Siobhan Curham, Tell it to the Moon, Walker Books Australia, 1 August 2017, 336pp., $16.99 (pbk), ISBN: 9781406366150
This is the second in a series, with the first book, The Moonlight Dreamers, being the story of how these girls became fast friends and formed their club. There are some elements here that might make more sense if young readers tackle that book first, but overall I don’t think they are missing much if they dive right into Tell it to the Moon.
At its heart, this is a simple story about the power of friendship. Amber, Maali, Sky and Rose have formed a strong friendship and it’s clear how much they rely on each other. There’s a palpable sense of excitement and relief when they are all back in London after their separate holidays, and able to talk to one another again.
When they return, each girl is experiencing different setbacks in her life: Amber is trying to figure out who she is as she searches for her surrogate mother; Maali is a devout Hindu, and when her father falls ill she turns to her faith and her beliefs; Sky is attending a school for the first time at 16 and experiencing the trials and tribulations of that after the simplicity of home-schooling; and lastly Rose, who is finally open about her sexuality, wants to pursue her dream of become a patissier and her dream romance with her very beautiful French boss.
Tell it to the Moon explores how the girls deal with these issues within their families, and how they turn to each other when things prove tough, emphasising the importance of their friendship. Maali’s story about her faith and her father resonated the most with me, as Curham deftly explores faith, fear and grief in this storyline.
There is much to love here – Curham has a diverse set of friends who draw strength from their similarities and their differences. She writes about Maali’s Hindu faith and belief sensitively, and the other girls simply accept that is who Maali is, like they accept Rose’s revelation about her sexuality.
But, and there’s always a but, until the ages of the girls were mentioned (16) I thought this was a book about much younger characters and aimed at a much younger audience. The tone is juvenile and the story far too simplistic when you consider the wealth of nuanced, complicated YA stories out in the market, stories which deal with the situations these girls find themselves in. It almost seems it might have been better for the book to focus on one or two of their stories, with the other two girls providing support. This could have given this book and the characters more depth.
If young adult readers are looking for an uncomplicated, simple story that will make them feel good, and appreciate the friendships in their lives, then this is the book for them. This is a heartwarming tale and it absolutely brought a smile to my face.
Reviewed by Verushka Byrow