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4.7 out of 5 stars89
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on September 7, 2006
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. With the help of his two new best friends Hal and Kit, he attempts to find his place in this world while finding out that maybe everything his father told him wasn't the truth and that sometimes you do have to depend on other people whether you want to or not.

As Moon's journey takes him to a group home, jail and back to the forest again, he begins to learn that human beings are a wonderfully flawed group and some can be trusted while others simply can not. Sometimes those with the best of intentions fall short, while others may just surprise you in the end.

Moon endures one hardship after another and some of life's toughest lessons. The reader can't help but want this extremely appealing character to succeed and find happiness. While this book is listed at ages 10-14, I daresay many adults will find is as compelling and enthralling as any child. The extensive research that author Watt Key performed in order to accurately portray the skills and knowledge necessary to live in an isolated forest year round will also have many outdoor enthusiasts admiring this novel as well.

I can't recommend "Alabama Moon' enough. Read it with your child or give it to them as a gift. You won't regret it...
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on January 18, 2007
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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on November 4, 2006
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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on December 20, 2006
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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VINE VOICEon February 18, 2008
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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on June 7, 2015
This is a five star book for one reason: Moon. Watt Key has written something really special with his character Moon Blake. I read the synopsis of this book months ago and even had it recommended to me by a friend, but I didn't pick it up because while it sounded interesting, the plot didn't leap out at me.

There's really only one thing you need to know about the story: Moon's Pap has died and left him to fend for himself in the woods where they had always lived alone, survivialist style, with instructions to head for Alaska. The rest of the book is all Moon as he confronts the real world and navigates friendship, trouble and where he fits in, and he is fabulous. Moon is confused and angry at all the grown-ups trying to control his life now that his dad is gone and there's no one else to take him in-- ostensibly he has no family other than his deceased father. He knows so much about how to live by himself in the forest, and yet is so naive about how the world works.

I cried at the beginning when Moon's Pap dies and then laughed as Moon refuses to back down repeatedly, "whipping up" on multiple adults who underestimate him throughout the book. It's really a poignant story of loss and love and finding a sense of normalcy. There aren't that many truly unique characters out there, where you feel like the author gets it exactly right, but Moon is one. He sticks with you after the book is done. He's really something.
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on January 7, 2009
A ten-year-old boy knows only his father and the most rudimentary elements of survival in the Alabama forest until the day he has to bury his own father. His father's dying words instruct him to make his way to Alaska. There he will be able to find and live with others who also hate the government and who can also survive in the wilderness. So begins the boy's discovery of his own mind and his own heart. Though Moon Blake has only known the extremist ideology of his father, he has known love. This knowledge is his north star as he negotiates an entirely new world and begins to shape his own ideas.

This is an extremely well-told tale that reads like a dream. Filled with survival lore, the story unfolds from the first person perspective of Moon, a welcome and richly-drawn new hero to the field of literature. The plot includes a suitably grotesque villain, an impossible task, true friendship, and ultimate redemption.

Entirely appropriate for middle school readers, this book will appeal mostly to boys, but it is such a great story I am recommending it for girls who like tales of survival and adventure, children younger than middle school who are already comfortable with reading, younger high school students, and parents who like the opportunity to enjoy reading a book their children are reading. I for one had not been as moved by the noble and endearing spirit of a young protagonist for more decades than I like to acknowledge. - Gaby Chapman
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on September 21, 2006
Moon Blake lives with his survivalist father in a remote wilderness shelter on land owned by a paper company. From the day he is born, Moon is told that the government is out to get him and his family. He is instructed by his Pap in every aspect of living off of the land. From creating shelter to hunting and gathering food, the two have virtually everything they need to survive without others.

Moon's isolated existence is threatened when his Pap develops a serious infection. Lacking proper medical care, the father passes away, but not before he tells Moon to find his way to Alaska, where there are other people like them.

Following Pap's death, Moon tries to find his way in a world that is completely alien to him. He turns to the few people he knows, who promptly alert authorities. Rather than finding his new home, Moon becomes a ward of the state and he is transferred to a home for boys. In spite of the tight security there, Moon's skills pay off as he executes an escape. He absconds to the woods with a couple of new friends from the boys' home.

On the run from a determined and abusive constable, Moon learns that there are consequences for his actions. He begins to question what he has been told about the government and about living off of the land. Will Moon be able to outrun the authorities and make his way to Alaska, or will his journey end at another boys' home, or worse, jail?

Key's first novel is very well written and while it is intended for young adult audiences, the plot and characters are strong enough to keep the attention of older readers as well. Strongly recommended.
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VINE VOICEon November 30, 2008
Having just started (and put down) a deeply crappy book meant for 9- to 12-year-old boys by a well-known author whose name I will refrain from mentioning, it was an absolute shock to my system to read its polar opposite, the brilliant Alabama Moon. THANK you, Watt Key!

Utterly competent living in the forest, Moon Blake experiences the height of culture shock when his survivalist father dies and he runs smack into the outside world. Moon is unfamiliar with things like fatty food (or enough food), television, and clothes made out of things other than animals skins, let alone the wrongheadedness and lies of certain supposed representatives of the law. Trying to fulfill his father's last instructions to go to Alaska and live with other people who hate the government, Moon soon escapes from the locked boys' home where he's been dumped, taking two other boys with him. (Well, more at first, actually--that part's very funny!)

But Moon is starting to change, realizing that, unlike his father, he's not happy being alone. When things go wrong out in the forest, Moon begins making new kinds of decisions. Of course, it doesn't help that the wacked-out small-town constable whose pride Moon has wounded is after him, and not exactly with lawful intent.

Moon is the most real, intriguing protagonist I've read about since Maniac Magee. I had to catch my breath when I finished this book, it was that good. I then ran to my computer to tell you: please read this book. It's one of the best things to hit children's literature in years!
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on June 2, 2015
Very good book. I read it in high school and forgot much of the book. But now i own it, and one day my kids can read it if they wanna. Its kinda weird but its got lots of grate life points in it. Well worth the money :)
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