Staff Pick: Beneath a Meth Moon by Jacqueline Woodson

15-year-old Laurel has just moved to a new town and stepped into what seems like a perfect life: cheerleader, member of the popular crowd, and girlfriend of the school's star basketball player, T-Boom. But nothing can make her forget the hurricane that washed away her hometown. Nothing can erase the painful memory of leaving her mother and grandmother behind to perish in the flood waters.

Then T-Boom gives her that first hit of meth. And as it washes over her, it also washes away her guilt and anguish. But this numbness comes at a price. As Laurel spirals into addiction, she alienates the people who truly care about her and ends up on the streets, desperate to get one more hit of "the moon" -- and closer to death than she even realizes.

What will it take for Laurel to pull herself out of the floodwaters of addiction?

Pick it: if you like intense, dark subject matter; you need a fast-paced, quick read; you like novels written in journal form.

Skip it: if you're looking for an in-depth portrayal of meth addiction and distribution in America (Laurel's story is very moving, but Woodson paints in broad strokes and spares the reader the grisly details of drug addiction.)

Pair with: Tweak: growing up on methamphetamines by Nic Sheff.


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