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Sun Moon Stars Rain Hardcover – January 1, 2006


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up–Danny Murtaugh narrates the events that take place after he drops out of college. Barely 18 and a music student overwhelmed by a failed romance, he has come home to the small community where his widowed mother is dating the town cop and the only diner has a new and attractive waitress. He gets permission from the local recluse to take photographs of the woods and river on the old man's property–an area where Danny's father died and that has long been threatened with seizure in a case of eminent domain. Most of the characters are odd, but none is unbelievable: alcoholism has wracked the lives of a few, including the waitress (who also did drugs), while bad luck and/or bad outlooks have wounded several others, including Danny. The chapters are brief, and each one pitches the protagonist and readers toward a calamity that fits its buildup, and that finds Danny better able to cope than he would have been weeks earlier. While there are no scenes of overt sexuality, readers need to approach this book with a degree of maturity simply because Danny gives so little of himself at first and uncovers so much about others that requires respect and care.–Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 10-12. Danny, 17, seems to have everything going for him, including a full scholarship to music school, but he drops out--and not because his girlfriend dumped him. He and his mom never talk about his dad, who died eight years before while rescuing a dog from the rushing river in their vital, rural community. Danny meets Stephanie, a beautiful single-parent mom, and he loves her. She reveals guilt about an addiction and more, and she helps him find peace in church. The religious message is understated; the issue that really drives the action is the locals' confrontation with the state officials attempting to confiscate land, but it's the honest characters, with all their scrappy, irreverent individuality and compassion, that grab attention. Fast, clipped, immediate, raucous (there are a few instances of the f-word), the dialogue is poetic; so is what's left unsaid. The simple words, and the spaces between them, reveal secrets, breakdown, betrayal, and love. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Front Street Press; First Edition edition (January 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932425535
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932425536
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,074,739 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gregory D. Lee on July 3, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
“sun moon stars rain” is the third young adult (YA) novel by Jan Cheripko, and in this reviewer’s opinion by far his best. This is a true page-turner, abounding in plot twists, a well-developed cast of characters and a talented, likable protagonist (Danny Murtaugh). To be sure, the author comes from a clear moral perspective; but he is more ambiguous and less heavy-handed in this story compared to his first two, pointing the way to making sound decisions by providing the young reader with thoughtful questions rather than pre-packaged answers to typical teenage problems.

And teenage problems abound in this story, beginning with Danny’s decision to drop out of college after interrupting his former girlfriend “in the act.” He lives at home in daily tension with his mother, a good woman who is exasperated with his seeming inability to get on with his life and education. (I doubt there is a parent of adult children anywhere who will not be able to identify with her plight.)

In short order Danny meets and becomes friends with Stephanie, a pretty young unwed mother and recovering addict. Danny seeks to deepen his relationship with her in spite of the strenuous objections of Ruthie, Stephanie’s tough, plain-talking guardian. As their feelings for one another grow stronger, the question for both Danny and Stephanie becomes whether to continue along their respective paths to higher education and sobriety, or give in to their longing and face a future together, with the bond of physical attraction most likely eroded over time by lack of opportunity, financial insecurity and temptation.

A parallel plot concerns the conflict between old man Garrick and “the state” over Garrick’s old growth forest land.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is definitely a YA novel because you'll get your fair dose of angst and indecision about life as Danny tries to figure out what in the world he wants out of life. He is reminded by everyone of his noble father's death. He deals with addicts, paranoid old men, and a young single mom who doesn't want a romantic relationship with him. Throughout the story is the question, "Why did he truly drop out of his prestigous music university?"

This story is realistic in that there is no cliched clean-cut ending, but one still filled with unfinished stories and wonderings about the future.
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