Mom just walked away from her, walked away from her toddler daughter waiting on the beach, walked into the waves and never came back out.

When Dad’s job takes them back to the beachside town where her parents met and fell in love, Anna thinks that the years following her mother’s death might not keep unhappy secrets buried deep enough, so she keeps her distance from Dad, from people at her new high school, from the shore lifeguards.

Running helps Anna meditate away (well, ignore) her problems and worries, so she tries out for the cross-country team, cheered on by her new sorta-ditzy friend Ashley who truly does think that retail therapy and meditation can fix anything. Having to move in the middle of high school stinks… but being able to hear the waves every night, the same ocean that her mom listened to growing up, that counts as a small plus.

Dad has strictly warned Anna away from the beach lifeguards who work for him at the state park – after all, he was a lifeguard with quite a reputation here at this same park as a teen, where he met her mom, where they lived as newlyweds.

But Tyler isn’t the crazy lifeguard, like Dad was, and he helps Anna explore some of the old cottages left vacant when the seashore became a state park. Maybe some clues about Mom can be found in the neighbors’ left-behind bits and pieces…

Why won’t Dad tell her more about Mom and their past? Can Anna reconcile what she thought she knew about her mother with what people in her mom’s hometown are remembering? Why would Mom just walk away, under the moonlight, into the sea?

Recommended by: Katy Manck, Librarian-at-Large (retired academic/corporate/school librarian), Gilmer, Texas, USA – blogging young adult books beyond the bestsellers at


Poignant, touching, and fresh, Moonglass is a triumph of a first novel. Anna is only seven when her mother walks out into the surf and drowns. Now at age sixteen, her father is uprooting Anna to go live in the small beach town of Crystal Cove, California. Anna is not looking forward to the move -- she doesn't want to make new friends or live in a new place.

Things start to look up when she sees the beachfront cottage they get to live in. The next day she meets a motormouth girl named Ashley who assures her that they will be BFF's and she meets Tyler, a hot lifeguard. Maybe this won't be such a bad place after all.

Sadly, Anna keeps remembering the night her mother walked into the ocean -- maybe it's because they are now living in the little town where her parents met and fell in love. What was it that her mother was looking for in the surf? Why are some of the cottages abandoned? Who is the strange man who crawls the beach every day? Why is Joy so interested in telling Anna about her mother?

Part romance, part mystery, but all mesmerizing, Moonglass is a sure winner. Highly recommended ages 12-up. Some skinny-dipping but no graphic details, no sex.

Recommended by Pamela Thompson, MLIS, Library Media Specialist, Texas
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*now a featured blog on the Texas Library Association's homepage at

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