Review: Moonrise – Sarah Crossan

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Genre: YA, contemporary, poetry

Publication Date: September 7th 2017 by Bloomsbury Childrens

Format: eARC from Bloomsbury Publishing Plc via Netgalley

‘They think I hurt someone. 

But I didn’t. You hear?

Coz people are gonna be telling you

all kinds of lies.

I need you to know the truth.’

Joe hasn’t seen his brother for ten years, and it’s for the most brutal of reasons. Ed is on death row.

But now Ed’s execution date has been set, and Joe is determined to spend those last weeks with him, no matter what other people think …

(from goodreads.com)


I can honestly say that I have fallen head over heels for Sarah’s writing. I read One last year, and this year I was thrilled to receive an early copy of Moonrise and it didn’t disappoint. I rarely cry at books (yep I’m heartless which is hilarious because in ‘real life’ I cry at everything but hey), but this brought tears to my eyes (as did One).

I don’t think I’ve read a book that focuses on death row; I know they exist but not really in the YA genre (or none that I’ve found anyway) and it was so fresh and unique. I loved that she chose to narrate it from the perspective of the brother, as it gave a different view of the impact death row can have on someone. So often the media singly focuses on the prisoner and their crimes, but the family goes forgotten or they are simply guilty by association. Here, this idea is explored, and it delves into the effect that family and childhood can have, but also how the family deal with having a member on death row, as the siblings are completely innocent and are just trying to make their way in the world.

There was so much variety in the characters and their situations which was amazing. To see them come together around the central focus of the prison and death row in spite of their differing positions and stories was fascinating, and I really, really loved it. My heart repeatedly broke for Joe and the struggles he went through, and honestly he was just a wonderful, but tragic, character.

As I’ve said, I love Sarah’s writing style so, so much. The poetry isn’t technical, but this story would not be half of what it is with ‘technical’ poetry. It’s simple, but it’s cutting and beautiful and everything it needs to be and more. It perfectly captures moments and feelings without dragging them out or going into too much detail. This is one of those stories that is all about moments and feelings, and this style tells it perfectly.

The pacing is fairly slow, but as I’ve said, this books is about capturing snippets of time and emotion. So, as a result, it doesn’t feel slow at all. I felt completely caught up in everything that was going on; in the stories of all of the characters, in the hope and heartbreak and everything else in between.

I loved this book, and I think that’s clear in this review. Sarah Crossan has become an auto-buy author without a doubt (I bought the rest of hers at YALC last weekend!), simply because of her uniqueness, wonderful storytelling, and ability to make me feel every emotion under the sun and bring tears to my eyes.

Rating: 5 / 5 stars.

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