Author(s): Sarah Crossan
With little money or support, 17-yer-old Joe Moon travels to Texas to help the older brother he barely knows through his last few weeks before being executed for murder.
Carnegie Medalist Crossan ("One") pens a poignant novel about one of the most divisive issues of our time.
Joe's brother Ed was convicted of murdering a police officer when Joe was seven; on death row in a Texas prison, Ed is given a date for his execution and Joe heads south to spend these last few weeks with the brother he hasn't see in ten years. With little initial family support, Joe has to figure out how to be there for his brother and how to deal with a world in which his brother's life means so little.
Moonrise is a really bold exploration of the effects of prison and state sanctioned executions on the families of those involved. By looking beyond guilt and innocence, highlighting the power structures involved, and focussing on the repercussions for those supposedly on the fringes, Crossan raises very important questions about justice and the prison system. Although Moonrise deals specifically with the death penalty in the US, the emotional journey Joe travels will not be unfamiliar for many NZ teenagers.
I both cried and got angry reading this; the pared back nature of the verse novel takes you right into the emotional heart of the story. No words are wasted and each little scene, each little gesture, glance, and sarcastic comment is necessary. Told in Crossan's trademark verse, for which she won the Carnegie medal in 2016, it's a really accessible text - both the subject matter and the style will appeal to more reluctant readers. Before they know it they'll be a good chunk of the way in and totally hooked!
Highly recommended for 14+
Sarah Crossan has lived in Dublin, London and New York, and now lives in Hertfordshire. She graduated with a degree in philosophy and literature before training as an English and drama teacher at Cambridge University. Since completing a masters in creative writing, she has been working to promote creative writing in schools. http://www.sarahcrossan.com/ @SarahCrossan