Reviews

for Moon River

“The kind of book that makes you think about the past, present, and future. Author takes you on a journey of growth, gain, and loss. Wonderfully well-written in a way that makes you identify with Abigail year by year, examining both the joys and tribulations in such way that will make you look back on the trials and tribulations of your own childhood and coming of age.”

– Corey Hunt, Amazon Review

“This is the kind of book that was really hard to put down. I went to bed thinking about the book and I couldn’t wait to pick it up the next day! It made me think back on my past and how hard it was to fit in. When you are a kid you want to be liked and you want to have friends. Abigail was no exception. This book brought back a lot of memories of life in a small town, heartache, loss and growing up too fast. It will make you laugh, cry and every emotion in between.”

Anonymous, Amazon Review

“You will not put this emotionally, gripping book down! From the first word to the last, it will leave a lump in your throat and an overflowing amount of love for the characters involved. This author brings you an up close enlightenment on how to be accepted amongst peers, falling in love, and coping with an unfathomable loss at such a critical age. You will smile, laugh, and cry! I can’t wait to read more from this author.”

Monica Morris, Amazon Review

Moon River is a coming-of-age story written in a distinctive first person narrative memoir style, making the characters and events feel real and immediate. The story spans four years in an Appalachian teen girl’s life from 1999 through 2004, followed by an epilogue. The writing style is personal and nostalgic, reminding of sights, smells, trends, and music of yesteryear. Coming from an Appalachian family myself, this tale brought back childhood memories for me that will always give this book a special place in my heart.

Abigail, the narrator, experiences many of the same situations and emotions we’ve had as teens. These years are a “fire walk”, a struggle to figure out where we stand, who we are, how we relate to those around us, and develop lasting, meaningful relationships with others. Adults often roll our eyes as our children overreact to the stressors in their lives, forgetting we were in their shoes once and it wasn’t easy. Amber D. Tran takes us back to a time when the mean girl forced us to commit some humiliating act for group approval, when we knew who our best friend was because she proudly took the punishment alongside us, when we sneaked into the creepy house at the foot of the hill, when music sang the lyrics of our souls, and when we just knew in our heart of hearts that we were destined to be with that cute boy on the bus forever. These are days of birthday pool parties and summer four-wheeler rides, of picking blackberries, illegally downloading music from Napster, late nights on MSN Messenger, and Final Fantasy VII.

Adolescence isn’t all parties and fun. There are darker moments as well. Teens deal either directly with or try to help a friend who is dealing with heavy issues such as abusive parents, drug addiction, feelings of betrayal, isolation, guilt, and depression. American children, who lack the wisdom of experience, are thrust into dealing with mature situations and emotions whether they are ready or not. This coming-of-age story draws forth a chaotic cascade of emotions as we join Abigail in her journey from innocence to maturity.

Moon River was an enjoyable read from start to finish. Powerful, emotionally evocative, and wistful, this story felt as though it poured forth from the author onto the page and into me; it needed to be, and it needed me to not read, but to listen. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys reminiscent coming-of-age stories.

– Leigh Holland, Amazon Review

“This book will awake repressed memories of growing up in a small blue collar town. It is a first novel and wonderful. I could not put it down. Writing style that of John Green. I put it up there with the powerful Fault in Our Stars or Paper Towns.”

Melisha Culver, Goodreads Review

“Amber Tran’s debut novel paints a rich tapestry of details that easily transports readers into the West Virginia world of her characters. Scenes like the one when Abigail drops the ice cream or the visit to the haunted house are suspenseful, coming-of-age moments with stark imagery that linger long after the book closes. Abigail’s multi-year crush on Ryan is heartfelt, and her many friendships are complex—as girlfriends often are during those years. I read the book over a weekend and thoroughly loved it!”

Khristina Chess, Goodreads Review

Abigail Kavanagh meets Ryan Mills during the summer of 1999 when she is nine years old. Ryan is shy, awkward and slightly mysterious, and Abigail is determined to find out all there is to know about him. The result is a friendship that grows deeper over the next couple of years. But as they get older and secrets threaten to shatter what is growing between them, Abigail has to make some tough decisions.

Amber Tran’s debut “Moon River” is a heart-breaking story of growing up too fast, of loving too soon and too much, of losing everything, of starting over, of finding oneself. It’s a story just about anyone can relate to. Abigail is an interesting character – at first, she seems like a typical girl next door, but she has a lot of depth and personality that make her stand out. Set in a small town, this book has the typical small town vibe. The characters change and grow up a lot throughout the book, like typical teenagers, and with the typical small town setting with typical teenage characters, anyone can relate to the story. “Moon River” is a beautifully told coming-of-age story; the kind that puts a lump in one’s throat, and evokes feelings of melancholia and reminiscence, thinking about those childhood days of the past.

Majanka Verstraete at InD’tale Magazine

… The lack of overused tropes in Moon River was refreshing. There were one or two, as expected from every novel. What sets Abigail’s story apart is the approach. The story unfolds in a way that doesn’t feel cliché. It also had a rather unpredictable ending. It helped serve as the final note in Abigail’s character development. The moment where the readers realize that she’s no longer a child. The moment Abigail realizes that she’s no longer a child. As the reader, the level of empathy felt along the journey will be strong. Once you get to the end, you’re left with a strong, proud feeling. Determined, even, if there are challenges in your life that need dealing with.

Moon River took me back. The story itself mimicked things that I’ve experienced. That many people have experienced. Definitely worth the read.

– Book Reviews Anonymous