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on 19 March 2017
Love the book! Beautiful cover. Arrived very quickly and safely in perfect condition. Highly recommend!
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on 9 November 2014
Well written. A YA novel which will delight the 'goth' girls in particular. Keeps you guessing, messes with your mind as you get into the main character's world.
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I must admit that I read this book shortly after it came out, but until now I had never read it since. What we have here is an unnamed and unreliable narrator who gives us a foreword and afterword to her journal that she kept at boarding school.

We are taken back to the early Seventies as we read the journal of a sixteen year old. One of the boarders at a school, she is set apart to a degree because she is in a minority, being Jewish, amongst the WASPs. Being an all girls school obviously the nature of all girl friendships are a lot more intense than if the school had been mixed. Our narrator definitely has a 'pash' for Lucy, and this is taken as normal by the other girls. Of course things become a bit different, when Ernessa comes to the school, upsetting the dynamics between Lucy and the narrator. As friendships alter our narrator, who is still upset about the suicide of her father, starts showing signs of over possessiveness. With teenage angst, madness, obsession and envy this does have a lot to offer. Our narrator becomes obsessed into believing that Ernessa is a vampire, probably caused by her hormones and feelings for Lucy, as well as the reading material she is taking for her class.

Ultimately the idea that Ernessa is a vampire is the weak point, as only the narrator seems to see this. This is a good read, but it lacks the ambiguity of something like 'The Turn of the Screw' which would have made this a great novel. When deaths come into this book, we don't get any feeling reading this that Ernessa is really the cause of them, only the narrator's fevered imaginings that she is. This book won't be for everyone, but is worth reading if you are looking for something a little bit different.
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The Moth Diaries takes the form of a journal kept by a sixteen year old girl, whose name we never know, while she is studying at an exclusive school. Initially the journal is taken up with the usual thoughts and fears of teenage life: the reading lists for her English class (heavy on the Gothic, the vampire-laden and the macabre); her friendships with the other girls and with one, Lucy Blake, in particular; her sense of not quite belonging because of her Jewishness and her hopes for the future. What rather upsets the gentle nature of her observations, however, is the arrival in the school of a new girl, Ernessa Block. Ernessa is somehow aloof from the other girls, a figure who inspires admiration in many due to the manner in which she seems able to bend the school rules without ever getting into trouble and fear in others because of her intelligence and her ability to discern the thoughts and desires of those around her. Also, from our narrator's point of view, Ernessa spells trouble because Lucy, having previously been inseperable from her, now seems to find Ernessa much more interesting.

What I loved about The Moth Diaries - and I genuinely did love it - was the fashion in which the tension escalates one notch at a time. Secrets creep from the woodwork. Both Ernessa and the narrator have fathers who took their own lives. Ernessa, according to the narrator although no-one else ever comments, never seems to eat anything. The narrator claims to be giving up her dabbling with illicit substances in one journal entry only to declare that she has never been so stoned in her life in the next. Nothing is quite what it seems and the narrator's observations although spot on in many instances seem to go dangerously, almost insanely out of kilter when it comes to Ernessa. Passions become more heated, Lucy becomes ill, bizarre and macabre tragedies occur and the narrator, but nobody else, sees Ernessa behind it all.

The Moth Diaries contains a definite echo of Henry James's 'The Turn of the Screw' in the sense that the narrator is clearly unreliable, although not necessarily always wrong. There's also a hint of Donna Tartt's 'The Secret History' in the portrayal of an enclosed, elite college in which the study of esoteric subjects leads to over-heated imaginations. The school itself with its narrow corridors, its gabled rooftops and its rather sinister basement is beautifully portrayed and serves as a haunting backdrop but, ultimately, the book comes down to character: the narrator, who may or may not be teetering on the brink of a mental abyss, Lucy and Ernessa and the relationships that exist between them.

I loved this book. It has a beautiful, fragile and elusive quality - rather like the moths the narrator and her father used to watch in the night. It doesn't have the subtlty of 'The Turn of the Screw' but perhaps what it occasionally lacks in enigma it compensates for in direct shocks (what does the narrator see when she creeps along the guttering at night in order to peer inside Ernessa's window?). Gorgeous, swirling, haunting and mysterious. A terrific novel and an author to watch.
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on 15 May 2017
It was interesting atmospheric.
Spoiler.
I'd have liked a bit more of an ending it just feels like it builds and then trails off.
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on 23 October 2006
The Moth Diaries is unquestionably a sublimely written book. It keeps the reader on the edge of their seats at all times and shocks and surprises frequently. I am sure that theur is a heated debate going in on the writing world as to whether or not the author is perfectly sane and Ernessa is really a vampire, or if the author is undergoing a slow descent into depression and psychosis as a result of her father's untimely death and the 'loss' of her best friend to the new girl. There are so many excellent features of this book; one entry it is describing average teenage issues, and the next the diarist is describing a scene of gothic horror.

