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."