Author: Sarah Crossan
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children
Release Date: September 7th 2017
“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 goodreads.com
My Thoughts On…
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.
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.
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.
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.