Rummanah Aasi
  Compared to some of my friends, my childhood was very sheltered. I lived in a region of Uptown in Chicago and lived in an apartment building for 13 years. I didn't have the luxury to play in a playground or go outside by myself. My neighborhood had lots of gang activity and the nearest park was always littered by junkies and drunkards. My playground was the hallway of the apartment floor where my baby brother and I played with kids until someone complained and sent the security guard to our floor to kick us out. We weren't allowed to go anywhere without an adult chaperoning me. I was transported to these childhood memories when I read Danette Vigilante's debut middle grade novel, The Trouble with Half a Moon, which I received an ARC from the publisher and reviewed honestly for you. The Trouble with Half a Moon will be released, according on Amazon, January 6, 2011.

Description: Delilah, known to her friends as Dellie, has felt guilty since the death of her younger brother. She feels that the accident that killed him was her fault. It is not until Dellie strikes up a friendship with Corey, a five year old boy, who has just moved into her housing project building. Corey is often abandoned by his mother and always hunger. Dellie yearns to protect Corey, but will she be successful this time or will she disappoint Corey just like she did with her younger brother?

Review: I really enjoyed reading The Trouble with Half a Moon. The story had depth, realistic situations, and great characters. The book is told by Dellie and it is written in the present tense, which not only sets the scene for the story, but also connect with her emotionally as she struggles to get a hold on her own grief, confusion, and pain. Her love for her baby brother leaps off the page whenever she recounts memories of him. Her guilt is palpable, especially when she has haunting nightmares of her inability to save her brother in various situations. Unlike her parents who seek therapy for their grief, Dellie grieves internally. Her friendship with her best friend Kayla and a promising romance with fellow student Michael (which is very sweet and chaste) holds her afloat above the sea of grief that surrounds her, but even these are not guaranteed as Dellie discovers. When she sees a little boy named Corey in a dangerous family situation, she doesn't hesitate to help and seeks an opportunity to correct her 'wrong' in not saving her brother. While her reasons to save Corey may seem selfish at first, she quickly makes us realize that her love for the little boy is genuine. I couldn't help but root for Dellie as she stumbles, struggles, and overcomes her problems. She is really a great role model for kids.
   Corey is an adorable character that you can't help but love. He is abused by his mother and constantly hungry. Corey's hunger is both literal and figurative. He seeks shelter, warmth, and most of all love whenever he can and develops an instant, strong bond with Dellie. Corey's turbulent home broke my heart. His simple yet direct questions about whether he is worth his mother's time broke my heart and brought tears to my eyes. Without going into graphic details and using dialogue and verbal cues, we witness Corey's abuse and child neglect which sadly is very realistic.
  In addition to Corey, my other favorite secondary character is Miss Shirley, who is Dellie's Jamican neighbor. Miss Shirley is always full of wisdom and experience. She is definitely someone I would want to go to share my own problems, seek comfort, and share a cup of tea.
  Vigilante packs a lot into this short book, which is less than 200 pages. The chapters are short and the story is fast-paced. Despite the predictable plot twists that get resolved too quickly and conveniently, I loved this book because of Dellie's voice and the other secondary characters. This book could have easily become preachy, but the characters prevent that from happening. As a result, The Trouble with Half a Moon is a thought provoking story of grief, forgiveness, and healing. I look forward to reading more by Danette Vigilante in the future. 

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: This title is pretty squeaky clean. There is only a small scene of a middle schooler smoking a cigarette. Recommended for Grades 5 to 8.

If you like this book try: Behind You by Jacqueline Woodson
4 Responses
  1. This sounds very interesting. You don't see too many stories featuring a friendship btw a teen and a small child.

    BTW...I've now read the first 4 volumes of Vampire Knight. I sure like it. I love Zero, although Kaname intrigues me more. I'm curious to see how the characters change. I wonder how many volumes it'll end up being. It's at 11 now I think.

  2. I am so pleased to see someone else reading this book. I also liked it and thought it was genuine, poignant, and a good read. Great review!

  3. Jenny Says:

    Nice review Rummanah, I tend to shy away from anything that becomes too preachy, but it sounds like the characters are wonderful and therefore save the story from being overly preachy. Love when there's still a great story packed into a short number of pages!

  4. Tya Z Says:

    This is a really, really good book. Its my FAVORITE book ever! This is the author's first novel/

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