moonstone Girls” is the story of Tracy and her brother Spencer both growing up queer in the 60’s. The first three quarters of this book had me in a constant battle between hopeful joy and heartache. Tracy and Spencer go through so much, both inside their home and out, facing homophobia, discrimination, and verbal abuse from their father and other people in their lives that judge them for being queer. It was painful to read Tracy’s feelings about herself, her sexuality, her relationship with Ava, and her relationship with her brother. I can’t even imagine how painful this book would have been, had it been told from Spencer’s point of view. Tracy is strong-willed and determined not to let people tell her how she should live her life and who she should be able to love, but Spencer struggles to do the same. The heartache and overwhelming sense of longing for acceptance is so tangible in this story, it made me cry more than once. After a horrible loss and the weight of intense grief and sadness, Tracy finally makes her way to Alaska, alone.
Traveling alone allows Tracy to stand in her power as a queer woman and to overcome any last hesitancies she may have had about being who she is and standing up for herself and other LGBTQ people. The relationships that Tracy forms with Jackie and Jeff at Camp Wonder completely transform her life. They are genuine and accepting and loving, and the bond the three of them share follows them for the rest of their lives.

This book made me so emotional, both in sadness and hope. I absolutely loved it. 
“The Moonstone Girls” is full of grief, heartache, hatred, and pain; it is raw and rough-edged and real—but every last bit of it glows with hope and determination for the characters to live in their truth. It will make your heart hurt, and it might make you cry, but “The Moonstone Girls” is a poignant, powerful book that deserves all the reads.

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This is a historical fiction set in 1968, and Tracy, our protagonist, really made it feel as though the story was really written by someone who was a teen in 1968 reflecting back on that time of their life. I loved Tracy’s mom! Will recommend to those wanting historical fiction about the 1960s, those looking for LGBTQIA+ historical fiction, and those wanting drama or angst with a [mostly] happy ending. Those who love the movie Across the Universe will, in particular, enjoy this story and its overall vibe. Unique, interesting novel.

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I cannot describe how much I love this book. I thought this book was an autobiography until I'd finished it and realised it was fiction. I felt the emotions of the characters so strongly, it was like I was transported into their world. It highlighted the struggles of being a member of the LGBTQ+ community in the 1960s, in society in general, and within their home and family life, it was a complete emotional rollercoaster and highlights the importance of how healing it is to be somewhere you feel accepted and free. This is a book that will stick with me for the rest of my life. I highly recommend this to anyone!

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The Moonstone Girls reads like an autobiography of an honest, raw depiction of a family struggling with LGBTQ issues in the late '60s. Both Tracy and her brother Spencer realize their gay tendencies when they discover partners during the Thanksgiving holidays in 1967. Their father is a commercial pilot who is away from the family at least half of every month, but he was home when Spencer hugged and kissed a boy on the front lawn and when Tracy kissed Ava during a lifesaver relay game at a party. The relationship between the siblings and their father had always been tense due to Spencer's effeminate (according to the norms of the time) mannerisms and preferences and Tracy's liberal political views, but it spirals into a full-blown war. Tracy fights back, but Spencer can't deal with his shame and desire for his father's acceptance.

Tracy finds an ally in her mother who tries to protect and love her children. Their bond grows exponentially during the story. Eventually, Tracy realizes she must leave home to remain sane and discover her true self. Lured by a photo of a girl wearing overalls and carrying an axe in the Alaskan wilderness, Tracy sets her sights on traveling to Alaska in June disguised as a boy.

This is a story of many ups and downs, excrutiating sorrow and laugh-out-loud joy. Above all, it is a story of great love and forgiveness, a coming of age tale of a queer girl at a time when homosexuality was mainly rejected and misunderstood.

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Such a wonderful book! The main story occurs from November 1967 through June 1968 in both San Antonio and Denali National Park (then called Mt. Mckinley Park). We follow Tracy and her brother Spencer as they struggle with being queer at a time and place when gender norms were very rigid. The book provides a roller coaster of emotions. I was engaged throughout. The characters are very well developed, even the minor ones.

Besides being a romance, this book is a family drama with intense arguments and rejection, as well as deep love and forgiveness. It is also a story of the power of music—how it can be a means of intense bonding and bridging differences.

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I'm not going to lie, the cover of this drew me in immediately - look at all the pretty colours - but the beauty of this book isn't just on the outside (although I have to appreciate how much it resembles the lesbian pride flag). Whilst this is not the happiest queer story I've ever read, it was a really interesting read, and the first time I've read a story that focused on being a queer person in 1960s America. I at first found it hard to get into, but by the middle I was hooked and devoured the rest of the book quickly.

