Thursday, September 13, 2012

Favourite YA of the Year? Maybe! UNDER THE MOON by Deborah Kerbel - REVIEW

TITLE: Under the Moon

AUTHOR: Deborah Kerbel

RELEASE DATE: January 2012


PUBLISHER: Cormorant Books




A girl who's lost her sleep...
A boy who's lost his dreams...
And twenty-six nights that change their lives.
Fifteen-year-old Lily MacArthur has trouble sleeping. In fact, she doesn't sleep at all--at least, not since the death of her aunt. As the days turn into weeks, Lily becomes convinced that death-by-exhaustion is around the corner and searches the moonlit nights for a way to save herself from the long, dark hours of solitude.

Can her new friend, Ben, help her find her sleep? Or do secrets from Ben's past mean that he also needs saving? (From GOODREADS)

EXPECTATIONS: High expectations. I was pleasantly surprised by Kerbel's Mackenzie Lost and Found. After reading it, I knew I had to read the rest of her stuff...both published and not-yet-published.

MARKET/GENRE: Young Adult/Contemporary (This is definitely a cross-over...would appeal to adults)


15-year-old Lily MacArthur is not sleeping. Ever since her eccentric romance novel writing Aunt Su passed away, she's been wide-eyed and counting the days left of her existence. Lily knows humans can only live so long without sleep (she's Googled it). While the clock of doom counts down her dwindling seconds, Lily makes the most of her time left on Earth.

Lily is such an adorable character. She's saucy and introverted and looking for wonder. Her Aunt Su is a pivotal character in her life--the polar opposite of Lily's rigid domineering mother. Su wore muumuus, smoked (and grew her own) pot in her segregated cabin in the woods. She was worldly and she had a shelf full of best-selling romance novels under her belt to prove it. Clearly, Aunt Su is who Lily strives to be. She wants to be nothing like her control-freak mother, whom she not so endearingly refers to as General MacArthur.

Lily’s sleepless nights lead her to wandering the streets of her small town. And this leads her directly to the all-night fry place's drive-thu window and the new boy in town. She is immediately drawn to the morose Ben Matthews, who has a mystery she’s willing to get to the bottom of. Kerbel did a great job with the emotional landscape of this Ben character. He brushes the line of inappropriateness so often, it leaves the reader waiting to like him, but ultimately cautious. With whatever it is he’s going through clearly weighing deeply on his soul, Ben tends towards meanness when speaking to Lily. Kerbel set this up PERFECTLY because the reader is—by the time Ben shows up—completely invested in Lily. We are protective of her, as much as we are excited for her.

So, we have an interesting storyline that pulls us along at a great pace. Lily’s aunt dies—Lily stops sleeping and knows that eventually this could kill her—Lily meets the new town hottie before anybody else gets a chance to—Lily’s mother is a control-freak with a daughter who seems on the cusp of rampant disorder. These are all intriguing storylines. Throw in the fact Aunt Su willed everything she owned to Lily, the fact that new social movement—a movement Lily is none to impressed with—attempts to bring Lily into its fold and the dark tale of loss spiraling out behind Ben that is about to put him in very real and immediate peril and you have a fantastic novel in Under the Moon!

Kerbel establishes a wonderful character in Lily…one the reader is compelled to love. And then she takes her (and the reader) on a wonderfully quirky adventure. I won’t say this novel is perfect—there are no perfect novels—but I will tell you I loved it. I couldn’t put it down. There are a couple coincidences in the story that are a bit timely…but they are EASILY forgivable. Lily is a character you will remember for a long time after reading her story. Which is what I think you should do right now—you’ll have to find out for yourself if things work out for her. After breaking the world record for staying awake longer than the last person who died of sleeplessness, there’s not a lot of options for Lily. Kerbel does a phenomenal job of making Lily’s future look bright while simultaneously keeping her perilously awake and in danger of dying. Enjoy the read!

EXPECTATION: We don't pick our favourite books...we just look for a good story and hope--with every book we pick up--that we have found one. To date, Under the Moon is my pick for favourite YA of 2012. Satisfied! 100% Awaiting the next Kerbel!

SIZE: 5 (1/2)

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