Author: Scott Cramer
Genre: Middle Grade/Young Adult Science Fiction
Length: 188 pages
Just like everyone on her small island town, seventh grader Abby Leigh is looking forward to the purple moon, an event caused by the earth being swallowed by a comet's tale. They watch the purple hues filter into the night sky, yawn and go to bed. It is when she awakens that she realizes what has become of the world as she knew it.
Pounding on her door wakens Abby. It's her friend Kevin who announces his parents are dead. Desperate to find the truth, she and her siblings try to find her father. Sadly, he too is dead. Slowly they begin to realize that anyone who has matured to puberty succumbed to the toxic space dust. The adults are gone. Now their only hope of survival is to stick together and build a new life all their own.
They build a life, one rather civil, organized and tidy, but there is a renagade tribe of boys that threaten their upotia. Soon, they learn the CDC is conducting trials to create an antiboitic that can save them from falling to the same fate as their parents once they reach puberty. Abby and her crew must leave their little world behind and find a cure before it is too late.
Night of the Purple Moon has all the elements of a successful book. The pace is fast and enthralling, the characters are likable, hard-working and kind and the premise is killer. What child hasn't fantasied about a world with no parents? I found myself wondering what would happen to my own children if suddenly this sort of thing were to occur. How would children survive without the adults that shepherd them? Cramer sets up his much tamer Lord of the Flies well, guiding us through each step of their new found independence so we can picture Abby's world and wonder what might become of our own should a tragedy of this magnitude befall us.
My qualms are few and minor compared to the above. The children acted very mature for their age. Almost instantaneously they formed a democratic society with scheduled chores, meetings and duties. I know my own children only need about five minutes alone before they are close to braining each other over a cup of applesauce. I had to suspend some disbelief that these children are the most kind, thoughtful, selfless children on the planet. Perhaps they are. Perhaps island air makes them saints.
Another qualm was the middle dragged a bit. The conflict present was in the form of three boys who stole eggs and said the s-word. I admit I am a fan of dark literature, so when the boys laughed off stealing eggs and everyone went on their merry way I craved more.
The last issue is the one that I think may be what's keeping Cramer's story down. I am not sure what audience he is writing to. The protagonists are mainly in middle school, though most middle schoolers might find the themes of mass death and body removal too dark for their developing minds. Teens are unlikely to pick up a book about children younger than them, and adults often read YA, but not generally MG. Unfortunately, that may keep audiences from picking up this title and missing out on an interesting story.
Overall, it is a quality book worth 4 out of 5 stars.
You can find the book here and Scott Cramer here.