Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate
Author: Melanie Crowder
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Perdita and Pelagia are sister water sprites thriving along the jungle riverbanks. When the sprite community temporarily open a portal into another world, Perdita is left behind and she loses a locket that could transport her back to Pelagia’s side. Perdita’s loss and loneliness overwhelm her, causing her to curse the tributaries into a sludge-filled swamp. Several decades later, Luna and her little sister, Willow, are boating near Perdita’s lair when Willow swallows the cursed water. Consuming this water will kill anyone within three weeks. Not wanting to watch Willow die, Luna searches for a cure. Unfortunately, many have failed to find an antidote. But Luna’s persistence leads her to Perdita’s lair, where she offers herself in exchange for Willow’s life. But Perdita notices her locket tacked onto Luna’s boat. Perdita opens the locket and is returned to her sister. Perdita’s departure lifts the curse, healing both Willow and the jungle waterways.
Crowder’s book is an original piece of fantasy fiction showcasing the bond between sisters. Though they may be magical beings, Perdita and Pelagia have the same close-knit relationship as Luna and Willow. Unfortunately for Luna and Willow, their loving connection causes an embittered Perdita to curse Willow. But when Luna is the means of retuning Perdita back to Pelagia, that sisterly link heals Willow, Luna, Perdita, and the swamp. As many know, readers judge a book by it’s cover. In the case of A Nearer Moon, the book jacket is a poor reflection of Crowder’s story. The scene never occurs in the book and the individuals depicted are in opposition to Crowder’s character descriptions. This and other plot inconsistences make Crowder’s story not quite as powerful or defining as it could be. Otherwise, it is a dependable read for ages ten and up.