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Written by Sarah Crossan

Crime / Mystery Family / Home Stories Featured Books for 13+ readers Featured Books for Young Adults Gritty Reads Recommended Children's eBooks Romance / Relationship Stories Star Books

LoveReading View on Moonrise

Death row injustice and undying brotherly love in a lyrical, beautiful writing in verse form that will ultimately break your heart in this exploration of family relationships as Ed waits in the death cell in a US prison. Can Joe gather the forgiveness and bravery to visit the prison, or not?

Shortlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2019 | July 2018 Book of the Month | Shortlisted for the YA Book Prize 2018 | Shortlisted for the Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award 2018 | One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | Shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book Award 2017 |

A book to break your heart, quicken your blood and stir your soul by one of the most outstandingly distinctive writers to have emerged in a long, long time.  

New Yorker Joe Moon was only seven when he took the call in which his big brother Ed told him he'd been arrested because “they think I done something real bad”. That “something” led to Ed winding up on death row, convicted of murdering a cop, though he insists he’s innocent. Ten years later, now Ed’s execution date has been set, Joe travels to Texas to say goodbye.

The sublimely-formed structure slips between present and past, recounting the brothers’ troubled upbringing - how their Mom took off; how Aunt Karen took control and decided that Bible study and never mentioning Ed again was the only route to their salvation. While she insists that there’s no point wasting life or money helping someone who wasn’t sorry, Joe sees things differently. “He's my brother,” and that’s really all that matters. He has to see him. Lawyer Al, who’s taken on Ed’s case for free, offers some hope, but time is running out. “It's better to be guilty and rich, I reckon,” Joe remarks, as he experiences the excruciating injustices of a legal system in which the harshness of a sentence depends on where a crime takes place, who the victim was, and who you can afford to pay to represent you (crucially, Ed had no representation when he was first arrested).

Once again, Crossan's free verse form is breathtakingly powerful - always the right word, in the right place, at the right time. Yes, this is harrowing and heartbreaking, but the kindness of the strangers Joe meets in Texas is achingly uplifting, as is the deep bond of love between Joe and Ed. This really is a magnificent feat of writing.

Joanne Owen

Other Info

The Costa Judges say: ‘An exceptional, compelling book for our time – its analysis is devastating but its message is hope.’

Moonrise Synopsis

They think I hurt someone. But I didn't. You hear? Cos people are gonna be telling you all kinds of lies. I need you to know the truth. Joe hasn't seen his brother for ten years, and it's for the most brutal of reasons. Ed is on death row. But now Ed's execution date has been set, and Joe is determined to spend those last weeks with him, no matter what other people think ...


Moonrise Reader Reviews

Some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were lucky enough to read and review this title. Click here to read the full reviews.

  • Hannah Stewart-Hardisty, Age 7 - ' I hope everyone who reads this will enjoy it as much as I did!'
  • Felicity Kerswell, Age 15 - 'I would recommend this book. It makes you understand what it is like to be there. I would of never picked this book up normally but I am so glad I did! Amazing!'
  • Emily Kirkby, Age 14 - 'I did enjoy Moonrise but personally I found the style of writing wasn’t for me. Even though it is a reasonable sized book, because of the lack of words on each page it is actually quite a quick read.'
  • Aimee Sweet, Age 16 - 'It has been a while since I’ve read a book that has kept me so gripped that I couldn’t stop turning the pages, but ‘Moonrise’ did it for me!'
  • Amy Laws, Age 17 - 'Beautiful and extremely emotional, this book was an amazing read.'
  • Emily Walklett, Age 13 - 'If you wish to read a feel-good book then don’t read this!'
  • Humaira Kauser, Age 20 - 'It still amazes me how Sarah Crossan can craft a story with so few words.' 
  • Jasmine Tyler, Age 17 - 'An emotional story.'
  • Emma Bailey, Age 13 - 'A non stop rollercoaster of emotion.'

Moonrise Press Reviews

Devastating ... Any reader with a heart will weep buckets  Sunday Times, Book of the Week

Mistrust, forgiveness and the premeditated stripping away of a future, distorting many other lives in unfathomable ways, are communicated through Crossan's spare, expressive free verse, with understated, heart-breaking clarity  Guardian

Impossible to put down - its agonising and informative plot, along with the poetry of the writing, makes for a powerful story that should appeal to anyone over 13 with a heart and a love for storytelling ... Deep, light, witty and authentic   The Times

An outstanding and daring achievement ... Bravely tackles the issue of capital punishment, putting an all too human face on the protagonists   Irish Examiner

Brilliant ... An affecting story about the power of sibling love ... One of the most important writers of YA fiction around   Times Educational Supplement

Powerful   Irish Times

One of the most thought-provoking, tender stories of the year   IMAGE

Spare and sad and angry, but Moonrise is also laced with nuggets of happiness thanks to how beautifully the brothers relationship is built. This is an important, and strangely lovely, read   Sunday Post

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781408867815
Publication date: 12/07/2018
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781408867808
Publication date: 07/09/2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781408867815
Publication date: 12th July 2018
Author: Sarah Crossan
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 400 pages
Suitable for: 13+ readers, YA readers
Genres: Crime / Mystery, Family / Home Stories, Gritty Reads, Romance / Relationship Stories
Recommendations: eBooks, Reviewed by Children, Star Books

About Sarah Crossan

Sarah Crossan has lived in Dublin, London and New York, and now lives in Hertfordshire. She graduated with a degree in Philosophy and Literature before training as an English and drama teacher at the University of Cambridge.  The Weight of Water and Apple and Rain were both shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal. In 2016, Sarah won the CILIP Carnegie Medal as well as the YA Book Prize, the CBI Book of the Year award and the CLiPPA Poetry Award for her novel, One.   Sarah is the go-to writer of the free verse novel in the UK and ...

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