Cover Image: Find the Moon

Find the Moon

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Member Reviews

This young adult novel might resonate with many people, young and old, that dealt with issues growing up, including bullying, absent parents, drugs, and neglect. 

Kylie Jean, Kylie to her friends, has endured a lot in her young life. Her mother was mostly an absentee mother, which left Kylie to help raise her younger sister, Aliza, on her own. When an event goes south at their trailer, Kylie and Aliza manage to escape the life they were living. However, the choice to leave and get help comes with a price. Aliza's biological father takes custody of her but not Kylie. Kylie discovers she has grandparents that have been searching for her for 13 years. I can't imagine being kept from family that wanted to love and protect you from those that may not know better, even if it is your own mother.

This novel is Kylie's journey to discovering who she is without her sister and overcoming some of the incidents in her life prior to living with her grandparents. She doesn't trust anyone, and you can't blame her, considering her life for the last 13 years. She was just trying to survive. It was a struggle with her grandparents because they just wanted to love her but didn't realize how much of an impact events in her life kept her on edge. Because she doesn't trust anyone, she finds herself mixed up with one of the other students at her new high school. It isn't a good situation, but at least she recognizes it and does seek help.

It was hard watching what Kylie was going through, knowing so many people have walked that same path. But she was surrounded by a loving family, which I think helped her in the end. 

I would be remiss in not mentioning the goats! Her grandparents raise and breed goats, and one of Kylie's jobs was to socialize the new kids. That has to be a lot of fun! And there are three dogs. A book is always better with a dog in it, in my opinion.

This book touched my soul, and we give it 5 paws up.
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First sentence: This year will monumentally suck. What kind of lunatic English teacher gives homework on the first day of school? Seriously? 

Premise/plot: Find the Moon is a coming of age, 'problem' novel for young adults. Kylie and Aliza are 'rescued' from their neglectful, abusive mother. But being rescued comes with a cost--separation of the sisters. Aliza goes to live with her father and Kylie goes to live with her maternal grandparents. It's a BIG adjustment. She has no memories of her grandparents--whom she used to live with as a toddler. She's in a new state, new town, new school. Quite reasonably [logically] she has trust issues and anger issues as well. Her life has not been happy; she's had to adult as a young teen and 'raise' her sister to the best of her ability. She's had to mask all the chaos at home. Now she's got time to heal...but the process of learning to trust, to love, to live isn't smooth and easy.

My thoughts: I liked this one. It had its intense moments. I liked the characters and the depth of the characterization. I liked the development of relationships. I personally would have preferred shorter chapters. The length of the chapters dragged the pacing here and there--particularly in the middle. The beginning and end were definitely engaging.
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"Find the Moon" by Beth Fehlbaum is an amazing story of triumph over childhood trauma and sexual abuse, resiliency, and hope. Kylie is a remarkable young heroine, surviving the worst situation while still protecting the little sister she loves above all others. This character's voice is raw and genuine, and I felt so much emotion reading her story. I ached for her as her separation from Aliza dragged on and on. The reader also learns throughout the book that many of Kylie's peers in high school have also suffered traumas of their own, each reacting and handling their grief in their own ways, some better than others.

The story is told from Kylie's point of view, so we only get glimpses of what Aliza's recovery looks like with her father and his new family. But Papa and Honey Briscoe are strong characters trying to get their granddaughter back to a decent life. They make mistakes, they struggle at times, and Kylie, who has experienced the greatest betrayals, must learn to trust again. She makes mistakes, too. But for the most part, she is surrounded and supported by good people who love her.

Readers should be aware that this young adult book addresses tough topics: child neglect and abandonment, sexual assault, sexual abuse, sex trafficking, drug use, drug dealing, date rape, animal death, and violence, but the story is ultimately one of hope, love, and recovery. I recommend FIND THE MOON for readers of young adult fiction that handle these critical topics.
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“I can’t remember ever being as happy as I was when I thought I could reach the moon.”

 Find the Moon by Beth Fehlbaum is a heartbreaking yet inspiring story about healing from abuse through the faith, love, and open arms of family and friends.

Fifteen-year-old Kylie Jean (just Kylie!) Briscoe takes care of her little sister, Aliza, because their mom, Matilda, is a drug addict and apparently owes her dealer quite a bit of money. What’s the easiest way to pay off that debt? Matilda has no problem pushing her oldest daughter into "squaring the deal" through sex, but Kylie finally says NO! When the cops come and arrest Matilda, Kylie immediately regrets her decision to seek help for herself and her sister.

