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Dead Girl Moon Kindle Edition
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The three become friends, and discover a body while on an outing. The discovery soon dislodges them from what little stability they have, and they seek to solve the murder while avoiding arrest or worse, all while dealing with the tensions of an incomplete love triangle.
Charlie Price again leads the reader into a world of young people in desperate circumstances. There are no cheap Hollywood moments in Dead Girl Moon. As in previous offerings, Mr. Price paints a world where young people cling to hope despite surviving in bleak circumstances, and he paints that world well.
The book is peopled with well-drawn characters and an intense, complicated plot. Grace, age seventeen, flees a hellish home-life, changes her name, and sets about recreating herself. She has good reasons for believing that the only person she can trust is Grace and while she is not always easy to like, she is easy to sympathize with. A series of events leads her to a small town in Montana and to a squalid little trailer house where she meets JJ, a teenage girl living with her drunken aunt, pot-dealing uncle, and their disturbed young son. Though she's been given few reasons to be, JJ, an aspiring athlete, is decent, kind, and remarkably loyal. Just across the compound lives Mick, who's just moved for the sixth time in a single year because his father can't stop "finding" things that belong to other people. Like kids in circumstances like this sometimes do, Mick has reacted to his father's lack of principles by setting a higher standard for himself. Mick, starved for normalcy and stability, has only two wishes on his list--to play high school football and for Grace to notice him. The adults in their lives seem to be made up of two different but self-absorbed camps--there are those in positions of authority whose agenda is suspect at best and those who live on the wrong side of the law and only briefly emerge as interested in the welfare of the teens.
The three are thrown together as much by circumstance as by mutual affection. Theirs is a tenuous relationship, often marred by distrust and fear, but they cling to one another (or are forced to stay, in Grace's case) because there really seems to be no other viable option. When they find a body floating in a river, they immediately realize that they can't tell any of the people one would ordinarily report crimes to because those people were even less trustworthy than the adults in their own households. And when one of them anonymously does the right thing anyway, the fallout is complicated (as predicted) and they find themselves fleeing the very people who should have been their safety net.
"Dead Girl Moon" stirs up murky, often conflicting feelings from the first page to the last. I found myself rooting for Grace before I even understood who she was, hoping that she'd make use of that hammer (a chilling scene--you'll have to read the book to understand this), but disturbed by her often self-serving agenda as the story unfolded. The author does a masterful job of creating a compelling, intense story. The ending (which I hesitate to make mention of as I don't want to spoil it) is solidly realistic--not a nice neat wrap up, but one that the reader can walk away from with the feeling that they've invested their time wisely. The writing is solid and earns the right to be the focus of discussion in a book club or English class. It is not easy to strike a balance between literary value and entertaining fiction but Mr. Price has done exactly this.
The three teens wind up living so close to each other they soon become friends. After a visit to a nearby river, they find the body of a young girl who had been murdered. Afraid to tell the police what they suspect about the murderer, they decide to leave it there and lie about what they’d seen. When lies don’t work they run away and, thus, become prime suspects. They don’t know much about who would have killed the girl, but the murderer is sure they know more than they’re telling. He is willing to murder again to keep his secret.
I enjoyed this murder mystery, as the clues often kept me in the dark wondering whodunnit? Readers ages 13 and up will also enjoy it.
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