Sarah Addison Allen. The Girl Who Chased the Moon. New York: Bantam Books, 2010.

Coming home can be a difficult process if the reasons you left in the first place were painful. Coming home to a small town like Mullaby, North Carolina where everyone seems to know all about you can be very awkward. Coming home to a place where there is a gentle giant, men who glow in the moonlight, and people can see and follow the smell of cake, can be wonderful.

For Emily Benedict, coming to Mullaby after the death of her mother is a homecoming of sorts. Although this is her first time in the town and the first time she meets her grandfather, Emily feels a strange connection to the people as well as the place. As she learns about why her mother lost touch with her grandfather, a giant, she discovers a town full of animosity towards her mother, animosity which extends to her too. Only when she befriends a strange boy, Win Coffey, whose signature outfit is a white summer linen suit and who glows in the moonlight, does she understand the truth of why her mother left. The history shared by Emily and Win’s families could complicate their budding relationship, but they are determined to write a new story for themselves.

Julia Winterson has returned to Mullaby after the death of her father. She planned to stay in Mullaby for two years to claim her father’s estate and to expand his barbecue restaurant so that when she sells it she will make a profit. Julia wants to move back to Baltimore to open a bakery, leaving the painful memories of Mullaby behind. However, people who hurt her in the past – mean girls, an impossible stepmother, and a boy, Sawyer, who claimed to love her but wanted her to get an abortion when she became pregnant at sixteen – once again become important figures in her life. When Sawyer expresses his true feelings for her, Julia admits to giving birth to their daughter and putting her up for adoption. Julia realizes that she cannot leave Mullaby because it is and always was her home. Although she and Sawyer have no way of finding their daughter, Julia bakes cakes as a way to try to call her home – a method Sawyer’s mother used to reach him.

Maddie Davis had never been to Mullaby when she traveled there to find her birth mother. For her entire life, she has been able to see the ingredients in cake – flour, sugar, vanilla – in the air, and this sixth sense draws her to the dessert and to the baker. Maddie has finally found the source of that scent that has been reaching out to her for her entire life. And in traveling to Mullaby to meet her birth parents, Maddie comes home.

While each homecoming is not without unpleasant moments, the results are comforting – and magical.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Allen, Sarah Addison, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship, Science Fiction/Fantasy

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