The main focus of the story was on Tracy as she experiences two years of her late teens and becomes her own person. She is fun to read as she's a bit of a hot head and is definitely controlled by her emotions, but her journey of self determination and bravery is balanced well with this, and by the end of the book you can definitely see how far she's come as a person.

The other characters are also good reads, especially those within Tracy's family as well as the people she meets along the way. Skipstone does a fantastic job in exploring the complexity of characters and their individual fears, and ensures all of them feel different from each other. There were characters that we didn't see very often that I would have like to have seen more of, but alas there were so many I understand why we couldn't.

I enjoyed the breadth of relationships explored in this book, and how they can be formed, broken and ultimately healed over time and circumstances. Whilst at times, a little too cheesy for my taste, it was also really sweet and felt like a good encompassing of all the different kinds of relationships and their endings that you can experience in life, made all the more bittersweet when you realise a lot of them didn't have to end like that if it wasn't for discrimination and prejudice. Furthermore, the theme of forgiveness that ran throughout all these relationships was a joy, and at times I did crave a little more focus on this concept and how it could flourish, it was still handled well and nothing felt ridiculous or contrived.

However, it should be said if you are looking for the great queer romance, I'm not sure this is for you. There's definitely queer romance in here, some I found worked really well, and others just weren't for me. Unfortunately, the main romance of this book was just fine in my opinion, I don't really have any feelings for it one way or another, and I was honestly hoping for a little bit more, but the other relationships in this book made up for that.

The breadth of topics and issues addressed within this is staggering, but somehow Skipstone ensures that all are dealt with care and none of them feel false in anyway. The coming out stories in this are obviously the highlight, and whilst some aspects of this got a little too much and too cheesy for my tastes, I understood where it was coming from and appreciated the overall arc. As well as this, it's nice to see coming out stories which differ, and show the complexities of accepting one's identity.

I should note, if you are thinking of seeking this book out, it does contain some language and "jokes" that are inappropriate/insensitive. I don't believe this has been done by the author with any malicious intent, as it reads true to what characters in the 1960s would have said and thought, neither is it ever framed a the good way, it may just be something you want to be aware of though.

This is a good book, I have no serious accusations to levy against it and despite a few small bumps along the way I enjoyed it and think others will too.

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The Moonstone Girls is YA novel that follows Tracy and her brother Spencer, two queer kids in the late 1960s. and their struggles to come to term with their sexuality and gender identity, as well as many other social problems of the mid 20th century.

I want to start with something positive, so I'll preface this by saying that the colours of the cover are stunning, and I could definitely see that a lot of effort was put into the writing of this book, as well as the representation. It is evident that the subject of the book is of importance to the author. However, there were things that I did not like.

Firstly, the pacing was a bit off, sometimes I felt like I was reading a very slow-paced novel, other times I felt like things were going all too fast. And I am personally not a big fan of long epilogues that map out the entire life of the characters after the main part of the book is over, but that's just a personal preference. I would have been fine with more of an open ending, but I do see the point the author was trying to make.

The writing seemed a bit childish at some points, but this is YA, the protagonist is 17 and the book is written in first person, so it makes sense that the writing isn't sophisticated or fancy. It's just Tracy telling the story of her life. However, she is older when she actually writes the book, so I'm conflicted on this one.

I did like the exploration of many social issues in the 1960s, a lot of topics were touched upon, such as homophobia, transphobia, the Vietnam War and the trauma of veterans, misogyny, racism, predatory behaviour and much more. The "good" characters (i.e. Tracy, who was the activist), seemed a bit preachy at times, and very, very open-minded, sometimes she seemed like she was from the 21st century, not the 20th. I know the point was that she is a girl in the 1960s who brings people's attention to all the things that are wrong with that society and I know those people existed but give her a break. She can't teach every child she runs into to become an open-minded person, which of course they should. Nonetheless, the topics explored are very important and they should be talked about. It just wasn't in the way I expected, and sometimes it didn't go deep enough for my taste. Having random homophobic side characters appear and Tracy absolutely destroying them in an angry monologue just isn't enough for me.

Spencer and Tracy have a very intimate sibling relationship that I enjoyed reading about. I don't really have any complaints about their relationship, although I would like to say that the whole "sis" and "bro" thing slightly disturbed me. Nobody calls their sister "sis" or their brother "bro" that often, every second sentence they were calling each other that. I haven't ever called my sister "sis" except once or twice, ironically because people without siblings often think we call each other "sis" or "bro". But who am I to judge, maybe the author does have siblings and they call each other "sis" and "bro".