Kylie’s grandparents, Honey and Papa, are thrilled to have Kylie back into the family fold in Texas, but Kylie has a long road of healing ahead of her, filled with new high school pitfalls, emotional outbursts, and a stubborn streak a mile long.

Find the Moon is a quick-paced bildungsroman, tracing Kylies journey from a broken girl with far too many responsibilities and heartache to a teenager in a household with an abundance of love; dogs; and baby goats. Add in a new friend, Ethan, and Kylie might just touch that moon after all.

Beth Fehlbaum’s writing is quite engaging, pulling the reader into Kylie’s dilemmas, resolutions, and much needed self-forgiveness. While Find the Moon is a great young adult coming of age story, it falls neatly into an action thriller at times, providing readers with quite the agile fiction. Word of Caution! While the story is not sexually explicit, the dialog frequently gets rough, so be prepared for some salty language, including some F-bombs, from kids and adults alike. This colorful language is realistic, though, considering the sensitive topics of abuse, bullying, and resentment, but Honey's and Papa’s almost smothering love toward their granddaughter more than softens the harsh edges and gives Kylie a safe and structured place to land and grow.
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Kylie Briscoe is in a situation no teenager should be in. She’s trying to muddle her way through high school while doing her best to take care of her four-year-old sister, Aliza. Her mother is present, but embroiled in a life of drugs and criminal activity, so her care for her children is negligent at best. Then a thug shows up demanding payment for drugs, and there’s no money to be had, so he plans to collect by other means. Kylie’s mother points to her daughter and says, “Her first,” and Kylie knows things can’t continue as they are. She takes Aliza and runs.
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.
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Beautifully written and heartbreakingly realistic. 15-year old Kylie, may just be one of my favorite literary characters ever.

Kylie is forced to grow up way too early and care for her younger sister, Aliza, due to a (mostly) absent mother. We learn early on that her mom has been using Kylie in despicable ways to support her drug habits. After Kylie does the brave thing and flees a dangerous situation with her little sister in tow, her whole life changes when court orders separate her from Aliza. Aliza is returned to her biological father, while Kylie goes to live with her grandparents who have been searching for her for over 13 years. It was devastating to go through Kylie's victim guilt mindset after losing her little sister.

You will root for Kylie from page one right through the end. You will want her to be ok. You will want her to realize she is valuable and worthy. She is a resilient and beautifully crafted character. There is something so deeply real about the writing and characters, and I found myself crying at multiple points throughout the story. It's a raw and open peek into the life of neglected and abused children. I typically shy away from books that deal with child abuse, but this story was so delicately and powerfully written that it left me hopeful more than crushed, even during the difficult parts.

There are multiple sensitive topics in this one; so please take care if you may be triggered by mentions of S.A., neglect, drug use and PTSD.

5/5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley for providing this ARC to review <3
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Kylie Jean Briscoe has a big problem: her abusive mother, and things are about to get worse. A drug addict whose mothering skills are nonexistent, she neglects her daughters, who must fend for themselves, and she places them in grave danger with her reckless choices. When her mother is arrested, Kylie Jean and her three-year-old half-sister are taken into care. Kylie is distraught, as Aliza is claimed by a father she’s never known. Kylie’s grandparents, who have lived in hope of seeing her again, are given custody of her. The separation from her sister is traumatic but Kylie tries to put her life back together in the loving environment of her grandparents’ farm. But Kylie soon learns that love alone cannot heal her unseen wounds. 

Find the Moon by Beth Fehlbaum is a gritty, raw YA story of survival, healing and forgiveness. The story explores the painful subject of child exploitation, abuse and neglect. The harshness of Kylie’s life is balanced by the loving kindness found in her grandparents and her uncle. This book is an emotional read, and the author doesn’t take the easy way out by painting Kylie’s new life as a bed of roses. Instead, she allows her to battle her personal demons, make mistakes, learn to trust and love and eventually heal. 

I highly recommend this book to readers who appreciate realistic and heartfelt stories. Be aware that it includes subjects some readers may find uncomfortable and/or painful.
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When I was little I believed that my grandmother kept the moon in a glass on her bedside table, so an affinity for the moon is something that resonates with me, and it’s one of the reasons I chose to read Beth Fehlbaum’s latest novel, Find the Moon. I was not disappointed. Like many books that are labeled as Young Adult titles, this book is provocative, but it’s also at times both poignant and profound.

