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A Cool Moonlight

Review

A Cool Moonlight

Because of a rare condition called xeroderma pigmentosum, sunshine and some artificial light have always been eight-year-old Lila's enemy. Sunlight burns her skin and can even cause her to go blind, so Lila lives in darkened rooms and is involved in many nighttime adventures. She sleeps during the day and attends school in her own dim kitchen. She waits each evening for sunset and darkness, when she can go outside to play and explore her neighborhood. Even at night, she must slather herself with sunscreen, wear sunglasses and cover up.

Lila doesn't lack for companions. Monk, Lila's older sister, calls the family "shadow people and proud of it." Monk is Lila's co-adventurer, bundling her sister up at night to take her to coffee houses and on rides. After dark, Lila's dad accompanies her to the grocery store where they race shopping carts in the parking lot. David, a neighbor boy, brings Lila comic books and comradeship. Reading the comic books makes her want to be a super hero called the sun goddess/moon girl.

Lila's friends, Elizabeth and Alyssa, visit her only at night; somehow no one else has met them or even seen them. Her mysterious nocturnal visitors secretly plot with Lila to find a way for her to enjoy sunlight. In fact, they promise to help fill her sun bag. When it's filled, Lila will no longer have to live only in darkness. She can't wait until she's able to go outside during the day and dance in sunshine as a true sun goddess/moon girl.

As time goes by and her ninth birthday approaches, Lila begins to wonder why no one has seen Alyssa and Elizabeth --- even when she points them out. She also puzzles over the sun bag --- how can filling it with sun pieces "fix" her?

This is an intriguing, unusual story told in a graceful, childlike voice. Although I was too aware of the lack of capitals for the first few pages, I soon realized it contributed to the smooth stream-of-consciousness narrative flow. I highly recommend A COOL MOONLIGHT for its gorgeous writing, complex mysteries and triumphant conclusion.

Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on September 29, 2003

A Cool Moonlight
by Angela Johnson

  • Publication Date: September 29, 2003
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Dial
  • ISBN-10: 0803728468
  • ISBN-13: 9780803728462