Firstly, it came to my attention slightly belatedly over the weekend, that Anita Shreve has died. Her last book The Stars are Fire was a BotW back in May last year – it’s out in paperback in 10 days time and is well worth a read. She’s definitely on the list of authors I need to read more of – just as soon as I get the TBR pile down… Anyway, this week’s BotW is not out for a few weeks yet (sorry, but it had to be done), but I enjoyed it so much and have things to say, so I picked it anyway. The Moon is Up is second Lumberjanes novel and it’s been a while since I wrote about the series (nearly a year in fact ) so I thought it was ok to mix it up a little bit and go back for some more middle grade action.
If you haven’t come across the Lumberjanes before, you can read my previous posts about here and here, but I’ll give you the quick rundown now too: the series follows a group of campers at Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types. Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are te girls of Roanoke cabin. They all have different backgrounds and different strengthgs but they’re also feisty, fun and best friends who look out for each other whatever the circumstances. The graphic novel series runs to 9 volumes now, and this is the second spin off novel.
In The Moon is Up, the girls of Roanoke are taking part in the Galaxy Wars contest, which sees them up against their fellow campers in a series of space-related challenges and competitions. There is the usual weird creature of the week type plot – this time a Moon Pirate – that we get in the graphic novels, but the novel format gives us a chance to see a bit more inside one of the characters – in this case Jo, who is trying to make a decision about whether she should take up the offer of a place at a prestigious science camp, and who also happens to be trans.
Apart from the excellent storytelling and fun adventures, one of my favourite things about the Lumberjanes graphic novels has always been the fact that it has a really diverse cast of strong female characters, who have a range of interests and strengths and support each other and know that when they work together they’re better. And this novel is absolutely doing the same thing. Jo is the analytical one in the gang and it’s fun to see inside her head as she tries to work out what the right thing to do is and to see the other girls giving her space to work out whatever is bothering her. It’s a great example of how female friendships should be – and how people with different interests can be the best of friends.
All this makes it sound like the book might be a bit preachy and boring, but it’s the total opposite of that. It’s a fun adventure romp that absolutely fits in with some of my favourite camp stories from when I was younger. My copy was an advance e-copy from NetGalley and didn’t have the final artwork, so I know I’m going to be trotting out to the shops to have a look at the finished article as well as looking for the first book in the series too. The novels are a great addition to the Lumberjanes universe, and I can’t wait to read more of them.
Lumberjanes: The Moon is Up is out on May 8, and is available to preorder now in Kindle and Kobo and hardcover from Amazon, Book Depository and Foyles. The first in the series, Unicorn Power is available now from all the same places.