Laurel Daneau has moved on to a new life, in a new town, but inside she’s still reeling from the loss of her beloved mother and grandmother after Hurricane Katrina washed away their home. Laurel’s new life is going well, with a new best friend, a place on the cheerleading squad and T-Boom, co-captain of the basketball team, for a boyfriend. Yet Laurel is haunted by voices
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Jacqueline Woodson is a leading young adult novelist, and her books are usually autobiographical in nature and poetry in motion. Most recently, her books Another Brooklyn and Brown Girl Dreaming have won multiple awards and fit the above description nicely. Under a Meth Moon is out of this comfort zone because does not appear to be autobiographical or fluid poetry. Rather, Woodson has penned the story of teenaged Laurel Daneau, a victim of Hurricane Katrina who has moved to Iowa with her family
I enjoy Woodson’s writing because of its poetic nature, but I do not enjoy reading about substance abuse. Woodson has touched on this issue before in Tupac and D Foster, but in that book, it seemed that the issue hit closer to home for her. In Meth Moon, Woodson is describing a rural Iowa community where most people pine to leave, a far cry from the bustling streets of Brooklyn. It is little wonder to me that teenagers like Daneau, who is struggling after traumatic events changed her life, would turn to drugs as a way of moving past both the upheaval and boredom.
Woodson’s writing is still beautiful as she describes Daneau and her path to addiction and recovery, but it is not quite as poetic as her other books. It takes courage to write out of ones usual comfort area, so I give Woodson credit for picking a topic that is not easy to write about. Still, it was hard for me to relate to the some of the central, drug-addicted characters. I rate Under a Meth Moon 3.5 stars; 4.5 for Woodson’s writing and 2.5 for the story I was not as captivated by as her other work.