Moonrise encapsulates the decline of the Moon family after the eldest brother, Ed, is incarcerated for allegedly killing a police officer.
Joe, Ed’s 17-year-old brother, makes the trek from New Jersey to Wakeling, Texas, where he visits his brother on death row before his execution. As the brothers haven’t seen each other in 10 years, their exchanges are as intense as they are endearing. As Joe waits and hopes that his brother’s fate will be changed, he meets witty Nell, a waitress in a Texas diner, and she brings temporary relief to his lonely and grief-stricken state. But a surprise encounter with a member of Nell’s family could have devastating consequences for the budding romance. This is a brutally emotional novel in verse that explores the complexity of the American justice system, the death penalty, and the irreparable toll taken on the families of loved ones who are in the penal system. The characters in this story are all white, but issues of race and class are lightly touched upon—particularly the severity of punishment for individuals accused of killing white law enforcement officers.
Crossan’s (We Come Apart, 2017, etc.) eloquent usage of language in this deeply affecting novel puts readers right at the heart of a very sensitive and timely story. (Novel in verse. 14-18)