Beneath a Meth Moon: an elegy, by Jacqueline Woodson

Summary: Laurel has moved on to a new life, in a new town, but inside she’s still reeling from the loss of her beloved mother and grandmother after Hurricane Katrina washed away their home. Laurel’s new life is going well, yet Laurel is haunted by voices and memories from her past. When Laurel is introduced to meth, she immediately falls under its spell. But as she becomes alienated from her friends and family, she longs to be whole again. With help from an artist named Moses and her friend Kaylee, she’s able to begin to rewrite her story and start to move on from her addiction.

Nancy Paulsen Books

Find it at WCPL



  1. For such a slim book there were certainly a lot of things going on. That being said, the short and to the point prose used in this book acutely manages to get across a large amount of information in an extremely eloquent way. I would say that the title of this book does not truly reflect what the majority of the book covers, as the book is probably more about dealing with loss than dealing with a meth addiction (which I must say was done extremely tastefully and with the right attitude), and one should not be turned away from this engaging read simply by the title. As was mentioned before, this book covers a variety of themes and moves fairly quickly; unfortunately, while the book gives a very good history and development line for the protagonist, secondary characters are lacking. Attempted character history and development for secondary characters generally seems brief and more the author telling the reader about the character than showing through that characters actions and responses (although this formatting more likely comes from the restrictively short length than anything else). Besides a seaming lack of development for secondary characters, which for me rules this book out of contention for the Printz award, I found this to be an extremely deep book on the front of the protagonist and is thoroughly fetching to read.

  2. The biggest thing I noticed about this book was the emotional language. The book was written as if the main character were telling the story and this was a great representation of how a teen girl would tell a story. The depth of feeling and focus on certain things provides a realistic view from the character. However, I would have liked insight into the other characters and what was going on around the main character. This was entirely her story, and while I appreciated that, she could have brought another dimension to the story by describing other characters more completely and in more detail. As I said, this was an emotional book with emotionally involved descriptions rather than factual descriptions. I enjoyed it as a book, but I doubt its ability to win the Printz without a more solid background.

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