Beneath a Meth Moon

( 9 )

Overview

Laurel Daneau has moved on to a new life, in a new town, but inside she's still reeling from the loss of her beloved mother and grandmother after Hurricane Katrina washed away their home. Laurel's new life is going well, with a new best friend, a place on the cheerleading squad and T-Boom, co-captain of the basketball team, for a boyfriend. Yet Laurel is haunted by voices and memories from her past.

When T-Boom introduces Laurel to meth, she immediately falls under its spell, ...

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Overview

Laurel Daneau has moved on to a new life, in a new town, but inside she's still reeling from the loss of her beloved mother and grandmother after Hurricane Katrina washed away their home. Laurel's new life is going well, with a new best friend, a place on the cheerleading squad and T-Boom, co-captain of the basketball team, for a boyfriend. Yet Laurel is haunted by voices and memories from her past.

When T-Boom introduces Laurel to meth, she immediately falls under its spell, loving the way it erases, even if only briefly, her past. But as she becomes alienated from her friends and family, she becomes a shell of her former self, and longs to be whole again. With help from an artist named Moses and her friend Kaylee, she's able to begin to rewrite her story and start to move on from her addiction.

Incorporating Laurel's bittersweet memories of life before and during the hurricane, this is a stunning novel by one of our finest writers. Jacqueline Woodson's haunting - but ultimately hopeful - story is beautifully told and one readers will not want to miss.

