The Moonlight Dreamers by Siobhan Curham
Published July 7, 2016 by Walker Books
Source: the publisher
Rating: 3 stars
The Moonlight Dreamers is set on and around Brick Lane, London. Amber, a writer and fan of Oscar Wilde, is having an awful time at school. It's never been a secret that she has two fathers, but lately she's been bullied about whether or not they've made her a lesbian. It doesn't help that she's also struggling to find anything in common with one of her fathers, an artist who always puts his career first. Maali lives with her family and together they run an Indian confectionery store. She's shy when it comes to boys and she's been praying to Lakshmi to help her find the courage she needs. Sky is a poet and hopes to one day read aloud to an audience. Her mother died five years ago, and since then she and her father have lived together. But now he's met a woman, and her daughter is Rose. Rose is the daughter of an internationally famous model. She doesn't want to follow in her mother's footsteps, she wants to be a patissier. Amber comes up with the idea of a club for girls who want to be different, and this changes life for all of them.
From the blurb: Amber, Maali, Sky and Rose may be very different, but they all have one thing in common: they're fed up with being told how to look, what to think and how to act.
They're not like everyone else and they don't want to be.
Becoming friends give them the courage to be themselves.
Sometimes it's hard to connect with multiple main characters in a story, but in this case each girl really stood out and I felt for all of them. Amber's really struggling with who she is and the bullying at school was horrible. Maali's positivity and naïvety was charming, and it was nice to see her speak about her beliefs with confidence. Sky just wants to know her dad still loves her, and Rose feels the same way about her mother. She's had to put up with mood swings, the media, and body shaming talk her entire life, she deserves to be happy and healthy.
It was wonderful to see so much diversity in a novel: sexuality, race, religion. The girls had to work at understanding each other which of course bonded them together even more. It was wonderful to see them tackle issues like bullying, peer pressure, and family.
There were a lot of stereotypes. Don't get me wrong, stereotypes exist because they are based in truth, but it's also nice to get a bit of variety when it comes to characters eg. not always having skinny, starved models or pretty girls with long hair be the bullies. I'm also all for girls sticking together and not conforming to societal pressures out of shame or guilt, but I'd rather the girls focused on their own qualities, without needing to shame others to build themselves up.
The Moonlight Dreamers is a cute story about four girls accepting each other's differences and supporting each other to achieve their dreams. In trying to be different, the girls found each other and in doing so, discovered they were not so different after all.
Ableist language: the words dumb and dumber were used frequently.
Thank you to Walker Books for my review copy.
Cover illustration: Kate Forrester
This is such a a fun cover and it suits the story perfectly.
I started with a base of Nail It! Cornflower and sponged on China Glaze First Mate.
I used acrylic paint and nail polish for the illustration.