cover image A Nearer Moon

A Nearer Moon

Melanie Crowder. S&S/Atheneum, $16.99 (160p) ISBN 978-1-4814-4148-3

Crowder (Audacity) blends gorgeously poetic language with precisely observed detail in this delicate fantasy of sisterly love tested by separation and illness. Luna and her younger sister, Willow, live in a swamp caused by the mysterious damming, nearly a generation ago, of the river that used to flow through their village. The swamp water is supposedly cursed, and even one sip causes a wasting sick- ness that inevitably kills in three weeks. After Willow becomes ill, Luna’s desperation causes her to seek high and low for a solution. Meanwhile, the water sprite sisters Perdita and Pelagia prepare to leave the entire world they live in, because sprites can no longer share a world with humans. The fates of the two sets of sisters are more closely entwined than any of them would expect. Crowder’s vividly observed setting, centered on a rooted and loving village community and that community’s interdependence with the land and water, helps this simple-seeming story gain remarkable complexity and emotional resonance. Ages 8–12. Agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Sept.)