Woodson, J. (2012). Beneath a meth moon. NY: Nancy Paulsen Books.
YA Lit / Realistic Fiction /Contemporary Fiction (12-17)
182 pgs. Quick ‘n’ Easy.
I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads, but I’d give it a 4 ½ if I could.
The story is about addiction, but at its roots is a story about a teenager trying to recover from the aftermath of Katrina. Laurel, the main character, is so broken and vulnerable as a result of the devastation to her life and family, and Woodson’s writing really brings out the heartache, the regrets, and the uncertaintly that Lauren feels. The writing is outstanding in format and word choice. It’s real – it’s so realistic that I felt the cold, the shivers, the highs. . .
There is a small LGBT byline in the story, but it's more of a statement than a secondary story; however, the small amount of time devoted to it makes an impression.
I generally don’t discuss specifics or synopses of stories, but I want to point out one thing that bothered me about the book.
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There was just one part of the book that didn’t ring true to me, and it was in the initial scene where Laurel tries meth. I can believe that a girl that age, in that state, and with a cute boy would try a drug, but it really didn’t fit with the character that she’d have no hesitation. I could set that aside, though. But that she immediately was calling it “the moon” and waxing (no pun intended) poetic about it just seemed awkward. There were absolutely no indications that she’d had exposure to meth/the moon before, so that rang a littl false, and it bothered me throughout the book how she talked about “the moon.” Maybe I missed something that made that work. . .
***** END SPOILER ALERT ****** END SPOILER ALERT ****** END SPOILER ALERT *****
On my Clean-O-Meter, the book is squeaky clean, so it gets a 10. There are not any swear words, there is no sex, sexual references, or sexual innuendo. (kissing, but not details) Of course, the subject matter is teen drug use, but it’s handled tactfully and certainly isn’t as gritty and ugly as real drug use can be. Having said that, I suppose that the topic itself could offend some readers.
A great, short interview with the author, Jacqueline Woodson, about her mindset in writing this book and
a short book trailer can be found by CLICKING HERE. Scroll down on B&N's page to see them.
Also, there apparently is an audio CD coming out in February 2013 titled Beneath a Meth Moon: An Elegy. I can't tell if it's a sequel or if it's voiced differently from the book, like a true elegy. Here's the blurb from Goodreads:
laurel would do anything to turn back time ? to tell her mother and grandmother not to stay home near the beach with a hurricane coming to say no when her boyfriend, T-Boom, the co-captain of the basketball team, offers her that first hit of moon ? the drug that makes her feel bigger than all she's lost to have been there for her little brother and her best friend, Kaylee, when they needed her, instead of chasing the moon But she can?t. All she can do is move forward now. And only she can decide whether to face the pain and joy that is a part of living, or follow the moon to numbness and probably death. Only she can decide to choose to be there for her family and friends ? or give them another thing to grieve. Kaylee says, ?Write an elegy to the past . . . and move on.? She says it's all about moving on . . .