Gentle Reader- this book is divine. It is sweet and light and silly. It had me making little cooing noises on the couch (which my roommate, who is fab, put up with with quite good nature). I read it in a single evening of happy book bliss.
Sarah Addison Allen's The Girl Who Chased the Moon is about a northern girl Emily who moves to tiny, magical Mullaby, North Carolina, after her mother's death. Mysteries about love and forgiveness delightfully intersect in Mullaby. She lives next door to Julia who has a pink streak in her hair and can bake feelings into cakes; befriends the once-cad (perhaps reformed?) and handsome Sawyer who pronounces things like 'very' as 'vera' (SWOON); meets a boy who enjoys a good linen suit/bow-tie combo and has a big secret; and lives with her Grandpa Vance, who is literally a giant, in an old home where special signs appear via the washing machine and the wallpaper in certain rooms shifts to match your mood. And of course, there are the Mullaby lights, moving ghost-like through the woods at night. But there are mysteries to unravel about why Emily's mother never mentioned Mullaby or her family there, and why Emily has received such a cold reception in her new home.
NOW I know this might sound like smarmy Oprah book club book, but it is cute without being overly precious-- think Big Fish more than a girly-lady-who-loves-cats-the-color-pink-and-scrap-booking syndrome. I want Sweet Tea to read this so much (being a cute southern lady herself) that I seriously contemplated sending her a copy in the mail. But I am a poor grad student. So I just thought about it. That counts halfway, I think, as giving a present.
Originality: HELLO its at least a 6. See above.
Absurdity: 2. This exists in a lovely plain of magical-southern charm-ness, and coincidences feel happy and meant-to-be, not forced.
Level of Paranormal Romance: 6. there are multiple stories about love flowing through this, and since this is not just for YA ( think insta-love and serious eye contact/feather petting) there is some well-deserved action. WOOT WOOT.
Level of Harry Potter-ness: 6. The magic is there and oh-so-charming, but it feels comfortable and worn in and a bit sleepy, like this little southern town.