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Beneath a Meth Moon Hardcover – February 2, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 35 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

Review

"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: HL730L (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 (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #720,004 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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By Free2Read on February 20, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I saw the review for "Beneath a Meth Moon" in the Sunday LA Times, bought the book on a Monday and finished the book on a Tuesday the same week. What a rush from the words of the gifted author, Jacqueline Woodson.

The book is presented in short chapters, giving the feeling of the jumpiness meth induces in its users. The main character, Laurel, calls meth "the moon," because it takes her over the moon beyond her troubles. After losing loved ones in a flood, she thinks she can go on, for she has a baby brother and a good father. But the moving around, the new high school, the influence of first love, these things lead her to experiment with meth. The experiment becomes the only thing that matters in her life, how to get meth, how to find meth, where to get enough money to buy meth. Meth, meth, meth, meth (always called "moon" by Laurel.)

Woodson, I felt, did an extraordinary job of making Laurel both believable and sympathetic. While most people have no patience with addicts or their problems, Woodson reveals the body's reaction to the first experience and the mental relief Laurel feels to have something new to drown her unhappiness. Laurel at that point does not know or care that the other side of addiction is ugly and destructive.

A book I would recommend to all parents and all teens, including early teens. It's a warning without being a sermon.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Crystal meth has become a scourge upon our young people. But do you really understand why? I can't say I do, but in Jacqueline Woodson's heartbreaking tale, Beneath a Meth Moon, I feel like I witnessed the devastation first-hand.

Laurel's mama packed her and her baby brother up to go with their father north, away from the hurricane, away from the water. She said it would only be a few days and that she couldn't leave Laurel's grandmother M'Lady behind, but she lied. It was forever. As they turned and drove away, they never thought that would be the last time she would see or speak to her mother. But the water came. And the water couldn't be stopped. And the water took everything away.

At first they lived with Laurel's aunt, but in search of more work, they headed to a new town with new people and new opportunities. Laurel meets Kaylee and starts cheering. Everything finally seems like it might be a life worth living again. Until Laurel meets T-Boom, the co-captain of the team. It is T-Boom who introduces Laurel to the moon. And once she starts the moon, it isn't so easy to stop. Especially when it takes away all the memories, all the pain, and all the emotions.

This is a short, quick story, but it is devastating, both in the poetic beauty with which it is written, and the haunting devastation of the content. You see this innocent 15 year old girl who lost her mother and her grandmother, and even having a loving father and a little brother who needs her can't make her stop using. She knows it is killing her, she sees herself in the store windows, but when the itch starts, all she can think about is the moon (meth).
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