Find the Moon by Beth Fehlbaum
Although this young adult novel addresses very difficult topics, it is ultimately a story of love, hope, and recovery.
By the start of her sophomore year in high school, Kylie Jean Briscoe had been caring for herself and her younger sister, Aliza, the one person she loved most in the world, for years. Their mother, Matilda, was a drug addict and dealt drugs to feed her own habit, and when her suppliers came looking for their money, she'd bargain with sexual favors … from Kylie. But one night, a terrifyingly dangerous man showed up looking for payment, and when Matilda once again offered her daughter, Kylie broke and ran, grabbing her Aliza and escaping through a window with the man in hot pursuit. A neighbor got the drop on the man, and the cops arrived in no time. Kylie thought that she and Aliza were safe; her only worry was that they would be sent to a group home, and she didn't want Aliza to experience that nightmare.
While being treated at the hospital for injuries received during her escape, Kylie is told that she has grandparents in Texas who have been looking for her and Aliza since Kylie was a toddler. Her mother had always claimed it was just the three of them, no other family. Then Aliza's name shows on a missing children's list; her biological father in Louisiana has had custody all these years, and Matilda had taken the girls and run. The social worker tells Kylie the sisters are going to be separated.
Find the Moon by Beth Fehlbaum is an amazing story of triumph over childhood trauma and sexual abuse, resiliency, and hope. Kylie is a remarkable young heroine, surviving the worst situation while still protecting the little sister she loves above all others. This character's voice is raw and genuine, and I felt so much emotion reading her story. I ached for her as her separation from Aliza dragged on and on. The reader also learns throughout the book that many of Kylie's peers in high school have also suffered traumas of their own, each reacting and handling their grief in their own ways, some better than others.
The story is told from Kylie's point of view, so we only get glimpses of what Aliza's recovery looks like with her father and his new family. But Papa and Honey Briscoe are strong characters trying to get their granddaughter back to a decent life. They make mistakes, they struggle at times, and Kylie, who has experienced the greatest betrayals, must learn to trust again. She makes mistakes, too. But for the most part, she is surrounded and supported by good people who love her.
Readers should be aware that this young adult book addresses tough topics: child neglect and abandonment, sexual assault, sexual abuse, sex trafficking, drug use, drug dealing, date rape, animal death, and violence, but the story is ultimately one of hope, love, and recovery. I recommend FIND THE MOON for readers of young adult fiction that handle these critical topics.
I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving an Advanced Review Copy from the author through Lone Star Book Blog Tours.
Young Adult / Social Issues / Family Issues
Publisher: Progressive Rising Phoenix Press
Pages: 298 pages
Expected Publication Date: January 10, 2023