Book Review: HARLEY HITCH AND THE MISSING MOON by Vashti Hardy (Middle Grade Monday)

Title in slanted black on pink next to drawing of girl with blue hair holding a telescope
Genre: Sci-Fi
Age Range: MG
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: Yes - second book

*SPOILER ALERT: contains SPOILERS for HARLEY HITCH AND THE MISSING MOON*

Synopsis:

Book cover for HARLEY HITCH AND THE MISSING MOON: title in gold above a blue haired girl holding a telescope surrounded by red star-spangled curtains

When the circus comes to town, Harley’s curiosity gets the better of her: she sneaks backstage to investigate a device that makes objects magically disappear. But she accidentally breaks it!

Then things start to go missing all over Forgetown – including the moon!

Could it all be Harley’s fault? And can she sort out the mess before it’s too late?

Synopsis taken from back of book. Add to your Goodreads shelves here.


Review:

We return to the invention-run land of Inventia, and Harley Hitch’s home of Forgetown in this second delightful mystery/adventure. Harley is trying to be perfect (according to her strict teacher’s definition, anyway) but when her curiosity gets the better of her and the moon goes missing, she might have to decide what perfect means to help her home.

It’s a really important message about how one person’s idea of perfect doesn’t fit everyone (and isn’t necessarily right, just because they’re an authority figure.) Harley’s friendship takes a hit, as does her ability to solve problems because she’s forcing herself into a box. And she runs the risk of burnout (a danger many of us can recognise at any age!) Plus seeing her being so un-Harley-ish was very funny, as you could just see her straining to do her normal thing and pulling herself in, leading to some amusing interactions.

The world building details are so inventive (hahah, puns!) and so many attention has been paid to how the mechanical nature of the world effects every part of life. From how the circus arrives to how it puts on its shows, plus the carefully chosen (woad!) dyes for her hair, the thought shines through. I want a pretzel in the shape of a cog!

As ever with Vashti Hardy’s books, there’s a strong STEM theme to this latest offering. As you’ve probably guessed from the title, this time it’s about the importance of the moon. I really enjoyed how the many different facets of the moon’s influence on the world were introduced by really exaggerating the effects (and making them happen so quickly.) It’s an effective way to show just how important it is to our world.

I’m looking forward to the next instalment!


Read my reviews of other books by Vashti Hardy:

Harley Hitch (this series):

Sky-Ship:

Ghost Machine:

Standalones:

Griffin Gate (Barrington Stoke):

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