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Alabama Moon Hardcover – September 5, 2006

83 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-8–Moon, 10, has spent most of his life in a camouflaged shelter in the forest with his father, a Vietnam veteran who distrusts people and the government. Pap has educated him in both academics and survival skills. His life suddenly changes when the land is sold to a lawyer and his father dies. The lawyer discovers him and, believing what he is doing is best for the child, turns him over to Mr. Gene from the local boys home. When Moon escapes, Mr. Gene alerts the constable, an emotionally unstable bully who becomes obsessed with capturing him. Once at the home, though, Moon makes his first real friends and learns what friendship is all about. Much of the story revolves around multiple chases, captures, and escapes. The ending might be a bit too perfect, but it is a happy one for Moon. The book is well written with a flowing style, plenty of dialogue, and lots of action. The characters are well drawn and three-dimensional, except for the constable–but then, maybe thats all there is to him. Even those who knew him as a child have nothing good to say about him. The language is in keeping with the characters personalities and the situations. Although Moon is only 10, older readers will also enjoy the book and will better understand the adults perspectives.–Nancy P. Reeder, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, Columbia, SC
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* This excellent novel of survival and adventure begins with the death of young Moon's father, an antigovernment radical who has been living off the land in rural Alabama with Moon for years. Moon has never known any truth but his dad's, and so he tries to continue his father's lifestyle. Unfortunately, Moon quickly finds himself in the claws of civilization, as personified by a sadistic cop. After a brief stint in jail (a lifetime of hunting and gathering leaves Moon hilariously pleased with the prison food), Moon again lights out for the territories, only to be recaptured and end up in reform school. Of course, no reform school is gonna keep Moon in check. Key's first novel is populated with memorable characters--such as Moon's reform-school buddy's dad, whose life is devoted to drinking and shooting machine guns--and studded with utterly authentic details about rural Alabama and survivalism. Stylistically, the book is perfectly paced, and Moon's narration is thoroughly believable. A terrific choice for reluctant readers and also for fans of Gary Paulsen's Brian novels. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 720L (What's this?)
  • Series: AWARDS: Truman Award Nominations 2008-2009
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1st edition (September 5, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374301840
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374301842
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #169,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Dawn M. Mcnutt on September 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I picked this book up from the Decatur Daily on Tuesday morning with the intention of reading a few chapters on the hammock while the kids played in the pool. The next time I looked up I had a nasty sunburn and my three children were asking what was for dinner. I continued reading far into the night after everyone was in bed. Unable to stop myself or even consider the fact that my four year old is usually up by 6:00am, I lost myself once again in this beautifully written novel until the very end.

The book is now in the hands of my eleven year old son who hasn't been seen for the last day or so, except at mealtimes with a surprisingly dog eared book that is less than a week old...

"Alabama Moon" is the debut novel from Southern Alabama author Watt Key. In this mesmerizing and completely enthralling coming of age story, ten year old Moon Blake learns how to survive on his own after his beloved father "Pap" dies leaving him to fend for himself in the forest of Alabama. The two of them have lived completely isolated and self sufficient in a handmade shelter for the last nine years. Along with all his wilderness and survival skills passed on from his father, Moon has also been taught to trust no one and fear the outside world. Two lessons that are difficult to uphold after Pap's death and Moon's promise to him to go to Alaska where he will find others like himself living off the land.

When fate intervenes and Moon finds himself in circumstances beyond his control, he must come face to face with a world he does not understand while trying to grasp the idea of what it means to trust someone.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Doctor Feelgood on January 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
One of the best read in awhile. Adults and Children enjoy this book so much it is hard to put down. All of us in our household have read it and believe it will become a Movie. If you enjoyed Forest Gump you will enjoy Alabama Moon. The book gets better the further you get into the story. Well written and an especially exceptional story for a first novel. I believe this short novel will become a classic.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on November 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Watt Key has introduced an unforgettable character in ten-year-old Moon Blake. He has lived in the wilderness with his father for as long as he can remember. Moon's father is anti-government and they live a reclusive life, surviving on what they can trap and raise with just an occasional trip to the little country general store. When Moon's father suffers a broken leg, and refuses to seek medical help, his subsequent death leaves Moon alone. Moon manages to see to his wilderness burial, but following his father's instructions to go to Alaska and find others that live their way of life is more difficult. While Moon is very resourceful, he doesn't understand the ways of the modern world and has no idea where Alaska is, or how to get there. The attorney that recently purchased the land where Moon and his father lived believes that he is doing the best thing for Moon, and turns him over to a boys home.

Moon is determined to escape and so he and two other boys manage steal a bus and run away. Moon's survival skills keep them one step ahead of the abusive and determined constable and out of jail. Moon has a chance to learn firsthand about what friendship means and to be able to interact with boys his own age for the first time. The boys are very sympathetic characters...even the bloodhound sent to track them down decides to join them.

Moon begins to question the lessons his father taught him about how bad the government is and to question even his father's lifestyle. Moon is a character that I'll never forget. This action-packed story is filled with chases, captures, and escapes. If you want to encourage reluctant readers, give them this exciting first novel by Watt Key. I'm hoping for another story...Moon is just too good a character to not have a sequel.

Reviewed by: Grandma Bev
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on December 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book written by Watt Key about a young boy named Moon Blake. He is living is with his father in a small house in the Alabama wilderness. Moon and his father are hiding from the government. But then his father dies and suddenly Moon is alone. Before his dad dies he tells Moon to head for Alaska, which he does, but he meets two other boys and they stay with him in the wild. I don't think I should tell you any more or you won't need to read the book. Thanks for reading
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Big D VINE VOICE on February 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book begs for a sequel and soon, too. We--we readers--have to know what happened to Moon and to Hal...What happens to them as they grow, mature, and face their young adult high school and college days? And when they grow up, get married and have families of their own...As they approach old age...Will they, can they, escape (overcome) the events described here in the formative days of their youth. Rarely has a book cried out for a sequel more than this one.

In fact, Mr. Key may have his own cottage industry here, a book on their continuing relationship (Moon and Hal) and/or single books on each boy.
Mark Twain did it and did it well with Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. Mr. Key has the same oportunity here. Here's hoping he's up to the opportunity--not the "task," but the "opportunity."

Orginally written as a book for teens and a little older, Alabama Moon has touched all and stirred the slumbering chords of all generations as it deals with youth, growing, up, family, love and lack thereof.

Outstanding. Don't miss it.
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