Cover Image: The Moonstone Girls

The Moonstone Girls

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Member Reviews

This was an amazing read. I got through it all in one day. I haven't been excited about a book in a very long time, but this story drew me in. The characters had such depth, and I fell in love with them and all of their complexity. The descriptions of gender and sexuality and family and love and acceptance and shame and bravery we're incredibly well done. I was able to anticipate some of the plot, but overall, I felt like things progressed very naturaly and I was still left to be able to process the character development over time. This was a refreshing and enjoyable read. Books about queer identify are often rife with trauma, but this story overwhelmingly leaves me with hope that things have gotten better.

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Amazing read. I loved this.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for the chance to read a digital arc in exchange for my feedback.

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*ARC from NetGalley and author was provided in exchange for an honest review.*

The Moonstone Girls follows Tracy, a queer teenager in the 1960s who decides to leave home and find independence and freedom through moving to Alaska. Along the way, readers watch as Tracy learns and grows as a person. We additionally get to explore the relationships built between her and the other characters, both before and after the big move, as she explores her identity.

What I liked:
The cover of this book is absolutely stunning. The voice this book offers is a unique one. It talks about many societal issues omnipresent in the 60’s and since. I really enjoyed how easy it was to understand the story’s atmosphere. I also enjoyed the sibling bond between Tracy and Spencer. Their pivotal relationship is what really encouraged me to finish reading this book, along with Tracy learning more about her identity, struggles with gender, and how she fits into the world.

What I didn’t like:
There were moments throughout the book were jokes were made that ultimately seemed insensitive/inappropriate, and the pacing of the book felt off in some sections. Additionally, despite being marketed as a Young Adult (YA) novel, there were numerous scenes that in my opinion were too mature for a book within this category. Although the topics of this book were important, the book just really fell flat for me.

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They say don't judge a book by its cover but this cover certainly caught my attention and followed through as a great representation of the story... of light sprouting from shadows. Brooke Skipstone takes the reader back to the 1960s where the LGBTQ community struggled alongside war, protest, and gender expectations. Being set in this past shows how far society has come in relatively few years, yet so many of the character's struggles are still representative of people's struggles today. Despite the attacks, rejection, and obstacles thrown in the main character's way, she presses forward, delivering an overall strong and powerful message to be who you are. She 'finds her tribe' and her passion through all the difficulty, taking the reader on an emotional and thoughtful adventure. I've read other Brooke Skipstone books and she always delivers deep, complex characters with honest and realistic emotions. She delivered it again with this book.

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Though I finished The Moonstone Girls, I can't stop thinking about the story. All the characters are unique and foster deep feelings. They linger in my mind, and I want to know more about each of them. And I am haunted by "what ifs." Like what if Tracy and Spencer's father had shown just a little tolerance and found something in his son to be proud of? Or what if Tracy never received the brochure for Camp Wonder with the photo of Jackie wearing overalls and carrying an axe? Or what if high schools in south Texas had allowed girls to wear pants? Something which sounds so ridiculous today but was just one of the rigid rules governing girls in the '60s.

Reading this book made me realize how seemingly small events can have so much impact on our lives. And how much love and acceptance beyond society's labels can lift us all up.

I can't shake the events of this story from my mind. I cried buckets of tears and laughed out loud. My heart was squeezed and shattered and enlivened.

And there's a playlist that you must listen to: The Beatles, Dylan, Aretha, Sam the Sham, even Chopin and Tchaikovsky. And beautiful lyrics written by the main character.

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My first thought after reading THE MOONSTONE GIRLS is that it must be somewhat autobiographical. Author Brooke Skipstone has written with such depth of emotion that it is difficult to believe the story is fictional.

Before I get too far into my review I wanted to be sure to mention just how gorgeous the cover of this book is. It is the perfect blend of colors to bring the 1960s to mind. And, the choice to just use silhouettes is 100% inspired.

I love that this #book is set in the late #1960s - an era much different than today’s world. So much was different at that time for anyone who was gay, and as hard as it is to fathom, being gay was considered to be against the laws of both God and men. This just highlights how far LBGTQ rights have come (even though society still has a ways to go.)

I cannot fathom the fear and pain experienced by LGBTQ youth at that time in history, especially for men whose arousal is much harder to hide. In the book, both Tracy and her brother Spencer are queer. The good thing is that they have each other to lean on and they have a mother who loves them just the way they are. This is much more than most #queer #youth had in their lives during that period in #history

This book delves into not just LGBTQ history, but also into the #draft and the #VietnamWar #WomensRights #RockAndRoll and the #SexualRevolution

There are some extremely #emotional scenes in The Moonstone Girls and at one point during reading I was literally in tears. It takes a truly talented #writer to be able to evoke so much #empathy and #emotion in their readers. Kudos to Brooke Skipstone for writing such an important and believable book.

