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Melanie Hooyenga
Chasing the Moon

When three best friends hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, they find more than hoodoos and the Colorado River. Melody, the semi-famous science tokker has a crush on Steph but she’s terrified of ruining their friendship making Jess feel like an outsider. Steph, who just broke up with her girlfriend, wants nothing more than a break from the turmoil at home. But all bets are off when there’s no cell signal, no rules, and only one tent.

Quarter Finalist

Plot/Idea: 9 out of 10
Originality: 10 out of 10
Prose: 9 out of 10
Character/Execution: 10 out of 10
Overall: 9.50 out of 10


Plot/Idea: Chasing the Moon is a heartwarming story populated with strong, self-aware young women who share a solid bond. Their story is part adventure, part awakening, and part transformation. The plot is fun, engaging, and light.

Prose: The author is an accomplished writer with a knack for reaching a young adult audience. The writing is concise and expressive, providing readers with an intimate perspective on the characters' thoughts, emotions, fears, and motivations.

Originality: Hooyenga offers a cozy and engaging setup for her lead characters. While the story successfully engages the friends-to-lovers trope, the book's true focus is on the dynamics of female friendship; the authenticity of the circumstances and characters leads to a memorable reading experience. 

Character/Execution: The author does a superb job with characterization. All three young women are self-aware, open and accepting. The author cleverly utilizes a rotating point of view as a tool to gain insight into how the girls think and what motivates them.

Date Submitted: April 15, 2023