Moonrise

Author: Sarah Crossan

I literally wept whilst reading this book and am feeling impacted by it still now. It is a powerful, stunning piece of writing that asks big questions and really ‘packs a punch’. It was published by Bloomsbury in 2017 and is the first novel I have read that is written in free verse. I loved it and would highly recommend but for teens and older only.

Moonrise follows the relationships and impact of a young man facing execution, on death row, for a murder he denies committing. Ed has been in prison for 10 years and has finally received his execution date; the book focuses on his younger brother, Joe, as he relocates to the same town as the prison, to reconnect with Ed and try to appeal against his death.

Sarah Crossan deals with an incredibly emotive topic with empathy, passion and authenticity – a full spectrum of feelings is explored as Joe battles through nuances of love, anger, resentment, confusion, loss and identity. His struggle for survival mirrors that of Ed and their sibling relationship is tender despite the challenging and strained circumstances.

The free verse style of writing added to the impact for me – even the look of the words on each page feels carefully chosen and effective. It has created very lasting images in my mind and I felt a real connection with the characters – even those I didn’t particularly like.

Following the story is some author notes that provide a context for the story and a grounding in reality – it was helpful to explore the author’s inspiration and motivation for writing the book.

I certainly wouldn’t use this book with Primary aged children but imagine it could be used well in some circumstances at secondary and is a highly recommended read for adults!

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