Ultimately, this is a tale about hope and about having the courage to fight back in the best way you can against those who would try to stop you from living life on your own terms. It will encourage readers to never settle for second best and to keep trying until they find a place where they belong and where they can live a life of hope and honesty. It also reminds us that there is a person out there for everyone and that everyone has the right to live a happy life on their own terms.

Tracy is a fiery, take-no-prisoners type of young woman. This is the face she shows to the world, but inside, she is suffering and full of shame. This reminds readers that the persona people present to the world is not always accurate and that everyone has an inner world that is invisible. Never judge a book by its cover is a great lesson and one that we often forget.

Although not specifically stated, I get the feeling that the author also wants readers to think about mental health and to realize the depths of despair that people can feel when forced to live a lie just to be "normal."

All in all I have to say that this book should be on everyone's Must Read list for 2022 and although it is labeled as Young Adult fiction, this book will appeal to readers of all ages.

I am rating THE MOONSTONE GIRLS by Brooke Skipstone as 5 out of 5 Stars 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 and I highly recommend this book ... just make sure you have a box of tissues nearby when you read it.

*** Thank you to #NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***

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Good! I love the representation and definitely saw myself in some of the characters! This book was nicely written!

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

This book moved me more than any book has in a long time; it's a real emotional rollercoaster. It deals with the difficulties of growing up gay and non-gender conforming in 60's Texas. While this book briefly tackles many other issues such as racism and profiling by police, it never comes off as the author trying too hard, or being too preachy, which many books do. The sibling bond between Tracy and Spencer was possibly the best brother/sister relationship I've ever read. Despite all the drama, angst, tragedy and heartache, there's always an overarching sense of hopefulness throughout.

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Above all, The Moonstone GIrls, is a love story—actually three love stories. Both Tracy and her brother Spencer fall desperetly in love with fellow queers Ava and Pablo, respectively. Both must keep their liasons hidden, but inevitably they are discovered. Spencer has a chance to continue his relationship with Pablo but can't summon enough courage to break with his family and be with his fellow pianist. Tracy has the courage, but Ava doesn't. What follows for Tracy is several months of pursuing a girl in a photograph whom she hears in her mind—"Come to Alaska. We'd be great friends."

Set in the late '60s, this story is full of heartbreak and joy, anger and longing, and especially determination in the face of prejudice and sexist attitudes. Tracy will not be denied, and along the way she comes to a better understanding and acceptance of herself.

You will smile and laugh and cry. Read this book.

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This book is about a gay teenager named Tracy and her life in the 1960s. It focuses on two-ish years of her life during the time she is really coming to terms with her sexuality and gender identity. Her older brother Spencer is also gay and their sibling relationship, as well as both of their relationships with their parents, are key elements of the plot.

Other major themes include secret romances, disguising oneself as a different gender, travel and running away, music, and the influence of war on daily life.

This is definitely a character-driven book and it's not fully a happy story. There's discussion of heavy topics such as homophobia, suicide, family rejection, and bullying. However, there are also moments of joy and success. It's a very bittersweet story.

People looking for heavy, emotional queer historical fiction will love this one. I overall enjoyed it but had to take breaks. I believe this book is classified as young adult, but please note there is sexual content, more than I would typically expect from YA.

I will be recommending this book to people who are looking for this genre of story!

Thank you to NetGalley and the author for an ARC of this book; all opinions here are my honest thoughts.

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The Moonstone Girls captures the experience of queerness in a simultanously nuanced and expansive way. The story was both so specific and so universal. Moonstone Girls started off with tacking the challenge of being gay in a situation where that is scorned and taboo, which was relatable and important. But as the story went on, I went from just feeling my experiences as a queer young adult mirrored back at me to having my experiences interrogated and unpacked. By this I mean I could relate to the characters so deeply but the narrative also challenged some internalized stereotypes I hadn’t even realized I was carrying. The way Skipstone paints lesbian relationships is different than the way straight relationships are most often seen in literature. The closeness between the lesbian characters feels a lot like deep friendship, just with added physicality. This challenged me because I think that in order to make things seem equal, we often see queer relationships framed in the same stereotypes as straight ones. I was not used to seeing love like the love in this story, and I think it’s truly authentic to the wlw experience which is so unique and beautiful compared to they typical heterosexual love stories.

Without divulging spoilers, I can still say that in reading this book you will experience tragedy, heartbreak, joy, hope, and adventure, all of which are amazingly executed. You will cry and you will beam huge smiles. Regardless of if you are in the LGBTQ+ community or not, I believe you will find experiences you relate to AND things that will challenge you and enhance your understanding of what it means to be an authentic human being.

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The Moonstone Girls is a heartfelt and heartbreaking coming-of-age story set in the late '60s. Tracy aspires to write her own songs rather than play classical pieces on the piano, all written by dead white men. She feels trapped by the female stereotypes common at the time. When she wears her "manguise," she realizes she feels more confident, more in control, and more like she imagines herself to be. Dressed as a boy, she takes her girlfriend to a teen dance club, only to lose her to a furious father.