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  • Beneath a Meth Moon
    Beneath a Meth Moon  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Fifteen-year-old ex-meth addict Laurel is writing an “elegy to the past” in an attempt to recover her life. After her mother and grandmother die in Hurricane Katrina, Laurel, her father, and her younger brother, Jesse Jr., move from their temporary new home in Jackson, Miss., to Galilee, Iowa, for a fresh start. Laurel makes a new friend, joins the cheerleading squad, and begins dating star athlete T-Boom, but she is still bereft over her lost family. When T-Boom offers her a taste of “the moon” (meth), her sadness evaporates. “Thing about the moon is—it takes you deeper,” Laurel says. “Deeper than you’d go on your own.” She quickly becomes addicted, neglects her friends and family, and winds up begging on the street in pursuit of more. Woodson’s (Peace, Locomotion) dreamlike story is constructed of Laurel’s patchy memories peppered with the voices of expertly sketched characters and rich with writerly observations. While readers know that Laurel survives, Woodson maintains tension throughout, making it abundantly clear how easy it is to succumb to meth and how difficult it is to recover from it. Ages 12–up. (Feb.)
The Horn Book
Woodson takes us on the dark journey of addiction, mimicking the slow, hazy spell of drug use with the lull of her poetic prose. . . . Laurel's descent is brutally honest. . . . An intimate and compelling story of survival.
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
As accurate as it is heartbreaking; readers will be deeply moved . . . they'll sympathize with [Laurel's] desire to find some way to feel better. . . . Readers looking to understand the attraction of a destructive substance will get a glimmer of understanding.
Booklist
Will not disappoint readers. . . . Ends on a hopeful note: perhaps it is possible to write pain 'into the past and leave some of it there,' and reimagine a future.
ALAN Review - Barbara A. Ward
Life brightens briefly for Laurel once her family moves from Jackson, Mississippi, to the small Midwest town of Galilee. She's a cheerleader and dating the high school's basketball star. But T-Boom introduces her to meth, and Laurel quickly comes to crave its effects. Meth helps her forget the family she left behind in August 2005 before Hurricane Katrina's arrival. But it also makes her forget the things that matter. She ends up on the street, begging for change to pay for her meth and becoming invisible to passersby. Laurel's poignant story is told in a series of remembrances of her once-happy life and the losses she has experienced. While her recovery is uncertain, clearly she is making the effort, thanks to supportive family and friends like street artist Moses. This is a gripping, honest account of life's pleasures and pains and what it takes to survive. Reviewer: Barbara A. Ward
Children's Literature - Kathleen Monks
"With the moon inside of me, the walk wouldn't be cold, the night wouldn't be dark." These are the words of young Laurel, a fifteen-year-old meth addict. Laurel turns to "the moon," her word for meth, as a method for coping with the pain of losing her mother and grandmother to hurricane Katrina. In Woodson's beautiful and tragic novel, we follow Laurel's path from cheerleader to meth addict to struggling survivor. Aided by a realistic tone and masterful prose, Woodson connects with her readers and keeps them engaged. Her heart-wrenching depiction of drug addiction seen through the eyes of an American teenager is poignant. Written in the form of a personal journal, this young adult novel is divided into sections, most frequently spanning three to ten pages. Young readers and adults will be drawn to the books ability to communicate the unflinchingly honest—and all too common—path of youth drug addiction as well as the arduous journey to reclaim a drug free life. Woodson's book would be valuable as a discussion starter at home and in classrooms. For these reasons, this book would be an excellent choice for any collection that serves young adults. Reviewer: Kathleen Monks
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—This powerful, stripped-down novel chronicles a girl's journey from popular cheerleader to homeless meth user to recovering addict. When her mother and grandmother perish in Hurricane Katrina, Laurel's idyllic childhood in Pass Christian, MS, abruptly ends. After living with relatives for two years, she relocates to Iowa with her father and younger brother. There, she falls in love with basketball co-captain T-Boom, who introduces her to meth, or "moon." The novel's real romance is between Laurel and the drug; the euphoria she experiences while high fills a void inside her and helps her forget all she has lost. Her other relationships crumble away as addiction takes over her life. A poignant friendship with a street artist reawakens Laurel's desire for human connections and propels her toward recovery. The narrative, which is full of rich, sensory images, jumps between the present day, Laurel's childhood memories, and scenes from rehab, giving the story a dreamlike quality. Though this is a gentler read, it would be a natural choice for fans of Go Ask Alice (Prentice Hall, 1971) or Ellen Hopkins's Crank (S & S, 2004). An outstanding novel that succeeds on every level.—Amy Pickett, Ridley High School, Folsom, PA
Kirkus Reviews
Fifteen-year-old Laurel attempts to understand and move past a year of her life when addiction to methamphetamine nearly cost her family and her life. Laurel and her family suffered devastating loss when her mother and grandmother were victims of a terrible storm (probably Katrina, from the timeline) in Pass Christian, Miss. Finally, they seem to be settling into a new life, in a new town, with new friends. Laurel joins the cheerleading squad and catches the eye of the school's star athlete. Unfortunately, he is a methamphetamine, or "moon," user. Before long, she joins him and begins a downward spiral that results in painful estrangement from all she loves. Life on the streets brings her into the path of Moses, who has known his own loss and uses his artistic ability to pay tribute to young people who are caught in the drug snare. Margaret A. Edwards Award–winner Woodson crafts a story of powerful emotional intensity through her poignant portrayal of a young woman lost and in pain. The depiction of small-town life, with its Dollar Store, Wal-Mart and limited economic opportunities adds texture and authenticity. This is beautifully written, with clear prose that honors the story it tells: "Hard not to think about not deserving this kind of beauty, this kind of cold. This…this clarity." Most of all, it is populated with fully realized characters who struggle to make sense of tragedy. Laurel's friend Kaylee urges her to "[w]rite an elegy to the past….and move on." A moving, honest and hopeful story. (Fiction. 14 & up)
Mary Quattlebaum
Though Woodson doesn't stint on the grim details of Laurel's swift addiction…and difficult recovery…this powerful story is less a cautionary tale than one of courage, the courage to face the past, integrate emotional pain and rectify mistakes.
—The Washington Post
Booklist
"Will not disappoint readers. . . . Ends on a hopeful note: perhaps it is possible to write pain 'into the past and leave some of it there,' and reimagine a future."
The Horn Book
"Woodson takes us on the dark journey of addiction, mimicking the slow, hazy spell of drug use with the lull of her poetic prose. . . . Laurel's descent is brutally honest. . . . An intimate and compelling story of survival."
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"As accurate as it is heartbreaking; readers will be deeply moved . . . they'll sympathize with [Laurel's] desire to find some way to feel better. . . . Readers looking to understand the attraction of a destructive substance will get a glimmer of understanding."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399252501
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 2/2/2012
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 341,515
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.76 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

