THE GIRL WHO CHASED THE MOON
Allen's third novel is another winner set in a pitch-perfect enchanted town. Her believable magic is the ideal contrast to her recurring themes of forgiveness and moving forward. An ode to spring's
rejuvenation, this book serves up hard Southern honesty at the heart of a sweet candy. Emily and the rest of Mullaby are a Big Fish-esque look at a way it would be nice to live.
After her mother's death, teenage Emily Benedict relocates to her grandfather's home in the small town of Mullaby, N.C. The paragon Emily grew up with never mentioned that they had living relatives, and both the man and his town are wary of Emily's presence. It becomes clear that her mother was someone quite different in Mullaby. But as ghosts from her mother's past come out of the woodwork, she realizes Mullaby is clearly more than a little bit out of the ordinary. (BANTAM, Mar., 384 pp., $24.95)