Moonrise by Sarah Crossan

Every verse novel of Sarah Crossan’s has been getting better and better and this is no exception. She just picks the absolute best characters to write about and tells stories you don’t normally hear that mean you can’t put the book down until it’s done.

Moonrise tells the story of Joe, who’s brother, Ed, is on death row. He hasn’t seen him in ten years, and now that he’s been given a death date, he decides to move to Texas for the opportunity to reconnect with him, and get the truth about what happened the day he was arrested.

What I loved about the story was how unassuming it was. It could have been from Ed’s perspective, and been a huge mystery like The Life of David Gale, that film with Kevin Spacey and Kate Winslet. Instead, with the focus on Joe, there’s a stronger emphasis on strength and family and needing support. If you want to get angry about the justice system, watch the film instead, because while it does get mentioned, trying to save Ed is never at the heart of the book, it’s more about both brothers coming to terms with his fate.

My favourite moments of the book were Ed’s letters to Joe – the last one definitely had me tearing up – and when Nell turned up in Joe’s life because it was such a sweet and real relationship against a harsh reality that offered Joe some escape.

While the prospect of counting down the days until your brother dies sounds morbid, Moonrise strikes the perfect balance between touching and melancholy, never fully dipping into complete sadness, but never letting you forget that life is unfair sometimes.

Succinct and moving, I’m giving Moonrise 4 stars, and it’s definitely going to be something I’m thinking about for months to come!

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Review: We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan

25310356We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan
Genre: Verse, Contemporary
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s
Pages: 320
Format: ARC ebook
Rating: ★★★.5
Note: We received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

As you can see from the cover, these authors are critically acclaimed. Sarah Crossan won the Carnegie Medal for her verse book about conjoined twins, One, which Maddie adored in 2015. We also knew we desperately wanted to read this because we’re going to meet the authors at an event and this is the book they’re promoting. All we knew before going in was that it’s written in verse and the poems are from two perspectives: Jess, a mild kleptomaniac and is forced by her mother’s partner, Terry, to film her mum whenever he beats her, and Nicu, a refugee that has to start going to school where he is bullied to a horrifying extent.

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