Synopses & Reviews
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.
"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." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"A moving, honest, and hopeful story."
"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." Publishers Weekly, starred review
"This powerful, stripped-down novel chronicles a girl's journey from popular cheerleader to homeless meth user to recovering addict...An outstanding novel that succeeds on every level." School Library Journal, starred review
"A moving, honest, and hopeful story." Kirkus, starred review
"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 Horn Book
"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." The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"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." Booklist
Hurricane Katrina took her mother and granmother. And even though Laurel Daneau has moves on to a new life--one that includes a new best friend, a spot on the cheerleading squad, and dating the co-captain of the football team--she can't get past the pain of that loss. Then her new boyfriend introduces her to meth, and Laurel is instantly seduced by its spell, the way it erases, even if only temporarily, her memories. Soon Laurel is completely hooked, a shell of her former self, desperate to be whole again, but lacking the strength to break free. But with the help of a new friend--and the loyalty of an old one--she is able to rewrite her own story and move on with her own life.
Dreamlike in quality and weaving flashbacks to the hurricane in with Laurel's present-day struggles, this is a stunning novel that readers won't want to miss.
About 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.