Once, In a Town Called Moth by Trilby Kent Book Review

‘A gun in a lake. A Missing mother. Ana is on the run. But from who?’

✩ ✩ ✩ / ✩ ✩ ✩ ✩ ✩  3 out of 5 stars.

Ana is not your typical teenager, as the summary of this young adult novel reads, and that’s because she has just been pulled out of a home and community she has known since birth to start a life afresh in Toronto in search of her missing mother.

You would expect this story to be a typical ‘fish out of water’ type but in fact the main character gets on surprisingly well in the situation she is placed in by her father who is searching desperately for her mother who went missing several years ago. What caused Ana’s father to suddenly pull the both of them from a comfortable society in Bolivia based on so few leads of a missing person is a mystery, but Ana is determined to find her mother on her own regardless.

On reflection of this book my experience of it seems to have gone in the blink of an eye. I read a few reviews whilst I was reading it of people who had really taken to Ana’s perception of a new place, a new set of rules and etiquettes that can be incredibly hard to grasp as a stranger in a modern community such as Toronto – but I found that it didn’t really speak to me in just the same way.

My main criticism of this book is that I feel that Ana is not only extremely comfortable in her new home from the off but how self-assured she is. I’m not sure if this is meant to be a reflection of the upbringing she has experienced but she is quite an independent young woman blending into the social circles of the high school she attends very well from the first few chapters to still conforming to the social role of caring daughter to her father.

From the beginning she fits to the role of a dutiful daughter providing and cooking food for her father as well accepting and embracing the respect for his authority as her role model – yet when out on the streets of Toronto with her new friend Suvi she sometimes expresses moments of being a fiercely self-confident young woman who isn’t phased when she makes a social faux pas. At one point Ana even goes to a teacher’s home to spend time with him and not only is she hardly bothered by what is wrong with her actions when pointed out by her peers but there is hardly any time within the story to develop an idea of Ana’s innocence over the matter because everyone seems to just brush it under the carpet.

This is a young adult novel due to be published in September and even though I didn’t feel that it had enough of the depth I was expecting I still understood Ana’s determination to find her mother and did enjoy the story as it moved on – in actual fact in the end I came to like Ana and thought that her decisions and actions towards the end of the book were rather mature. It’s not often I come to the end of a short read like this one and feel everything was nicely tied up and the characters had a happy ending but I did in this one.

A smart read for a younger audience of twelve and up, I give a ‘middle of the road’ rating of 3 out of 5 stars because even though there were some negatives I did enjoy the plot.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts are my own.