Sunday, September 21, 2014

Beneath a Meth Moon

I've been trying to track down Beneath a Meth Moon for awhile; hooray for inter-library loans! I just finished reading an adult zombie novel (Patient Zero), but I really think that a story about a teenager using meth is far scarier than anything related to zombies.

Laurel moved to a new town after the deaths of her mother and grandmother during Hurricane Katrina. When her new boyfriend, T-Boom (girls, never date a guy named T-Boom) introduces her to "moon", she quickly becomes addicted and her life disintegrates. Much of the story is told in a series of flashbacks Laurel has as she sits on a street corner, begging for change. The moon has replaced everything she loved and left her with nothing.

It's hard to find cautionary drug stories that are appropriate for middle school students. So many are graphic, like Ellen Hopkins' novels. Author Jacqueline Woodson strikes the right balance here. She references the physical deterioration of Laurel, with a mother asking, "How could you not have seen your daughter wasting away in front of you? Your daughter's darting eyes, her broken-out face, the tiny burns on her lips and fingers?" But Woodson never gets into the very grim realities of life as a meth head. It is scary enough to be a conversation starter, but still age appropriate.

I haven't always enjoyed Woodson's books in the past. Beneath a Meth Moon is an important book to make available to adolescents; just make sure you are available for discussion after they finish.

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