FIND THE MOON
By Beth Fehlbaum
For as long as she can remember, Kylie Briscoe’s been searching for the moon even though she has no idea why it soothes her. Placed in an impossible situation by her mother, Kylie cries for help. It brings rescuers and a new life, but it feels more like a death sentence when she is separated from her three-year-old sister Aliza, the only person Kylie’s ever really loved.
She and Aliza both make it to safety, but they soon find themselves separated – Aliza to her biological father, Kylie to the grandparents she doesn’t remember. Kylie struggles with the loss of Aliza’s presence, the only person who’s meant anything to her. Taking care of her sister is all she’s known, and now she can’t even do that.
The moon has always been Kylie’s source of solace. Through that, she finds a connection with her grandfather, who also has a passion for astronomy and who taught Kylie to look for the moon when she was very young. Bit by bit, new relationships start to take root in Kylie’s heart. A new family starts to grow, and she begins to heal.
Beth Fehlbaum tells the story from Kylie’s first-person perspective, and she has the voice of a surly, emotionally wrecked teenager just about down pat. Kylie’s hurt, her difficulty accepting love from people who, at first, mean nothing to her, her challenges adjusting to a new normal – all those emotions come through clearly. At some points, Kylie is downright rude to her grandparents, who knew her as a very young child and who are trying their best to be the family she needs. But she isn’t being rude just to be ugly. She’s a child, facing the loss of the only family she’s ever known, flawed though it might have been.
The diffculties Fehlbaum describes with the child protective system and the criminal justice system are realistically portrayed, and sometimes difficult to read. If you’re sensitive to these topics, be mindful before you pick up the book. The system did let Kylie and Aliza down. Systems do that, no matter how well-intentioned they are. But there are people trying their best to help the girls, trying to work within the structure available to them. That’s realistic, too. Just because a system fails doesn’t mean the people within it don’t care.
Ultimately, the story ends on a hopeful note, and that’s what this is all about. Life happens, sometimes in painful and nasty ways. But a broken family doesn’t have to lead to a broken life. With love and time, patience and people who care, healing can come. It’s a solid four-star read for me.
Pre-order a copy of Find the Moon and enter the author’s giveaway! Three lucky winners will win a $50 Amazon Gift Card, signed set of THE PATIENCE TRILOGY, and signed copy of BIG FAT DISASTER. Ends Friday, 12/30/2022. Visit Beth’s website for more information and to enter!
Beth Fehlbaum is the author of the young adult novels Find the Moon, Big Fat Disaster (on the Spirit of Texas-High School Reading List, 2014-2015), Courage in Patience, Hope in Patience (A YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers), and Truth in Patience. With Dr. Matt E. Jaremko, Beth co-wrote the creative nonfiction book, Trauma Recovery: Sessions with Dr. Matt. She is a high school English teacher.