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Under the Light of a Full Moon by Donna McGrath

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When the bad dreams and the whispers at night first start, Clara has no idea what's going on. All she knows is that the lack of sleep is making her feel ill. But a visit from her Great Aunt Selina supplies some answers. Clara's family has a gift. One member of each generation has the ability to shape-shift into the form of any species of animal. But the gift comes with an ancient curse - bearers of it can only transform during the three days of the full moon each month.

Under The Light of a Full Moon by Donna McGrath

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Enjoyable story about a young girl discovering that she comes from a family of shape-shifters. Ancient curses, full moons and hard-to-keep secrets all make for an intriguing story and, maybe, the groundwork for a series?
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 173 Date: June 2013
Publisher: D A McGrath
External links: Author's website

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As you can imagine, Clara has difficulty believing this. After all, she hasn't shape-shifted yet. She's just had some bad dreams. But somewhere deep down inside, an insistent and unavoidable sense tells her it's true. Even so, it is a long road to acceptance and, despite a closer and closer relationship with Aunt Selina, who tries to mentor her, Clara struggles to come to terms with her new reality.

Of course, such a gift is not something you want everyone to know about. And it's hard to master, especially while keeping it secret. Clara has a lot on her plate...

The best part of Under the Light of a Full Moon just has to be McGrath's wonderful descriptions of the time Clara spends shape-shifting as another creature. Over the course of the book she becomes a dog, a cat, a fox, even a swan, and each experience is so vividly described you could almost believe that you yourself know what it is to be a dog, a cat, a fox, even a swan. I loved these segments, described using all our senses and plenty of instinct and emotion.

I also enjoyed Clara - in her human form! - as a character. She is quite stubborn and very determined, which sometimes leaves her in conflict with Aunt Selina. But she's also kindhearted and quite sensitive. The combination of supernatural shape-shifting ability and ancient curse means quite a few secrets must be kept and this sometimes means conflict - deceiving parents and lying to friends. Poor Clara hates this and you can't blame her. I think most readers will identify with her and imagine their own reactions if they were in her place.

It's not perfect. Sometimes the dialogue is a little stilted. There are some slightly dated details - hard to avoid in our fast-moving world - like Clara's father renting a DVD for everyone to watch on Friday nights, which could perhaps be edited to better reflect realities of family life. But these are minor criticisms. I'm a reviewer: I have to nitpick! Overall, Under the Light of a Full Moon has an interesting premise, a relatable central character, some fabulous descriptive sequences, and the building of a quest that may be resolved in future instalments. There's a lot to like here, with the hopes of more to come. I think Under the Light of a Full Moon will find an appreciative readership.

If you decide to read and enjoy Under the Light of a Full Moon, then Rob Keeley's Childish Spirits supernatural series features a similarly relatable central character in Ellie. Shape-shifting also features in the wonderful Power of Three by Diana Wynne Jones.

You can read more about Donna McGrath here

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Buy Under the Light of a Full Moon by Donna McGrath at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Under the Light of a Full Moon by Donna McGrath at}


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