However, Tracy perseveres against all odds, fending off her father's homophobia while trying to convince her brother Spencer to leave home and be with his boyfriend. The growing relationship between Tracy and her mother is one of the most beautiful developments in the book, juxtaposed against the deteriorating relationship between Spencer and his father.

Many aspects of this story will leave scars, but many more will make you smile and fill your heart with hope.

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I received an ARC of this YA novel from NetGalley. It was an interesting read, and I think LGBTQI+ teens will thoroughly enjoy reading this one. I will recommend to students looking for this type of book!

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I absolutely loved The Moonstone Girls. The characters are well crafted and compelling, and even the minor characters are well developed. The story is by turns heartbreaking and joyful, and will keep you engaged all the way through. Skipstone does a great job crafting a realistic story without falling into the trap of making it a constant parade of tragedy.

I was a little surprised at the level of sexual content, for a YA book. This is not a book I could put on my classroom library shelves, unfortunately, because of that (just to be clear, the issue isn't the LGBTQ+ content, but some pretty detailed sexual content). Something to be aware of--I would recommend any teacher or librarian thinking about purchasing The Moonstone Girls read it first, to determine if it's appropriate for your readers.

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This is a story told in retrospect by Tracy who was seventeen in 1968. Now she is a grandmother whose grandchildren are suffering through some of the same issues that complicated her life over fifty years ago. After the summer of '68, she never wanted to look back at her life, but now she feels compelled to share her story "as a gift of love and often brutal honesty to myself and to others."

Her story is heartbreaking, wonderous, full of tragedy and hope, and sometimes sheer joy. Tracy and her brother Spencer were queers at a time when the word was a slur, when it was common for fathers to be ashamed of their effeminate sons and demand a change. Tracy battles through stereotypes, disguising herself as a boy to get what she wants and needs. She beats boys at their own game and then discovers she can define her own world in her own terms.

This book is amazingly readable and relatable whether you are a member of the LGTBQ+ community or not.

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Thank you netgalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

At first, this book was hard to get into and it was hard to love. I wasn't the biggest fan of the narration and the style. By the end though, I was enthralled and I was crying. I'll say that the writing style doesn't match the reading level of the audience. But, once you overlook that, it's a great book. One of the things I appreciate most about it is how it made me reevaluate my perception of the queer experience. Nearly every story told about queer characters that takes place in the twentieth century is rife with tragedy, and it's not that this book doesn't have tragedy. It does, but it also provides a different spotlight on living as a queer person in the late sixties. It wasn't all hiding behind closed doors and stolen kisses and dying, as it is often portrayed and while reading this book, it was hard for me to forget that sad portrayal.
This book is important and honestly everyone should probably read it.

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Brooke Skipstone has crafted a stirring work of fiction with plenty of realistic highs and lows to offer readers. The setting lends itself beautifully to this novel, where conflicts over peace and love start within the home and extend to the shores of war overseas. I felt for both Tracy and Spencer deeply, and I found the struggles that Skipstone writes about to be well-researched and highly empathetic. Tracy’s dialogue and articulation about gender struggles and conflicting identities were never preachy or stereotypical, and though it was a major element in the novel’s success, there are also plenty of other wonderful characters to discover and more surprises in store that really make this feel like a fully rounded coming of age story. Overall, I would highly recommend The MoonStone Girls to fans of queer historical fiction and highly emotive mature teen novels.

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This book is making the perfect appearance at the right time in history. As more members of the LGBTQ+ community come out of their shell, it is good to remember how much acceptance has grown. While the fight still continues today, The Moonstone Girls puts into perspective how much we have already evolved on the issue since the 60s. This shows that things can, and will, continue to change. The book reveals how difficult it was to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community in the past when the community did not yet even have a name. Back then, you were simply a good for nothing queer, and that was that. This story is beautiful because it is educational, and also teaches that no matter what part of the cloth you come from, the power of acceptance is within you. But it is up to you to let it into you heart. I highly suggest this book to everyone, even those outside of the LGBTQ+ community.

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A delightful debut that will tug on your heartstrings and live in your head (and heart) for a long time! With a cast of characters who feel painfully human, Skipstone paints an vivid and engaging portrait of history, culture, exploration of sexuality and identity. This book is filled with so much heart - for each character, for our dreams, and for us readers.

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This was a truly enjoyable read for me. The mix of 60s culture, music and the exploration of sexuality during a difficult time for the characters just makes for a wonderful mix. It's one of those books that has stayed with me and I still find myself thinking about it even after reading it, perhaps due to how real the characters seem - even minor characters seem overwhelmingly human and individual, and following their stories to the end made this an excellent and almost addictive book to read.

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