Initially, all 13-year-old Luna asks is that she be allowed to be a pall bearer for her best friend, Mason.
But it quickly becomes clear that more will be needed if she is to truly serve her friend’s memory. Mason’s mother, Ruby Day, is variously called “feebleminded” and a “retard,” harsh words for a woman who was able to successfully raise her son and who works every day bagging groceries. Unfortunately, Ruby Day isn’t quite able to manage her own home, so Luna moves in with her to provide both companionship and a little supervision. Then a villainous woman, Aunt Sapphire, shows up in her chauffeur-driven limousine with plans to take Ruby back to the Mason Home for the Feebleminded, a place she doesn’t want to go. Luna is just one girl trying to fight for rights that Ruby doesn’t seem to have—unless she can get the townspeople to rally behind their cause. Gently, deliberately paced, Luna’s first-person tale provides a fresh look at mental disabilities and the additional burden of negative attitudes. While Ruby’s disability is apparent, this effort also celebrates her capabilities. Although the primary focus is Luna, her quirky father, supportive mother and boy-crazy older sister are also sufficiently developed to provide additional depth.A quiet coming-of-age tale with heart offers a fresh look at mentally disabled adults. (Fiction. 10-15)