Moa - Tricia Stewart Shiu, Sydney Shiu

Moa by Tricia Stewart Shiu is a YA paranormal about a high-schooler Hillary who goes to visit her sister for a peaceful summer vacation in Hawai’i and ends up meeting a spiritual entity, saving the world and finding out that she does indeed have something special and magical about her.

When I spotted the recruitment for a blog tour I was excited since it seemed a good opportunity to meet more book bloggers, read a new book, help an author and maybe get some more traffic. Unfortunately I didn’t end up enjoying Moa as much as I thought I would from the description, and have had further confirmation that maybe YA is just not a genre for me :(.


Authors: Tricia Stewart Shiu
Pages: 157
Genre-ish: YA Paranormal with an indie feel
Rating: ★★ - Promising premise, dragged down by writing
Setting: Moa is set in modern day Hawai’i but there is much more magic and spirits than what you thought. There are portals between heaven and earth and ancient guardians assist people to move through them.
Premise: The portal between heaven and earth has been closed by the negativity in the world (and an evil spirit?) and the narrator spirit Moa knows that Hillary is the one destined to help reopen the portal, thus saving the world (because if the portal isn’t open the energies will get out of wack and volcanoes, death, destruction, etc).


  • A really interesting premise, I’ve always been a fan of the lore of Hawai’ian native culture and was excited to see a book using that
  • It was a cool idea to have the story told from the perspective of the ancient spirit instead of the heroine
  • The cover makes me happy just looking at it :)
  •  I really liked the spells or prayer or whatever at the beginning of each chapter, though Hillary only seemed to use them a few times…. I honestly thought they were the best written.


  • The writing completely fall flat in this book; way more editing was needed (or just a spell checking program in general….) since one in ten sentences wasn’t actually a grammatical sentence…. Also “tootsies” shouldn’t be used instead of toes, ever, unless it’s a children’s book…. Also the semi-first person, semi-omniscient doesn’t work well at all.
  • Half the book (literally every other paragraph at times) was a giant info dump that was sometimes a copy and paste repeat of a previous info dump. Show don’t tell is a rule that Shiu really needs to work on more.
  • What the heck was up those illustrations? Maybe they would have look better in color since my Kindle isn’t in color, but they didn’t seem to relate to the story, they looked like they were done by a child, and they were completely distracting from the story….
  • The characters didn’t seem all that concerned that the world was ENDING in THREE days unless they fixed it; they just went along for the ride and made rice for dinner
  • The lore and magic didn’t seem to all fit that well together, getting a mix of native Hawai’ian myths combined with a heaven and angels concept, it just ended up feeling very forced and fluffy to me in the end.

I’ve said before that YA isn’t my favorite genre, but I really don’t think that that was why I didn’t like this book. The writing really needed more polish (or any polish….) to bring out what was definitely a promising premise. If you are able to see past clumsy and annoying writing to the interesting idea underneath, you’ll probably like the book more than I did, but if you care about character depth, compelling writing, or grammar, I would skip this one unfortunately.