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Blood Moon

Blood Moon

by Lucy Cuthew


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This powerful, timely novel in verse exposes provocative truths about periods, sex, shame, and going viral for all the wrong reasons.

After school one day, Frankie, a lover of physics and astronomy, has her first sexual experience with quiet and gorgeous Benjamin—and gets her period. It’s only blood, they agree. But soon a gruesome meme goes viral, turning an intimate, affectionate afternoon into something sordid, mortifying, and damaging. In the time it takes to swipe a screen, Frankie’s universe implodes. Who can she trust? Not Harriet, her suddenly cruel best friend, and certainly not Benjamin, the only one who knows about the incident. As the online shaming takes on a horrifying life of its own, Frankie begins to wonder: is her real life over?

Author Lucy Cuthew vividly portrays what it is to be a teen today with this fearless and ultimately uplifting novel in verse. Brimming with emotion, the story captures the intensity of friendships, first love, and female desire, while unflinchingly exploring the culture of online and menstrual shaming. Sure to be a conversation starter, Blood Moon is the unforgettable portrait of one girl’s fight to reclaim her reputation and to stand up against a culture that says periods are dirty.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781536215038
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication date: 09/01/2020
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 705,190
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)
Lexile: HL620L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Lucy Cuthew has published more than thirty children’s books, including picture books, educational titles, and nonfiction, and she regularly speaks on the subject of children’s books for the BBC. She was a children’s editor for more than ten years and recently graduated with a master’s in writing for young people from Bath Spa University. Lucy Cuthew lives in Cardiff, Wales, with her husband and young twins.

Read an Excerpt


A Slice of Night

I perch on the bench in the planetarium staff room and take out my phone,
with its smooth black-and-gold star-spangled case, and read all the messages from today while I wait listening to the silent room,
checking it’s empty before I get changed.
There’s a message from Dad and a ton in the chat with the girls called
(the only thing any of us can make).
I will be the one in the white ford behind the trees at five past zero hundred hours. D x
I think he’s being funny,
but I don’t get it.
He’s on another planet.
At least he’s agreed to pick me and Harriet up out back,
and not INSIDE
the ice rink,
like he wanted to.
Just getting ready!!
Remind me why we’re going to an *ICE-RINK* birthday party.
Are we ten again?
Apparently it’s free cuz
Jackson’s on the ice hockey team,
but it’s totally so he can show off to everybody.
He can show off to me.
Apparently he’s amazing.
I thought you liked Lee?
I can multitask.
I’m secretly into it.
I’m openly into it.
It’ll be fun.
What you all wearing?
Shorts and a crop top . . .
And a giant hoodie,
to get past the parental police.
Erm . . . Ley, *ICE* skating . . .
I’m wearing two pairs of leggings and three shirts under my sweater.
Ugh. Changing now.
Warm clothes are so unflattering on me.
At least I’ll be allowed out.
You always look lovely.
Has anyone heard from Frankie today?
I’m here!
Just finishing work.
Tell me when you’re there. XX
I finish typing,
then take off my uniform and let my dress slink down over my not-completely-flat
(but also not-yet-
satisfactory) chest.
A dab of concealer,
a pump of face mist:
I’m good to go.

Jackson Twigger’s
Sweet Sixteenth
at the ice rink.
(Although . . .
Jackson Twigger.
While I wait for the girls,
I scroll through my phone.
Harriet’s posted a photo of herself in our tree house.
#GettingReady #InstaMakeup
#Starlight #StarGazing #NightsOut
She looks really pretty,
her eyes all smoky,
but I know the photo is from ages ago.
It shouldn’t annoy me,
but we’re not getting ready in our tree house tonight,
and I hate when she’s being fake.
Under the photo
Jackson’s replied,
“ur hot.”
Harriet’s written
“thanks babe” and added a winky face.
(Does she actually like him or does she just like flirting?)
We’re here!
Bring it, beeatch.
I pull on my sneakers,
then open the door to the atrium,
where Vidhi is putting away a wooden box of sparkling meteor rocks.
I wish I’d waited here talking to her about astronomy instead of looking at what Harriet’s posting.
“Have a good time,”
Vidhi says.
“You were great today.
You’re clearly really into this.”
“Thanks,” I say,
her compliment blazing inside me incandescently.
“Don’t forget to send me your application for the summer program.
Or you can just bring it next Saturday.
I’ll make sure
Elaine gets it.”
“I won’t forget,” I say,
a flutter of nerves at the thought of her
and the director of this whole place reading my essay.
“Thanks, Vidhi,
see you Saturday.”
“I’ll be rooting for you!”
she says,
                                which means
                                the world to me.
(Vidhi did the exact same summer program when she was sixteen,
and now she’s got a
PhD in Astronomy.
I push open the double doors and breathe in the streetlight night.
Over the buildings,
the crescent moon is a sharp, bright slice of otherworldly light.
I snap a quick picture.
The moon comes out tiny,
all of its majesty lost by my phone’s complete inability to take a picture of something
so far from me.
I know Harriet will find it funny.
Took this and thought of you.
LOL. Get your ass in here.
Skating’s starting soon.

Sweet Sixteen
“Frankie!” Harriet screams,
waving at me,
bracelets jangling,
as I walk into the chilly and unnecessarily brightly lit room.
The music is loud,
and our crowd spills out of a booth near the rental skates.
I climb over the back of the seats and slide in between Harriet and Marie.
Jackson is already strutting in front of the group,
talking loudly,
as though we’re his own personal audience.
There’s Bethany,
                                  Harriet (laughing loudly),
and Charlie.       
Jackson is telling everyone how last weekend he got a new mountain bike on his actual birthday.
Then went out riding and met two girls who were all over him because
            babes love bikes.
Then he tells us how he ended up banging them both as a birthday present.
(Yeah, right.)
He shows us all a picture of him straddling his bike,
with two girls kissing him,
one on each cheek.
“How long do we have to listen to this?”
I mutter to Harriet,

but she doesn’t answer me,
and Jackson is still going,
gesticulating grotesquely with his overmobile groin.
Harriet grins at me and fans her crotch,
then rolls her eyes like she’s about to faint.
I whisper to Marie,
“Is it just me,
or is Jackson disgusting?”
but Marie’s not listening.
Then Jackson looks at me,
Maybe he heard me.
I hope he did.
I don’t care if he hates me.
Harriet’s eyes stay fixed on him.
Then she laughs at something he says,
and throws back her head,
like a wolf howling at the moon.
As she does,
her tilted-up chin leaves a gap and
I notice someone I hadn’t previously seen:
                Benjamin Jones.
He’s sitting between
Dev and Lee
in a leather jacket,
looking explosively hot.
                He turns his eyes to me,
                and right then
                                something physical
                                                                down below.
He’s so good-looking
I can feel the photons bouncing off him and colliding with me.

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