Book Reviews

Genre: political, fiction, coming-of-age

Key Stage: 4+

Rating: ★★★★★

Moonrise, Sarah Crossan (2017)

Moonrise is a poignant thought-provoking book about poverty, injustice, brotherly and romantic love that goes straight into your heart and once there, won’t leave.

Told from the viewpoint of Joe, a teenage boy from Staten Island (US) who hasn’t seen his brother Ed for ten years after Ed was sentenced to death for murder, the novel follows Ed’s final days on ‘death row’ and Joe’s determination to spend that time with him.  ​Crossan’s signature free-verse style (a refreshing departure from standard prose which has me hooked!) creates intimacy with the reader as the dialogue and Joe’s thoughts flow seamlessly with occasional flashbacks to bittersweet memories which enable you to piece together his difficult childhood.

The story provides a sobering look at the ripple effect incarceration has on loved ones and draws strong conclusions about the American criminal justice system. Like her fictional novel One, Crossan draws inspiration from real life stories and you’ll find yourself looking up facts soon after the last page.

If you like this, you might like: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, One by Sarah Crossan, The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater, We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan and the short story collection Here I Stand Stories that Speak for Freedom which includes writers such as Sita Brahmachari, Matt Haig, Bali Rai, Frances Harding and Liz Kessler.

Reviewer: Ms Harrison

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