Title: Moonrise

Author: Sarah Crossan

Series: N/A

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children

Release Date: September 7th 2017


Four Stars

“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.”

From one-time winner and two-time Carnegie Medal shortlisted author Sarah Crossan, this poignant, stirring, huge-hearted novel asks big questions. What value do you place on life? What can you forgive? And just how do you say goodbye?

– Blurb courtesy of

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

“It was true:
my only brother would be dead within two months,
and there was
I could say or
do to
stop it.”

Joe’s brother has been on death row for the past ten years, convicted of killing a cop, and he’s finally received his execution date. Joe hasn’t seen his brother since he’s been locked up, but with Ed’s time running out his one request is to see Joe so Joe finds himself in Texas.

As his sister struggles to find the money to join Joe, as Al Mitchell begins Ed’s appeal proceedings to overturn the conviction, Joe spends his days in Texas. His mornings are spent slaving over an old truck, in the hopes of getting it to run, until it’s time in the afternoon to visit Ed.

“We aren’t the worst things we did
or the worst things that happened to us.
We’re other stuff too.
We’re the times we made cereal
or watched Buffy the vampire slayer
or helped an old lady off a bus.
We’re the good, the bad, and the stupid, right?”

Their time is running out. There are three stages Al can appeal to on Ed’s behalf, and the execution date he’s been set is ever approaching. There are still so many questions Joe has about his brother, about what happened when and after he was arrested, but he doesn’t know how to ask them to this stranger with his brother’s face. Joe doesn’t know if Ed will win his appeal, will win his freedom after ten years on death row, but he hopes.

Before starting Moonrise I was a little wary as I’d never read a story told solely through poetry before. I wasn’t sure how well it would work or if I’d even enjoy it, but it turns out I didn’t need to worry because Moonrise was an incredibly moving, heart-warming and heartbreaking read. The story revolves around Joe, Ed, and their relationship. As well as seeing Joe’s afternoons with his brother in Texas we see the two growing up before everything went wrong for the family. Moonrise was a beautiful story, and after finishing it I’m definitely adding Sarah Crossan’s other books to my to-read list.

…The Characters

“I need the truth,
whatever shape it comes in.
I need to know Ed trusts me,
that we have no secrets between us,
no bullshit
now we’re so close to the end.”

Joe was only a child when Ed was arrested, when his aunt moved in with them in the wake of the trial, and as such he hasn’t seen his brother in ten years. He isn’t sure what to expect from Ed in prison; is he going to be the same boy who watched Star Wars with him, who promised when he left he’d take Joe with him, or is he going to have been changed by prison into someone Joe doesn’t even recognise. It’s not easy for Joe, he puts his life on hold to be with Ed in what could be his last days, but despite Joe’s worries he never considered denying Ed’s request.

There are a lot of unresolved emotions Joe is struggling with, mainly anger at the world for Ed’s situation. He wants someone he can blame for Ed being on death row but there’s no one so instead he lashes out at people around him. There was also a small romance in this book which I didn’t really like or dislike. On one hand I can understand Joe’s need to reach out to someone to help him forget about the situation he’s found himself in, about Ed’s fate, but on the other hand this was very much a story about Joe and Ed so that’s the relationship Sarah Crossan focused her attention on.

“Angela is speechless. Guilty.
But none of this is her fault.
We’re doing our best,
and if I was the one with the job
then she’d be down here with Ed
instead of me.”

The relationship between Joe and Ed was complicated. Despite how close they were as children there’s a divide between them now and Joe cannot work out how to voice all the questions he has for Ed. He’s scared of Ed’s reaction, and scared of the answers he’ll get from his brother.

Family play a big role in this book. Until his aunt moved in after Ed was arrested Joe didn’t have a stable upbringing. His mum didn’t seem to care about her children so Ed essentially became Joe’s parent, and he was someone Joe looked up to more than anyone else. With Ed gone there was a hole in Joe and Angela’s lives they couldn’t fill, and now they’re faced with the prospect of losing their brother forever. It’s not an easy thing to face but if anything it draws their small family together instead of tearing them apart.

