FIND THE MOON is a contemporary YA of 74,300 words, 267 pages. The “voice” is comparable to Jennifer Brown’s “Val” in HATE LIST; Christie Craig’s protagonist in THIS HEART OF MINE; and Jeff Zentner’s main characters in GOODBYE DAYS and THE SERPENT KING. Although the aforementioned story lines are not identical by any means, they all have authentic, “real” characters, and they are unafraid to confront hard stuff head-on while maintaining a dry wit. Of course, these novels do lack the Nigerian Dwarf goats and their “guard donkeys” in FIND THE MOON, but you can’t have everything [insert wink and smile].
Kylie Briscoe’s mama is not just an addict; she’s also a dealer, and anytime she owes her uplines money, she makes them a “square deal”—she trafficks Kylie for sex—and she’s been doing so since Kylie was in middle school. If she’s lucky enough to be by a window when it happens, Kylie searches for the moon—it soothes her so—but she has no idea why. When the devil himself breaks down their door and it’s abundantly clear that Mama’s once again proposing Kylie as one-half of a “square deal”—even though she promised her that after the last time, she wouldn’t have to do it again—Kylie can’t take it anymore. She cries for help from a neighbor and gets it—but what feels like a rescue is more like a death when fifteen-year-old Kylie loses her beloved three-year-old sister Aliza, the only person who’s ever loved her, and is taken hundreds of miles away to live with the family Mama said was dead.
Now Kylie’s in tiny Patience, Texas with her eccentric potty-mouthed grandmother, ever-patient stargazing grandfather, uncle who reminds her a lot of a cop who terrified her during a drug bust, and a herd of Norwegian Dwarf goats, their “guard donkeys,” and three canine roommates occupying Kylie’s former nursery. The dogs aren’t too sure about sharing “their” bed with Kylie—especially Jake, who Uncle Joey calls “a manatee-canine hybrid.” Ethan, the teen son of Kylie’s English teacher, takes an interest in Kylie and appoints himself her “tour guide” for the tiny two-hallway high school. He warns Kylie to stay away from Casey Tucker, a troubled grieving boy whom Kylie trusts too easily. When the drug charges against Mama are dropped and it appears Kylie might be returned to the Hell her mother subjected her to, Kylie must decide whether to tell the truth—all of it—in order to save herself and her sister.