Living off the land for all of your needs is nothing compared to trying to make it in the modern world. It's the early 1980's and Moon Blake has everything he needs living out in the forest with his dad -- they scavenge and hunt, they have shelter and warmth, and all the medicine or extras they need, they can find, make, or trade for at Mr. Abroscotto's store in town. Very early in the story, Moon's dad dies from injuries that he can't heal and their land has been purchased by a lawyer with development plans. Before he dies, Moon's dad tells him to keep living off the land and try to make his way to Alaska where he can find people who are just like them, who don't trust the government and who make their own way living off the land. But Moon is caught before he can get away and because he's only ten years old, the law plans to send him to a boys' home. Too bad Moon doesn't plan on staying caught. The boy has been brought up to distrust the law, and the law doesn't take all that kindly to him either. Constable Sanders has a particularly large chip on his shoulder, and the friction between the two characters results in much of the action, humor, and progression of the story. This is an extraordinarily original coming-of-age novel, and Moon's relationships with all of the other characters are heartwarming, frustrating, and ultimately eye-opening. As Moon realizes that there is more than one right way to live and act and that not everything in life is black-and-white, readers learn with him that life is about finding what you believe in, standing up for what's important, and always keeping an open mind.
Recommended for middle school readers, especially boys who are constantly looking for their next adventure, and young men who wish they could relive their fort-making days.
Call number: YA KEY (Teen Room)
Reviewed by kate the librarian
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
1 week ago