Book Review: The Next Full Moon By Carolyn Turgeon

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Ava is about to have the most eventful summer of her young life. Her plans to work on her tan by the lake with her best friend Morgan and get noticed by her crush, Jeff Jackson are about to be unexpectedly interrupted. Her upcoming 14th birthday will unlock a strange family secret more bewitching than she could have ever could have imagined.

The Next Full Moon is as magical as a moonbeam on a midsummer’s eve. When you’ve finished this enchanting story, you’ll close your eyes and fly.”

This review from Kathi Appelt, author of The Underneath is absolutely correct. Normally I don’t invest much stock in reviews printed on the back of novels but, after finishing this charming fairy tale I must agree with Kathi. After reading a series of excellent, but very dark books (Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, Still Missing by Chevy Stevens, and He’s Gone by Deb Caletti just to name a few) discussing this fluffy, feel good fairy tale is a welcome change.

This book is delightful. It reminds me of all of those endless summers of my youth long before errands, bill paying, and a 9-5 office job. Mornings that you wake up in a sun drenched bedroom and the day is full of possibilities. When your biggest decisions are where should I ride my bike today and what flavor of ice cream / popcicle do I want? I also loved living vicariously through Ava the excitement that comes from having a crush and trying to impress your peers. Author Carolyn Turgeon perfectly captures the essence of awkward youth and the struggles each of us have to find our true self as we grow up.

The Next Full Moon has a unique plot which kept me interested. Usually books like this focus on some petty rivalry with an arrogant bully or the main character must help a friend with a troubled home life which can get a bit predictable. I love that this young adult novel chose to be more whimsical. I don’t often say this, but even the cover art won me over. The image is not only fitting to the story, but is beautiful as well. I’m convinced being a book cover designer would be an amazing job, but I digress.

All in all I rate The Next Full Moon a 4:True Love’s Kiss while it was entertaining and fully encompassed the glory and wonder of summer break, I would have liked to see a villain. Ava’s family secret and transformation makes for a great story but, come on, all truly great fairy tales have an evil villain.

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Show Stealing Sidekicks

ImageThe sidekick is a very important element to any fairy tale. They add humor, fun, and help the main characters out of sticky situations. In fact, it recently dawned on me that one of the main reasons I dislike some fairy tale movies is because the sidekicks were weakly developed or non existent.  A well written sidekick inspires the main character to be a better person, beast, ogre, etc. and sticks with the hero through good times and bad. Here is a list of my personal favorites:

Donkey from Shrek

Donkey is everything a fairy tale sidekick should be. He is upbeat, hilarious, and loyal to a fault. Not only does he help save Princess Fiona from the dragon guarded tower, he also teaches Shrek the value of friendship and letting down your walls (I mean layers…Ogres have layers). He isn’t afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve. He will let you know exactly how he feels and will share his plate of waffles if you ask him (and you know how much he loves waffles). I wish i had a friend like Donkey.

Lumiere and Cogsworth from Beauty and the BeastImage

I love each of these enchanted objects equally, but for different reasons. Lumiere is smooth talking and charismatic, which contrasts with Cogsworth’s uptight demeanor and obsessive need to follow the rules (glass of water crust of bread). Both characters, when they aren’t squabbling with each other over who is in charge, help the Beast learn to curb his rage and show Belle his softer side. Speaking of their constant fighting…who do you think was in charge of the palace? It seems to me that Cogsworth was tasked with keeping the other magical household items in line, but the objects seem to respect Lumiere more. Probably because he is more fun.

Abu and Genie from AladdinImage

Where would Aladdin be without Abu? Do you know how rough it would have been alone on the streets of Agrabah without a sidekick? Abu helps steal food, allude the police, and provides companionship for the orphaned Aladdin. Do they ever explain how Aladdin and Abu meet? I know there are two Aladdin sequels after this film, but the only thing I remember is that they were terrible.

ImageAnd who can forget Genie? He is unpredictable, entertaining, and genuinely cares about Aladdin’s well being. He could have just rushed Aladdin through some wishes and been on his merry way or let Aladdin drown when Jafar tied him up. But Genie has a good heart. He helps Aladdin find confidence in himself and teaches him the importance of honesty in relationships. On a related note, Genie has the best lines in this movie. One of my favorites being “Tonight the part of Al will be played by a tall, dark, sinister, ugly man.”

Who are your favorite sidekicks? Let me know in the comments below.