I didn't really feel connected to any of the characters, or their relationships to each other, I liked Spencer and Pablo and their relationship, that seemed genuine, but Tracy just met Ava and a bit later they were already saying they were in love. (Jackie and Tracy as well) If there is one literary trope that I strongly dislike (hate is a strong word), it's insta-love. I get that you're horny teenagers, but that's not love. Oh and if you do plan on reading this, please be warned that there is quite some sexual content in this, more explicit than I would expect from a YA, which isn't bad, (older) teenagers do have sex as well, but I think a younger audience should be warned. I'd say if you're younger than 15, maybe you shouldn't read this.

One tiny thing I found amusing to begin with and a bit annoying at the end was how Pablo's bilingualism was portrayed. Sometimes he just said random things in Spanish, his first language, like hello or simple sentences. I get that sometimes you don't find the right words in your second language and I relate, I speak multiple languages as well. But when you get to a certain language level (and Pablo has reached this level as he is able to fluently communicate in English), you're able to distinguish between your native language and the language you are speaking. You don't randomly start speaking your native language except hard words you might not know (not "oh you're so beautiful" or "that's great"). The way Pablo spoke gave me big "Oh, it's so hard to switch sometimes"-vibes which is how a lot of monolingual people think bilingualism work, we just strictly switch between languages, rather than thinking in a mixture of languages. But we are still able to differentiate between the languages we speak. That was a long paragraph about a small thing, but I really wanted to say that.

Anyways. I wish I could have rated this book higher, the premise did sound very interesting but unfortunately, it was a bit disappointing, for me at least. Maybe other people will have a different opinion, and I've read other, positive 4 or 5 star reviews of this book, so it's not a bad book, it just wasn't for me. If you want an emotional queer historical story and you don't mind slightly preachy characters or insta-love, this might be your next favourite read! I wouldn't discourage anyone from reading this, it wasn't bad, I just personally didn't like it that much for the reasons above.

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This is a really enjoyable read that dealt with sesitive and emotive issues in a really real way. It was well written with well developed and relatable characters and a very relatable and emotive storyline. I was engaged the whole way through and I couldnt put it down I loved it.

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“At that time, queer was a slur, not a proud identity.”

This is not an easy read or a lighthearted read, but it is such an important one. I couldn’t stop feeling the anxiety, pain, sadness, and joy that Tracy was feeling. It hit right into the gut and made me truly appreciate the queer people who came before us, how they have changed history, how they have sacrificed more than we’ll ever know, and how they have fought and survived. At times, a heart-breaking story of a girl who just wanted to feel comfortable in her own skin, be herself, and love who she loved, that really sucks you in and reminds you how much has changed in the past several decades, and how the bravery never ends.

Written in the context of 2020 and the turmoil the world is in, this is a look back at a couple years of Tracy’s life, and how those defining moments made her the woman she is now, and where she is in life. We are taken through Tracy’s junior year of high school, from when she first meets another girl who is interested. They connect on all levels, and the girl’s dad starts getting suspicious, after seeing a kiss between them. Her brother, Spencer, also struggles with his sexual identity. After the rumors of Tracy and this girl start spreading, Tracy devises a plan to date her brother’s love interest while he dates hers, allto switch dates and find time alone. After longing for a “normal” dating experience with a girl, Tracy decides to dress like a boy, and she feels so much more comfortable in herself while doing so. Both siblings experience their first loves together, only to see how it doesn’t last due to the world at play. We get to see two different sides - the one who won’t back down, and the one who wants to try to be normal. And they both want to escape, but how will they?

This book was hard to get through. There is a lot of homophobia and even some internalized homophobia. It’s a tough read. It took me a while to get into it, it is a slow-starter, in my opinion, but it is also so deep and heavy that it is probably best to take in small doses. It is just one story about a gay girl and her life in turmoil, when I know there are hundreds of real stories from queer people in this time period. While some parts didn’t read as authentic as others, it was a deep-dive into Tracy’s story, how queerness is not wrong, but instead, beautiful, and Tracy is ready to prove that to the world.

This is such an empowering read. The times have changed, but some people have not, and to see the strength of these characters through the hard times is mind-blowing. To see the support and love they received is so nice and warm to feel, but the hatred and fear is so real. It’s a great way to look back in time and see how much things have changed, but also see how little things have changed in other ways. A true story of hope and love, I would definitely recommend it.

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