I read once that water is a symbol for emotions. And for a while now, I've thought maybe my mother drowned in both.I must admit, I was rather underwhelmed with Moonglass. When I turned the final page, I felt as though I was little changed from how I’d been at the start. And, unfortunately, I felt the main character, Anna, was similarly unaffected.
Anna's life is upended when her father accepts a job transfer the summer before her junior year. It's bad enough that she has to leave her friends and her life behind, but her dad is moving them to the beach where her parents first met and fell in love - a place awash in memories that Anna would just as soon leave under the surface.
While life on the beach is pretty great, with ocean views and one adorable lifeguard in particular, there are also family secrets that were buried along the shore years ago. And the ebb and flow of the ocean's tide means that nothing- not the sea glass that she collects on the sand and not the truths behind Anna's mother's death- stays buried forever.
Promising a slew of family secrets crawling out of the woodwork – or in this case the waves – I was surprised to find only a few “secrets” revealed over the course of the novel, only one of which was genuinely unknown by the main character. In fact, the great, dramatic moment proved to be rather anticlimactic, as did the final revelation about her mother: she committed suicide, it was no accident. Not a big surprise, considering that Anna had told herself that a thousand times. If anything, it was a reaffirmation, not a revelation. And, as with everything else, Anna just took it in stride and accepted it.
Though I didn’t particularly dislike the main character, I found her to be much too trusting and accepting for someone who supposedly was dealing with the betrayal of her mother’s suicide. When she meets Ashley, a pushy, somewhat pretentious girl, on the beach, Anna is steamrolled right over and agrees to meet this random girl at the school she has never been to join the cross country team, something she has no experience with. And then, after one practice,she joins the team, becoming one of two star runners, with seemingly little thought. In fact, this is how she handles almost all issues that arise – whether it’s about her new home or the hot lifeguard. She adapts quickly with little to no questioning. With a personality like that, I found it hard to believe that she, after nearly ten years, still harbored such volatile emotions about her mother’s death. It just didn’t compute.
This was one of her qualities that really irked me. Anna would blow up at the smallest mention of her mother or father, only to wholly accept it a few pages later. Much of what she said and did seemed to be stemming from the suddenness of her mother’s death. I had assumed, initially, that the death had been recent. However, I later discovered that it had occurred nearly ten years ago. Though it is undeniable that there would still be residual grief and issues to be worked out, I found a lot of Anna’s behavior to be somewhat hard to believe after all that time, especially when she’s so laidback about everything else in her life.
All in all, Moonglass failed to capture my interest. Though I was never bored, per say, the linear, often transparent, storyline left much to be desired. As a result, it left little to no impression on me.