FIND THE MOON
Publisher: Progressive Rising Phoenix Press
Expected Publication Date: January 10, 2023
Pages: 298 pages
For as long as she can remember, Kylie Briscoe’s been searching for the moon even though she has no idea why it soothes her. Placed in an impossible situation by her mother, Kylie cries for help. It brings rescuers and a new life, but it feels more like a death sentence when she is separated from her three-year-old sister Aliza, the only person Kylie’s ever really loved.
Now she’s in tiny Patience, Texas, with her eccentric potty-mouthed grandmother, ever-patient stargazing grandfather, an uncle who reminds her a lot of a cop who terrified her during a drug bust, a herd of Norwegian Dwarf goats, their “guard donkeys,” and three canine roommates occupying Kylie’s former nursery.
When the authorities make a mistake that could cost her everything, Kylie must decide whether to tell the truth-all of it-in order to save herself and her sister.
Clueless Gent’s Rating for Find the Moon
Find the Moon is a story that takes the reader from the blackness of unimaginable child abuse to the light of hope and love. I’ve never read a novel quite like it, and I loved it!
In my mind, child abuse is among the worst evils in the plethora of evils available to mankind. But this author took that beast by the horns and shaped it into a story that is quite gutsy and also (and I hate saying this) too believable.
The entire story is told in the first person POV by the protagonist, Kylie – a high schooler. I must admit that of all the characters I’ve come across in my love of fiction, Kylie is likely the most attitudinal. I think the author had to make Kylie that way to allow an escape from the grim darkness she lives in at the beginning of the story.
Kylie gets caught up in a “transaction” between her mom and her mother’s drug dealer’s collector/enforcer. Rather than face another man taking whatever’s left of her innocence, Kylie grabs her baby sister and escapes the situation. Once her mother and the man are arrested and Kylie and her sister spend a few days in the hospital, Kylie’s sister is sent to live with her father, and Kylie is sent to live with her grandparents on their farm. The remainder of the story follows Kylie’s period of adjustment to a new life, as she struggles with trust and has a difficult time accepting the love her grandparents provide.
First, I think Kylie is an incredible character. She has so much in her closet of secrets that it’s hard to keep that door closed. That transformation of Kylie, however, is really what this story is all about, and it’s also why I find it so endearing.
I can’t imagine the horrors that Kylie had to face as a young teen, and I really don’t know how the young adults this story is marketed to will feel about them. I think the author did a good thing by including a lot of scenes at Kylie’s new high school. I’m sure potential readers will relate to that. I’m also sure that the struggles Kylie encounters are real and do exist, in some form, in today’s schools.
After the tragic opening scene, the author pretty much builds the story around Kylie’s character arc. It’s huge! It’s filled with attitude, reluctance, acceptance, distrust, and yet the author keeps that arc moving along and evolving until Kylie’s true self breaks through. That process really drew me into the story and elicited waves of empathy for not only Kylie, but also her grandparents and others who try to help her.
The dialogue is colorful at times, but I personally didn’t find it offensive. Rather, I considered it realistic to the situation. Further, the author added only a gentle flavor of Texas vernacular without going overboard. Another good thing.
This particular author is an expert at observing the little things. For instance, in one scenes this happens: “Honey nods, pats my leg, thinks she slides the crumpled tissue into her pocket but misses, and the tissue floats to the floor.” I consider that—the tissue falling—the kind of storytelling detail that enhances the believability of the story.
Even with the darkness of the subject matter, the author interjects some subtle humor – probably to help with balance. For instance, in one scene Kylie is flipping through TV channels and comes across Dr. Phil with a “somebody-farted-look” on his face. I also enjoyed how Kylie described the “Welcome Wagon” of dogs that greeted her when she arrived on the farm: “There’s a black lab—really skinny—who has all four legs but balances on three; a dog with the stumpy legs and feet of a basset hound but the head and coloring of a yellow lab; and an enormous brindle-coated pooch with one blue eye and one brown one.” The attention to detail is wonderful!
I could probably gush about my enjoyment of this story for many more paragraphs, but I’m afraid I’d give some of it away. Besides, I’m sure you get the point of my review: READ IT! Experience how darkness gives way to light for at least one Texas teenager. It’s worth it.
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