About the book, Find the Moon
- Young Adult / Social Issues / Family Issues
- Publisher: Progressive Rising Phoenix Press
- Pages: 298 pages
- Expected Publication Date: January 10, 2023
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For as long as she can remember, Kylie Briscoe’s been searching for the moon even though she has no idea why it soothes her. Placed in an impossible situation by her mother, Kylie cries for help. It brings rescuers and a new life, but it feels more like a death sentence when she is separated from her three-year-old sister Aliza, the only person Kylie’s ever really loved.
Now she’s in tiny Patience, Texas, with her eccentric potty-mouthed grandmother, ever-patient stargazing grandfather, an uncle who reminds her a lot of a cop who terrified her during a drug bust, a herd of Norwegian Dwarf goats, their “guard donkeys,” and three canine roommates occupying Kylie’s former nursery.
When the authorities make a mistake that could cost her everything, Kylie must decide whether to tell the truth-all of it-in order to save herself and her sister.
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Pre-order a copy of Find the Moon and enter the author’s giveaway! Three lucky winners will win a $50 Amazon Gift Card, signed set of THE PATIENCE TRILOGY, and signed copy of BIG FAT DISASTER. Ends 12/30/2022. Visit Beth’s website for more information and to enter!
About the Author, Beth Fehlbaum
Beth Fehlbaum is the author of the young adult novels Find the Moon, Big Fat Disaster (on the Spirit of Texas-High School Reading List, 2014-2015), Courage in Patience, Hope in Patience (A YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers), and Truth in Patience. With Dr. Matt E. Jaremko, Beth co-wrote the creative nonfiction book, Trauma Recovery: Sessions with Dr. Matt. She is a high school English teacher.
Authenticity, calling out hypocrisy, and finding one’s voice are frequent themes in Beth’s work, and they are absolutely essential themes in her life, as well. Beth has a B.A. in English, minor in secondary education, and an M.Ed. in reading. Beth is in-demand as an author-panelist, having presented/appeared at the Texas Library Association Annual Conference, the American Library Association’s annual conference, YALSA, N.C.T.E./ALAN, and numerous YA book festivals. She’s a member of The Author’s Guild, SCBWI, Romance Writers of America, and the Texas Federation of Teachers. She loves doing school visits and meeting teens, teachers, and librarians!
Beth lives in the woods of East Texas in a house on a slice of family acreage. The home was built by her family over one very hot humid summer, a task she wishes never to repeat again. This sanctuary-of-sorts is lined by pine trees, and the woods are inhabited by raccoons, possums, and feral cats. All of these creatures appear to consider Beth their cat-food-providing goddess. There is no place she would rather be.
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When I was little I believed that my grandmother kept the moon in a glass on her bedside table, so an affinity for the moon is something that resonates with me, and it’s one of the reasons I chose to read Beth Fehlbaum’s latest novel, Find the Moon. I was not disappointed. Like many books that are labeled as Young Adult titles, this book is provocative, but it’s also at times both poignant and profound.
I knew from the description that this would be a hard read – protagonist Kylie’s situation, so aptly described in her opening line, “This year will monumentally suck,” is a grim one. Her mother is unreliable at best, and she’s the primary caregiver for her beloved little sister Aliza. A split-second decision made under great danger and duress changes the course of life for both girls, but the moon is their constant companion, and Kylie reminds her sister that no matter what happens to them, if they can find the moon, they’ll know their connection remains.
The moon continues to be an image as the story unfolds. Presented in first person, from Kylie’s perspective, this is the story of a teenager who has been dealt one of life’s worst hands, but has managed to survive. As we follow her on her journey to the welcoming home of her grandparents stargazing Ollie and motherly, if somewhat foul-mouthed Honey, we see her learn to trust others, and to trust herself. The poignance comes in small moments – when she cries on Honey’s shirt for the first time, when a dog offers comfort, when the English teacher’s son Ethan reaches out to her.
There are moments of profundity as well, the most striking when Ollie rises from the kitchen table, encouraging Kylie to rise as well, and shares with her the secret of Just One Thing: Every day, you have to do just one thing that moves you forward. As someone who would likely have been diagnosed with ADHD if girls had been evaluated for it in the 1970s, this echoed my own rule; no matter how much I have to fight to focus on anything, I do at least one productive thing every day. The Just One Thing concept is a powerful one, because it takes the weight of the world off your shoulders. Anyone can manage one thing in a day.
What I loved about this story was that author Fehlbaum never dropped the moon metaphor. Our favorite near-earth object is a talisman, a friend, and a beacon of hope in this novel, and it never feels hokey or overused. I appreciate that she connected Kylie’s attachment to the moon with Grandpa Ollie’s love of astronomy. Stargazing isn’t just a hobby for him, it’s an intrinsic element of his personality.
I also loved the relationship Ollie and Honey had with each other. Their fond bickering reminded me of my own grandparents, and made them feel all the more real.
Realism is another strong facet of this book. The teenagers in this story – Kylie, Ethan, and their schoolmates – never feel too young or too old. Their dialogue is believable and natural without relying on slang that would make this book feel dated if someone read it a decade from now. That kind of writing is an example of great craft and great care, and I really appreciated the authors effort.
While this book does touch on some heavy subjects the darker elements never overwhelm the reader. Rather, this book sucks you in, and makes you FEEL. It seems so cliched to say, “I laughed, I cried,” but the truth is that there were parts of this novel that did make me laugh, parts that made me yell at the characters, and parts that moved me to tears.
Find the Moon is an emotional, truthful story suitable for “young adults” and all adults.
Goes well with: rabbit-shaped pancakes hopping over bacon fence-posts.
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