The Next Full Moon


The Next Full Moon” is as magical as a moonbeam on a mid-summer’s eve. When you’ve finished this enchanting story, you’ll close your eyes and fly.”
—Kathi Appelt, author of The Underneath and Keeper

“I so admire Carolyn Turgeon’s novels for adults, and was curious to see how she’d approach the YA novel in particular, since that age reading group is really hard to please. It’s often that time of life that kids turn away from reading, distracted by smartphones, teen mags and such. I’m pleased to say this is a wonderful story, beautifully written, compelling, but not too dependent on romance. It’s more about best girlfriends, the strange ways adolescence affects a girl, and there’s a little magic to it, a la Alice Hoffman, but not way out there. In the larger scope, it’s a story that says a lot more once you’re finished reading it. For example, Ava’s grandmother is as knowing, comforting and generous as any pre-teen would want. Ava’s being raised by her dad, and though he’s not in the story as much as the narrator, he’s a well-crafted and interesting character that understands his daughter better than she thinks he does. He treats her with respect and humor, gives her space, yet is a part of her life without being any of the stereotypes one might imagine. I was struck by the wholesomeness in this story. I’d have no trouble at all giving it to a young reader. This book is really a good read. I wish she’d been around when I was the age of Ava. Hope she writes another YA novel soon.”
—Jo-Ann Mapson, author of Solomon’s Oak and Finding Casey

“Carolyn pitch perfectly describes exactly what a young teenager feels during those important years.”
—Simply Stacie

“Beautiful. Imaginative. Dreamy. Lovely.”
—Fluidity of Time

“The time between girlhood and womanhood isn’t easy. Is there a more awkward, confusing age than twelve, when hormones begin surging, and boys—previously either dismissed as playmates or the enemy—morph into objects of…affection? But for Ava, a Central Pennsylvania girl a few months from becoming a teenager, this phase is fraught with even greater angst: on one lovely early-summer morning she discovers she has begun to sprout soft white feathers along her arms and back.

Thus begins State College author Carolyn Turgeon’s The Next Full Moon, a lyrical, lovely book steeped in both old-world magic, and the often hilarious, sometimes painful realities which beset those coming of age. Turgeon specializes in deconstructing familiar fairy tales, turning them into gorgeous fables for adults, full of yearning and grief, joy and awe—among her efforts are 2009’s Godmother, in which Cinderella’s godmother falls for Prince Charming and is thus banished to live out her days as a human, and last year’s Mermaid, a lavish reinvention of Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Little Mermaid.”

The Next Full Moon, Turgeon’s first book for middle school readers, finds her happily treading familiar ground. It takes “The Swan Maiden” —the tragic tale of the love between a man and a swan, who only becomes human when she takes off her feathered robe—as inspiration. But in Turgeon’s version, the Swan Maiden gave birth to a daughter before resuming her avian form. And that daughter, with no knowledge of her heritage, now finds herself at the mercy of it.

The book benefits from its author’s experience and skill in crafting haunting passages infused with otherworldly wonder and beauty; among the most breathtaking is the scene in which Ava spies her mother, whom she’s never met, frolicking under the full moon in a nearby stream. But this is not The Next Full Moon’s only glory. Ava’s voice, and those of the other tweens who populate her world, is so pitch perfect, so truthful and real, that it’s difficult to believe the novel was written by an adult. There is a simple honesty here—it’s in the chaotic yearning Ava feels for her crush, Jeff, the abiding affection that characterizes her relationship with her best friend, Morgan, and in the deep love and occasional frustration she shares with her father.

Ava’s father, who was fly fishing one night when he witnessed her mother transform, is a professor at a Penn State-like university; local readers will especially enjoy the Central Pennsylvania setting. Turgeon has said she found inspiration for the book in the area’s lush beauty and winding creeks, and her love for the land she has called home on and off for decades come through in her carefully rendered details.

Released earlier this year from the imprint Downtown Bookworks, The Next Full Moon is a rarity: a novel for middle schoolers that adults can read and adore. Word is Turgeon is considering a sequel. For fans of Ava, who with winning charm and grace learns to celebrate her differences rather than hide them, that day can’t come too soon.”
—Jill Gleeson of, for WPSU

“While The Next Full Moon isn’t a fairy tale retelling, it does follow the life of Ava, a girl whose mother is the swan maiden from the fairy tale you already know and love. Ava doesn’t know that her father fell in love with a swan maiden, however, and right before her thirteenth birthday, she starts sprouting wings. At the beach. In front of the boy she has a huuuuge crush on. Talk about embarrassing! She doesn’t know what’s going on or who to turn to, and stays home sick the next day. Her father forces her back to school, and she wears long sleeves until she discovers that the feathers come off and form a sort of coat that will allow her to change form into a swan. She finds out that there’s so much more to herself and her mother than what initially meets the eye.

Turgeon impressively uses fantasy to explore issues that all pre-teens go through as their bodies begin changing. This is such an emotional time in one’s life, as everyone worries about worry about how different he/she is from peers and experiences the highs and lows of first crushes. The story parallels this well. Additionally, Turgeon weaves in deeper issues, such as never knowing a parent and the way that may shape someone. She also delivers the message that it’s okay to be yourself. Maybe you didn’t initially like who you are, but every person is unique, and it’s okay to love yourself just the way you are, even if you’re different. You’re still YOU, and there’s nobody else quite like you—and that’s okay!”
—Bonnie, from A Backwards Story