Girls In the Moon

girls in the moonGirls In the Moon by Janet McNally
Young Adult Contemporary
November 29, 2016 from Harper Teen

An exquisitely told, authentic YA debut about family secrets, the shadow of fame, and finding your own way.

Everyone in Phoebe Ferris’s life tells a different version of the truth. Her mother, Meg, ex–rock star and professional question evader, shares only the end of the story—the post-fame calm that Phoebe’s always known. Her sister, Luna, indie-rock darling of Brooklyn, preaches a stormy truth of her own making, selectively ignoring the facts she doesn’t like. And her father, Kieran, the cofounder of Meg’s beloved band, hasn’t said anything at all since he stopped calling three years ago.

But Phoebe, a budding poet in search of an identity to call her own, is tired of half-truths and vague explanations. When she visits Luna in New York, she’s determined to find out how she fits in to this family of storytellers, and to maybe even continue her own tale—the one with the musician boy she’s been secretly writing for months. Told in alternating chapters, Phoebe’s first adventure flows as the story of Meg and Kieran’s romance ebbs, leaving behind only a time-worn, precious pearl of truth about her family’s past—and leaving Phoebe to take a leap into her own unknown future.

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“So what’s up there?” Luna would ask, looking at the moon as intently as I was.
“Girls,” my mother said. “Girls just like you two.”
–Janet McNally, Girls In the Moon (ARC pg. 221)

Brooklyn, New York

“Summer in this city is like being in a terrarium built for creatures who don’t need to sleep.”
–Janet McNally, Girls In the Moon (ARC pg. 87)

  • Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn, NY
  • BookCourt, Brooklyn, NY
  • Borough Hall, Brooklyn, NY
  • Sara D. Roosevelt Park, Brooklyn, NY
girls-moon
(photos by me — click image to enlarge)

Girls In the Moon is musically-involved (having musicians for parents and big sister and all), and with that comes some music references and rocking out to, of course.

  • Cruel Summer // Bananarama
  • Heartbeat // Buddy Holly
  • Beast of Burden // The Rolling Stones
  • Strangers // The Kinks
  • Here Comes My Baby // Cat Stevens
  • Left and Leaving // The Weakerthans

“You can treat [secrets] carefully, like an eggshell or a tiny cocoon. But secrets aren’t hollow. They have heft and weight. They orbit around us like little moons, held close by our gravity, all the while pulling us with their own.” –Janet McNally, Girls In the Moon (ARC pg. 14)

“We try to figure out each other and make the pieces fit. But sometimes happy is an accident, and we forget not to give up on it.”
–Janet McNally, Girls In the Moon (ARC pg. 71)

He’s talking fast, and sounds nervous. “I’m sure your dad made actual cassette-tape mixes for your mom. I sort of wish I could do that. But I figured something out.” He hands me a white iPod shuffle. I take it and it feels so small, so light, that if my mom and dad time-traveled here from 1994, I’m sure they wouldn’t believe there are songs in there.
“Okay,” I say. He hands me a piece of paper then, lined and torn from a notebook. In blue ink and perfect, tiny printing, he’s written out all the songs and artists.
“I had to write everything down because it’s a shuffle, and um, things are going to come up in random order, so it’s not perfect.” He takes a breath. “It’s no cassette tape, that’s for sure. Sometimes I think we’re missing out on a lot.”
–Janet McNally, Girls In the Moon (ARC pg. 336-337)

**Quotes were taken from an uncorrected review copy and are subject to change in the final copy**


“Just when you’ve lost yourself, wherever you’ve been,
You’ll reach the end and find yourself ready to begin again.”
–Janet McNally, Girls In the Moon (ARC pg. 339)

A little bit about me: I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was tiny, and I’ve always read everything in sight. I earned an MFA in fiction from the University of Notre Dame, where I never attended a football game (sorry) but had fantastic professors and classmates. I’ve twice been a fellow in fiction with the New York Foundation for the Arts (in 2008 and currently, in 2015), and my stories and poems have appeared in publications including Gettysburg Review, Boulevard, Mid-American Review, Ecotone, Crazyhorse and Best New Poets 2012 .

In 2014 my book of poems Some Girls was chosen by Ellen Bass as winner of the White Pine Press Poetry Prize, and the book was published in August 2015. My young adult novel Girls in the Moon is forthcoming from HarperTeen (HarperCollins) in the fall of 2016. (Yes, I seem to have a thing for using the word “girl” in titles. What can I say? Girls are great). Girls in the Moon will also be translated into German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.

I live in Buffalo, New York, with my husband and three little girls, and I teach creative writing at Canisius College.

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