Moonrise by Sarah Crossan

By Sarah Crossan
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books
ISBN: 9781681193663
Pages: 400
Genre: YA Fiction/Poetry(Verse)


From Carnegie Award-winning author Sarah Crossan comes a poignant and thought-provoking novel that explores life, death, love and forgiveness.

Seventeen-year-old Joe hasn’t seen his brother in ten years. Ed didn’t walk out on the family, not exactly. It’s something more brutal.

Ed’s locked up—on death row.

Now his execution date has been set, and the clock is ticking. Joe is determined to spend those last weeks with his brother, no matter what other people think … and no matter whether Ed committed the crime. But did he? And does it matter, in the end?

This poignant, timely, heartbreaking novel asks big questions: What value do you place on life? What can you forgive? And just how do you say goodbye?

My Thoughts

Have you ever read a book that you pick up and discover you are halfway through before you even manage to stop for a breather? Moonrise is one of those books. Told in verse over the course of 400 pages.

The skinny..

This is a story of life and loss. It follows the family of a convicted murderer sentenced to death and dares to ask, “What about them?” Pending the execution of his older brother Ed, Joe attempts to reconnect with him and use the time they have been given. He wants answers. He wants to understand if they even matter at this point. And more than anything, he wants more time.

“What can we forgive?
If that’s what we choose.” 

What I appreciated..

  • A poignant tale that challenges the reader’s emotions.
  • The narrative provided in verse allows for easier processing of a difficult story.
  • A raw and honest approach that tackles flaws found within the judicial & criminal system and how they affect those of different social and economic standings.
  • The harsh reminder that there is and always will be more than one victim.
  • The nonlinear narration allows for a complete and personal encounter that successfully accomplishes the truth without the need to spoonfeed statistics or arguments. It’s just real and effective.

“Time travel me back.
Let me say good-bye again.
A minute more,
a moment,
a chance to see. . .” 

Challenges some may encounter..

  • This is an emotionally charged read that is not about feel-good moments and happy endings.
  • It will challenge many readers on their current opinions or thoughts.

Moonrise is an affecting look at difficult themes that remain ever relevant but often under-discussed. Evocative and fully immersive, it offers a stirring and unique approach to the subject that is not likely to be forgotten any time soon. I recommend setting aside an hour and reading this one straight through. I cried, a lot.

*I would like to thank Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books & Netgalley for this advanced copy. The above review is my own, unbiased and honest opinion.

tea cup


Pairs well with a nice cup of calming chamomile to cry into.

Grab a Copy: Book Depository

*Disclosure: I use affiliate links and may earn a small commission for purchases made through them. Click here for details.

Happy Reading,

Danielle ❤

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24 thoughts on “Moonrise by Sarah Crossan

  1. You make this sound so beautiful! I often find myself wondering about the families of the accused when another awful story breaks on the news, and how they’re also dealing with a kind of loss. I think it’s lovely that gets tackled in fiction as well. The verse style is a little intimidating but this sounds like the kind of story I’d really like to give a try 🙂 Excellent review, as always! ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t let the verse style in this one intimidate you JJ. It really does nit read as poetry but more as small, sectioned pieces of the timeline. It flows beautifully! And I agree. I am always saddened and appalled at the treatment and lack of concern for families of the accused that we see in the media. It raises a lot of important questions regarding grief and how broad it is.


    1. It does not feel like poetry or YA if I am being honest. The verses read more like small doses of very personal memory. It does not have the rhythm, so while it is in verse, calling it poetry feels like a stretch. This would be a fantastic book to test out reading in verse though Lashaan!

      Liked by 1 person

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