Born on February 12th in Columbus, Ohio, Jacqueline Woodson grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, and Brooklyn, New York and graduated from college with a B.A. in English. She now writes full-time and has recently received the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults. Her other awards include a Newbery Honor, two Coretta Scott King awards, two National Book Award finalists, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Although she spends most of her time writing, Woodson also enjoys reading the works of emerging writers and encouraging young people to write, spending time with her friends and her family, and sewing. Jacqueline Woodson currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 9 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 3, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Very Emotional Short Read

    Beneath A Meth Moon moves back and forth through time and is told by the main character, Laurel. She’s lost both her mother and grandmother in Hurricane Katrina and moves from her home to a new town with her father and little brother. Laurel is a writer and was encouraged by her grandmother to keep writing everything down and this encouragement continues when she meets a new friend, Kaylee. The words aren’t enough though and in her despair she finds solace in a new boyfriend and with him comes his addiction and supply of meth. She quickly becomes addicted as well and ends up living on the streets due to her addiction. There she meets Moses, an artist, who knows just what Laurel is up to and calls her on it, letting her know that she is going to end up dead if she continues on this way.

    This book is written as an elegy, which I have never read before. I read this quickly and in one evening, it is short and the words are printed in a large font on the pages. Even if it weren’t formatted that way, I still would have finished it quickly as it was truly engrossing. It is a very emotional story that deals with loss and being lost and not knowing how to process the feelings. The author has handled all of these thoughts and feelings wonderfully and made it very easy to relate to what Laurel is going through. Tears flowed again and again as I was reading and I was surprised that a short read could be so emotional and compelling. I can see this book being something teachers and parents will want their children to read as well due to the life lesson learned and the horrible reality of addiction.

    Reviewed by Jessica for Book Sake.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2014

    Good book

    I started reading this book and I couldnt put it down..really great book

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2014

    Simply Amazing

    Simply Amazing

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2013

    Idiott to Frank

    We are so smart... Come to 'party' res 1 and poop on more people!!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2013

    Frank

    Yup here yuo go

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 7, 2013

    Beneath a Meth Moon was a very well written book that will just

    Beneath a Meth Moon was a very well written book that will just suck you into the story. While reading about Laurel whose mother and 
    grandmother were killed in hurricane Katrina, you feel like you could be one of the students who know her. It makes you feel like a part 
    of it especially when you are growing up with drug pressures today like Laurel, when T-Boom gets her hooked on the "moon",  you 
     may know what it's like to be offered. Her new friend Kaylee has met her long enough to know her without the moon, long enough to 
    have to deal with the addiction and separation from life Laurel is doing to herself. Jacqueline Woodson has somewhere found the perfect
     line between the edge of a depressing addiction with many realistic connections. The book was a very quick read, not because it was
    short, but because i didn't want to put it down within the two days i read it in. You will have to pick up this book for yourself to see what
    happens to Laurel and if she ever pieces her life back together.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 4, 2012

    Beneath a meth moon is a story about a teenager named Laurel who

    Beneath a meth moon is a story about a teenager named Laurel who had everything. One day news arrives that there is a storm headed towards where they live. Laurels grandmother tells her that her father is going to take Laurel and her little brother up to Jackson just to make sure that they're safe. Laurel refuses to go when she finds out that her grandmother and mother are staying. They convince Laurel to go to Jackson with her father by telling her that if the storm gets bad they'll go in Walmart for safety. New reaches Laurel that both her mohermother and grandmother had died in

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2012

    Sounds intresting

    I must read it

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 9, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Beneath A Meth Moon is a haunting and realistic portrayal of the

    Beneath A Meth Moon is a haunting and realistic portrayal of the horrible addiction that is meth. Written in the first person through the main character's eyes, Laurel is only fifteen when she becomes hooked on this drug that helps her escape the past. She struggles with the fact that her mother and grandmother are no longer living thanks to the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

    I think this novel was written so beautifully and powerfully. I really felt for Laurel and the pain that she was internalizing. Instead of dealing with the past head on, she found it easier to escape that emotional pain by numbing herself with the meth. She calls the addicting substance 'the moon' because it makes her fly as high as the moon itself.

    I really loved Moses. I thought he was a great character in the story and really helped Laurel find the proper help. He really helped her see that once you're dead, you're gone forever, and that drugs only shorten your life.

    Even though it is a rather short novel (182 pages), I found every page brimming with emotion and stark detail. I was very impressed by her writing and can't wait to read the rest of her books.

    Definitely one of the best books written so far this year.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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