However, my only qualms with the book is that whilst most of the subject matter is fine for young teenagers, there are some theories in the book, like the ones about philosophy that would not be understood by this audience. Even so, this adds atmosphere to the book. As the diary was set about 30 years ago and the girls are in their penultimate year at a top boarding school, there are obviously going to be some references that the reader will not completely understand.

Regardless of this, The Moth Diaries can be interpreted in many different ways, which is the true excellence of the novel. It can be a psychological thriller, a dark and gothic horror story, or simply a tale about a girl with friendship troubles. I would reccomend The Moth Diaries to anybody who is interested in something that is a little unusual. Overall, a gripping, strangely fascinting and unpredictable debut novel.
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VINE VOICEon 25 September 2006
This book was read by my 13 year old daughter and looked interesting - so I thought I would read it as I try to be up to date with the sort of books she is reading.

Initially it appealed on an Enid Blyton boarding school book level having read all of those as a child myself, but I very quickly realised that this was a lot deeper.

The book reads well as a diary and you can hear the narrator clearly describing her thoughts.

She wildly flits about from loving to hating the personalities around her and feels strongly about everything, which very well describes the teenage mind.

She seems to want to find something to hate in Ernessa and ends up creating an aura of fear around the fellow pupil, among a group of girls at emotional period of life, all with some sort of trauma having happened - parents dying, parents moved away, difficult realtionships with step parents, etc.

I got a bit hung up on the fact that the narrator's name is never mentioned. Not sure what effect this is trying to give, but I found it a little distracting.

As the book progresses elements of madness creep in, although they are not overplayed initially and the reader can easily believe the development of an overactive teenage imagination to the strange events going on.

In the end I found myself looking forward to the end of the book but was glad that I had read it
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on 13 February 2004
Its hard to say you could enjoy this book but it did make a compelling and fascinating read. Don't read this book if you want easy answers as this book is not about that - its the questions and possibilities that stay with you for a long time after reading it. Its extremely well written and gets under your skin and I did find it fascinating and enjoyable, even if I craved a clear answer at the end. You really do feel like you are reading someone else's diary and it throws up so many things that happen during adolescence while avoiding all the usual clichés. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants something different to read.
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on 23 July 2004
This book had me completely absorbed. It's rare for a book to linger on in my mind days after reading it. I still can't decide whether the narrator's experiences and feelings were real, or a product of her imagination.
Was Ernessa really a vampire who is sucking the life out of her friend Lucy? Perhaps Lucy distintegrates because of anorexia & possible abuse from her repulsive father? Maybe the author was simply projecting her negative feelings of grief & jealously onto Ernessa and making her out to be something gross and unnatural. However, weird going-ons, untimely deaths, & the dark gothic atsmosphere of the boarding school suggest that the narrator's experiences are very real.
Well-written and very compulsive, the book finishes off with more questions than answers.
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on 4 June 2013
A copy of this novel has sat languishing on my book shelves for the last few years. I bought it, attracted by the stunning cover, started it straight away and then got distracted and put it on my shelf un-read. It might just have stayed that way if it wasn't for the fact that my other half got hold of two free tickets to see the film adaptation. I'm one of those people who absolutely hates to see the film of a book without having read the book first and so the day before we were due to see the film, I grabbed my copy of this book, curled up on the sofa and read all 256 pages in one sitting, barely pausing to look up.

'The Moth Diaries', as you might have gathered by the title is presented to us in diary form, an interesting concept that really works with the premise. The story opens with a kind of foreword, the now adult diarist giving us a bit of background to the diary she kept as a sixteen year old girl. She admits that she suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder complicated by depression and that her Psychiatrist has requested her permission to publish the tormented ramblings of her formative years. We never actually learn the identity of the girl we come to know so well. She is nameless to us and yet it doesn't hinder the story at all.

The diary opens at the beginning of a new school term. The sixteen year old narrator attends an exclusive all girls boarding school which over the past few years has become more of a home to her than the home she has shared with her Mother since her poet father killed himself. School is where Lucy, her best friend and secret obsession resides. Home has become the suite she shares with Lucy. But all that is about to change with the arrival of new girl Ernessa Bloch.

Ernessa is a mysterious addition to their world. Pale, foreign and a total loner, she is at odds with the world of school. But Lucy is drawn to her. Sweet, innocent Lucy who can't see the bad in anybody is sucked into Ernessa's world. But since Ernessa arrived on the scene, strange things have been happening. Death and destruction seem to plague the school and our narrator is convinced Ernessa is at the heart of it. She becomes obsessed with the idea that Ernessa Bloch is a Vampire.

But do Vampires really exist outside of the macabre stories she has been reading for her English class, or has her fevered imagination run rampant? We don't really find out and I'm reluctant to say too much in case it spoils the story for any of you who wish to read it. I will say however, that for me, 'The Moth Diaries' was psychologically taut, a brilliant painting of mental torment and teen angst. There were some lines that were incredibly poignant, that reminded me a little of my own teenage years.

It was a great read, an amazing little journey inside the mind. I'd recommend it to anybody who likes Psychological Horror with a dash of teen angst.
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