Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Trouble With Half A Moon by Danette Vigilante

Thirteen year old Dellie lives with the guilt that her little brother's death was her fault. Her mother cries all the time and because she wants Dellie to stay safe, she keeps her inside as much as she can. It doesn't matter that Dellie longs to go outside to be like other girls or that there's a boy she likes and he likes her too. All that matters to her mother is that she's safe at home. So, Dellie has no choice but to watch the world of her housing project through her second story window. 
Things start to change soon after new neighbors move in on the first floor. Trouble like this has never happened in Dellie's building before. Now there are men fighting on the stoop, gunshots echoing through the night and Corey, a hungry and abused five year old boy knocking on her door looking for something to eat. Corey reminds Dellie of her brother and even though their friendship is dangerous, she wonders if this time, she'll be able to do what needs to be done. Will she be able to save Corey?
Despite its heavy topics of grief, loss, and urban life in the streets of Brooklyn’s Projects, Vigilante leaves plenty of room for development and discovery as she weaves a light, but impelling coming-of-age story.
Although Dellie’s situations are mainly impacted from her sometimes gritty surroundings, middle graders will connect with Dellie as she comes to peace with the death of her little brother and, as she experiences the many new things that also come with growing older. Through a simple yet thought-provoking dialogue, this debut author expresses what it feels like to loose the ones you love and to remember to have faith, even if we only see half of what is really there.

This is why I love (and enjoy) reading middle grade books so much. You get a wonderful in-depth and complex story in less than 200 pages yet still manage take away just as much from it as a YA or adult novel. I also liked the fact that Delli’s environment, race, and age didn’t overpower one or the other and were all presented equally throughout the book. Many times authors let only one of these details play the dominate role in showcasing their story. The Trouble With Half a Moon however, lets you flow with a variety of characters as Vigilante shows bits and pieces of Dellie’s neighborhood without loosing sight of the true message of the story. Overall, excellent writing and a great, enjoyable book for preteens.
Recommendation: Highly recommend. Even though it might be marketed towards young adults, I think middle graders would enjoy it much more. This would also be a very nice addition to a classroom library. Lots of good discussion topics! Ages 11+

Content: PG for some violence. More details!

The Last Straw: A quote from pg. 70
She [Miss Shirley] walks over to the moon and uses her fingers to trace where the other half should be. "Just because we cannot see this half of the moon doesn't mean it's not there," she says, studying me. "You have to believe it's there. Faith young one," she says...

|Pages: 178|Published: Jan. 2011|Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons|
|Genre: Contemporary fiction, coming-of-age, family drama, friendship, loss, grief|
|Content: PG|Age Group: Middle grade/YA ages 11+|Price: $16.99|
|Enjoyed It: 4/5|Content Rating: 5/5|Cover: 4/5|
|Overall: 5/5|


Helen's Book Blog said...

I really enjoyed this one, too. I think the author dealt with the issues well, not making them too dramatic but also not belittling them. I thought the main character was a strong girl, which I liked as well

Anonymous said...

I don't think I've seen a review for this one yet. It sounds like a great read!

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