Moonrise was a brilliant read that really made me think about the justice system, the death penalty, and all the people left in its wake, about the situation Joe and Ed are both in. Ed’s guilt or innocence is a question that’s never answered, instead the reader and Joe are left to make their own assumptions. This was an incredible story, and I think the poetry Moonrise was told through made it a more moving read.

What did you think of Moonrise? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

15 thoughts on “Moonrise

  1. This is the first time I’ve heard about this novel! That’s great that you’ve enjoyed the book! It sounds very different from the type of stories that I usually read, both in terms of plot and format. I am curious about the fact that it is told through a series of poems. Not to mention the cover is beautiful. I’ll keep an eye out for this book 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s very much an underrated gem, but I thought it was brilliant and I’d love to see it get a little more recognition. It’s different from the type of books I normally read as well but every so often it can be nice to have change. Overall it’s great, and if you pick this one up I really hope you enjoy it. 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This sounds like a very moving and poignant piece. The fact that it deals with such important issues and leaves both the reader and Joe without closure, is both violent and real in itself.
    Books like these really bring things into perspective: how life’s short, how the world is all messed up, yet we all ought to keep on living.
    Amazing review, Beth ❤ And glad you loved it so much 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh it really is Sophie, and yeah it feels like a very real read as well. Sarah Crossan doesn’t shy away from the realities of the situation Joe and Ed are each in.
      They really do, this was not only a beautiful read but one that made me think about the situation.
      Thanks so much Sophie, and yeah this was just an incredible book all around. 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, and oh if you’re looking for some contemporary reads I’d definitely recommend this book. There’s nothing else like it out there and I loved it.
      Ha, I know the feeling, I’m a sucker for nice covers as well. 🙂


  3. I love stories about brothers, and platonic love. There’s not enough stories about those types of relationships. So this brotherly bond is something I’d love to read! Ever since watching Supernatural, bromance is a new favorite. And to think they were so close, that Ed raised Joe. I must find emotional stability and just read the book because this review was so fabulous!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s definitely not enough, and I love to read them so I was thrilled to discover Moonrise. The bond between Ed and Jo is so well written, and it just made the story more moving in a way.
      Oh I love Supernatural as well, and I’d definitely recommend this book if you’re looking for a strong brotherly relationship. I hope you enjoy it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. OH lovely review, Beth! It is so curious that this book is told through poetry – I have no idea how I’d feel reading this, it sounds a bit strange at first, especially since I am not used to reading poetry. BUT it sounds like a really moving and important book for sure. I’ll have to think about it 🙂 thank you for sharing this! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Marie! 🙂 This was an incredible book, and I think the fact that it was told through poetry made it all the more moving in a way. I thought I’d feel a little strange reading this at first, but then I started Moonrise and I didn’t have any problem getting into this book at all. 🙂
      If you do pick this one up I really hope you enjoy it Marie, and that’s all right! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, I think it’s so cool that this book is told in poetry! I personally find poetry beautiful and absolutely stunning to read (if done right), and with a topic like this, I bet it was written gorgeously. The blurb has me so intrigued, gosh! I think I’ve heard of Sarah Crossan’s other poetry books being really heartbreaking and poignant, so I’ll definitely have to check this one out. Great review! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This really was written gorgeously, and I think it was done right as well so it was such a beautiful and stunning story, like you said. 🙂 Yeah I’ve heard good things about Sarah Crossan’s other books, One I think it’s called. Either way if it’s anything like Moonrise I really need to check it out. Also I hope you enjoy Moonrise if you pick it up May.
      Thanks! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Why have I never heard of this one til’ now?!?! 😩 I added it to my More immediate TBR, I’m so intrigued by the format & can totally understand your initial hesitations. Wonderful review Beth! Thank you for sharing 😃

    Liked by 1 person

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