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Beneath a Meth Moon Hardcover – February 2, 2012

34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

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. Grades 8-11. --Ann Kelley


"Woodson takes us on the dark journey of addiction, mimicking the slow, hazy spell of drug use with the lull of her poetic prose. . . . Laurel's descent is brutally honest. . . . An intimate and compelling story of survival." — The Horn Book

"As accurate as it is heartbreaking; readers will be deeply moved . . . they'll sympathize with [Laurel's] desire to find some way to feel better. . . . Readers looking to understand the attraction of a destructive substance will get a glimmer of understanding." — The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

"Will not disappoint readers. . . . 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." — Booklist

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 730L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books; First Edition edition (February 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399252509
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399252501
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #910,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Jacqueline Woodson's awards include 3 Newbery Honors, a Coretta Scott King Award and 3 Coretta Scott King Honors, 2 National Book Awards, a Margaret A. Edwards Award and an ALAN Award -- both for Lifetime Achievement in YA Literature. She is the author of more than 2 dozen books for children and young adults and lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Alyssa Marie on May 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I liked this book. It was a quick read, and I loved how the writing style reflects Laurel's state of mind. Laurel's story is told in brief, halting flashes, jumping from past to present. I really felt like it was written in moments between her highs -- small moments of lucidity when she wasn't feeling the effects of meth. And then, there was a dreamy, almost ethereal quality to the language, which made the narrative seem like Laurel was in-between states. Not quite high, not quite grounded in reality. I thought it was perfect for a journal of a girl who is trying to break her addiction and start a new life.

The story Laurel tells is heart-breaking, and I love how Woodson is able to bring together recent events to tell a story that some teenagers can really relate to. Beneath a Meth Moon tackles the after-effects of Hurricane Katrina and paints a small picture of the suffering and devastation that followed the event. It also goes into the widespread use of meth among teenagers, and how their lives are ruined by their addiction. And despite these horrific and depressing events, she turns it into a hopeful message. Life goes on. We are able to go on with it by just putting one foot in front of the other and getting through bad times step by step.

However, while I appreciated the link between the style and Laurel's frame of mind, I would have liked there to have been more development. In the flashes we get of Laurel's life in a new town, I don't feel as if she has moved on. I don't feel like she has a best friend, or even get the sense of a boyfriend from T-Boom. The way she started meth confused me. T-Boom held out a meth-covered finger to her and told her to sniff. Why did she? Why didn't she just leave the guy? What was going on in her mind while she did this? We don't know.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By N., The BookBandit on May 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Before the moon Laurel was a normal girl. A girl who had dreams and aspirations of one day becoming a writer. A girl who had friends and family. But that was before. Before Hurricane Katrina. Before her, her daddy, and younger brother Jessie left to go stay with her aunt. Before the water washed away her home. Before the water washed away her mamma and grandmamma. Before life as she knew it ended.

But when new boyfriend T-Boom turns Laurel onto Moon a new life opens up to her. A life she never knew was possible. Feeling higher than life, the moon allows her to move forward and to forget the past.

Her new life means forgetting. Forgetting the past, the people she loves and who love her, forgetting herself. Is Laurel strong enough to shake her habit, or will she die before she has the chance to?

Written by acclaimed author Jacqueline Woodson, Beneath a Meth Moon is a gut-wrenchingly painful, yet beautiful examination of addiction.

Just under two hundred pages Woodson's has brought the life and struggles of a meth addict to light. These struggles aren't pretty, they are gritty and often ugly. These struggles aren't easy, they're ruthless and full of frightful emotions. These struggles, as Woodson presents them, are startlingly realistic.

Woodson's writing is sharp and purposeful. Beyond that there is a poetic quality to her writing. And even though as hopeless as Laurel's story is, there is a hopeful tone to the overall book. As the story bounces from one point in time to a completely different, unrelated point, readers won't only understand Laurel's life as a meth addict, but will come to appreciate the brutal honesty in which her story is told.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Teen Reads on April 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Renowned YA author Jacqueline Woodson writes poetically about an intense and sobering subject: teenage drug addiction. BENEATH A METH MOON is a touching novel that challenges many commonly held notions about teenage drug use and the way society treats young addicts --- the idea that addicts begin with a lesser substance, that they are troubled kids, that they lack good parental support, that most are criminals or misfits, that addiction doesn't happen to smart, good kids. This is the story of a good-natured girl who falls easily into a haze of invisibility, a peculiar kind of elegy to family and friends who support and inspire substance abusers, and to the twisted poetry of "the moon," the euphoric substance with deadly appeal for those with a death wish.

By all standards, Laurel Daneau was a good girl before using meth. She came from a loving Southern family and was a cheerleader in her Mississippi high school, the new kid in town who had made a few solid friends and had shown fair prospects. But her emotional troubles began long before using meth or becoming friendless and hopeless. Laurel lost her mother and grandmother in a tragic flood during a hurricane that hit much of Mississippi hard and left the family drifting.

Laurel's father was unaware of the degree of Laurel's emotional displacement when he moved the family away from their home at Pass Christian, Mississippi, to live with relatives in Galilee. He had been dealing with his own grief along with his daughter's and was just hoping to "make a new start." Unfortunately, Laurel was still in shock even while attempting to relive many cherished childhood memories. Ironically, her grandmother's words would become prophetic and redeeming for her: "While you're living...It's the rocks in your life that will stand by you.
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