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Review: Beneath a Meth Moon by Jacqueline Woodson

Title: Beneath a Meth Moon
Author: Jacqueline Woodson
Year Published: 2012

Genre: YA fiction
Pages: 182
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Geography Connection (my Google Reading map): USA (Mississippi and Iowa)

FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my school library

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): Laurel would do anything to turn back time--to tell her mother and grandmother not to stay home near the beach with a hurricane coming. To say no when her boyfriend, T-Boom, the co-captain of the basketball team, offers her that first hit of moon--the drug that makes her feel bigger than all she's lost. To have been there for her little brother and her best friend, Kaylee, when they needed her, instead of chasing the moon. All she can do is move forward now. And only she can decide whether to face the pain and joy that is part of living, or follow the moon to numbness and probably death. Only she can decide to choose to be there for her family and friends--or give them another thing to grieve.

Review: Moon. Meth. Methamphetamine. Whatever name one uses, the results are the same: disaster for the user and their family and friends. This is made extremely clear in Jacqueline Woodson's latest novel as she explores what happens when a "good kid" makes a bad choice. Meth is so addictive and acts so quickly that Laurel seems to have no choice but to beg for money to feed her addiction.

After losing her mother and grandmother in Hurricane Katrina Laurel, her dad and her baby brother move first to Jackson, Mississippi then a town called Galilee where they settle in and try to move on. Moving on for Laurel includes making a new friend and joining the cheerleading squad in high school. It all seems great when one of the hottest basketball players chooses her. Unfortunately, he also chooses meth.

In short chapters alternating between Laurel's memories of her past and her current situation we hear Laurel's thoughts, conversations, and actions as she spirals out of control. The interesting thing is that her view of it all is innocent and calm through a crazy experience. I liked the writing, the characters and feel that this is a story well told.

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