From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Woodson's first YA offering since After Tupac and D Foster (2008) will not disappoint readers. Fifteen-year-old Laurel is living a post-Katrina nightmare having lost her mother and grandmother in the storm but, after moving to Galilee, Mississippi, she's faring better: she has a best friend, a spot on the cheerleading squad, and an athlete boyfriend, T-Bone. Then T-Bone introduces her to meth, or the moon, named for the lightness and nothingness it brings, and her painful past is gone. Woodson deftly cycles back and forth between events surrounding the storm and Laurel's drug-addicted life on the street. In a short preface, Laurel writes that this story is her personal elegy to the past, and narrative techniques such as weaving italicized thoughts and conversations seamlessly into the text create the intimate sense of reading a journal. A slim but affecting novel, this ends on a hopeful note: perhaps it is possible to write pain into the past and leave some of it there, and reimagine a future. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Woodson returns to her YA roots here. With legions of built-in fans and plans for extensive social-networking/blogger outreach, there's sure to be a lengthy waiting list for this one.--Kelley, Ann Copyright 2010 Booklist
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Gr 8 Up-This powerful, stripped-down novel chronicles a girl's journey from popular cheerleader to homeless meth user to recovering addict. When her mother and grandmother perish in Hurricane Katrina, Laurel's idyllic childhood in Pass Christian, MS, abruptly ends. After living with relatives for two years, she relocates to Iowa with her father and younger brother. There, she falls in love with basketball co-captain T-Boom, who introduces her to meth, or "moon." The novel's real romance is between Laurel and the drug; the euphoria she experiences while high fills a void inside her and helps her forget all she has lost. Her other relationships crumble away as addiction takes over her life. A poignant friendship with a street artist reawakens Laurel's desire for human connections and propels her toward recovery. The narrative, which is full of rich, sensory images, jumps between the present day, Laurel's childhood memories, and scenes from rehab, giving the story a dreamlike quality. Though this is a gentler read, it would be a natural choice for fans of Go Ask Alice (Prentice Hall, 1971) or Ellen Hopkins's Crank (S & S, 2004). An outstanding novel that succeeds on every level.-Amy Pickett, Ridley High School, Folsom, PA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Fifteen-year-old ex-meth addict Laurel is writing an "elegy to the past" in an attempt to recover her life. After her mother and grandmother die in Hurricane Katrina, Laurel, her father, and her younger brother, Jesse Jr., move from their temporary new home in Jackson, Miss., to Galilee, Iowa, for a fresh start. Laurel makes a new friend, joins the cheerleading squad, and begins dating star athlete T-Boom, but she is still bereft over her lost family. When T-Boom offers her a taste of "the moon" (meth), her sadness evaporates. "Thing about the moon is-it takes you deeper," Laurel says. "Deeper than you'd go on your own." She quickly becomes addicted, neglects her friends and family, and winds up begging on the street in pursuit of more. Woodson's (Peace, Locomotion) dreamlike story is constructed of Laurel's patchy memories peppered with the voices of expertly sketched characters and rich with writerly observations. While readers know that Laurel survives, Woodson maintains tension throughout, making it abundantly clear how easy it is to succumb to meth and how difficult it is to recover from it. Ages 12-up. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.