I knew from the description that this would be a hard read – protagonist Kylie’s situation, so aptly described in her opening line, “This year will monumentally suck,” is a grim one. Her mother is unreliable at best, and she’s the primary caregiver for her beloved little sister Aliza. A split-second decision made under great danger and duress changes the course of life for both girls, but the moon is their constant companion, and Kylie reminds her sister that no matter what happens to them, if they can find the moon, they’ll know their connection remains.

The moon continues to be an image as the story unfolds. Presented in first person, from Kylie’s perspective, this is the story of a teenager who has been dealt one of life’s worst hands, but has managed to survive. As we follow her on her journey to the welcoming home of her grandparents stargazing Ollie and motherly, if somewhat foul-mouthed Honey, we see her learn to trust others, and to trust herself. The poignance comes in small moments – when she cries on Honey’s shirt for the first time, when a dog offers comfort, when the English teacher’s son Ethan reaches out to her.

There are moments of profundity as well, the most striking when Ollie rises from the kitchen table, encouraging Kylie to rise as well, and shares with her the secret of Just One Thing: Every day, you have to do just one thing that moves you forward. As someone who would likely have been diagnosed with ADHD if girls had been evaluated for it in the 1970s, this echoed my own rule; no matter how much I have to fight to focus on anything, I do at least one productive thing every day. The Just One Thing concept is a powerful one, because it takes the weight of the world off your shoulders. Anyone can manage one thing in a day.

What I loved about this story was that author Fehlbaum never dropped the moon metaphor. Our favorite near-earth object is a talisman, a friend, and a beacon of hope in this novel, and it never feels hokey or overused. I appreciate that she connected Kylie’s attachment to the moon with Grandpa Ollie’s love of astronomy. Stargazing isn’t just a hobby for him, it’s an intrinsic element of his personality.

I also loved the relationship Ollie and Honey had with each other. Their fond bickering reminded me of my own grandparents, and made them feel all the more real.

Realism is another strong facet of this book. The teenagers in this story – Kylie, Ethan, and their schoolmates – never feel too young or too old. Their dialogue is believable and natural without relying on slang that would make this book feel dated if someone read it a decade from now. That kind of writing is an example of great craft and great care, and I really appreciated the authors effort.

While this book does touch on some heavy subjects the darker elements never overwhelm the reader. Rather, this book sucks you in, and makes you FEEL. It seems so cliched to say, “I laughed, I cried,” but the truth is that there were parts of this novel that did make me laugh, parts that made me yell at the characters, and parts that moved me to tears.

Find the Moon is an emotional, truthful story suitable for “young adults” and all adults.

Goes well with: rabbit-shaped pancakes hopping over bacon fence-posts.
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Find the Moon by Beth Fehlbaum was an emotional adventure through and through. This is one of those stories where the plot and characters are both strong and well-rounded.

I was touched and truly invested in Kylie's story, not only because she was our main character, but because of her struggles. Kylie's story had me imagining how difficult life would be as a young woman having to try and keep it together because you can't trust or depend on the adults around you. Even when placed with adults you should be able to trust, the trust doesn't come easily. I feel that Fehlbaum was able to convey the feelings from this real-world circumstance so well in Kylie's character. 

Kylie's grandparents were also well thought-out and enjoyable. They made for a great and positive representation of what familial support should be. Stories that explore trauma and sadness could very easily overwhelm the reader, and so it takes a writer like Fehlbaum and a book like Find the Moon to bridge the gap so that we are not feeling overwhelmed but rather feeling empathy for the characters we are coming to care about as we read. This is not easily done!

I recommend this book for all readers, however, please be kind to yourself and take notice of the triggers that may overwhelm you.
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This is a story I did not see coming. From the gripping first pages to the last turn of the page, Find the Moon is a story that is hopeful, breaks your heart, and makes you realize that something is bigger out there than this world we live on.

Readers are introduced to Kylie Briscoe as the big sister who is protecting and taking care of her little sister. Their mom is a complete drug-addict failure. Along the way, you are drawn into how Kylie was used for drug payments through sex trafficking. This story is about how the main character defied the odds, protected her baby sister, and found a new life.

Find the Moon is a story that hits the core of your every emotion. This is a YA fiction novel that might hopefully, help others find their strength and their voice. What I found endearing is that Kylie on her new path in life actually screws up and she’s forgiven and does right. Best of all, through the love of her grandparents and her boyfriend she sees her mother as her true self.  Honey, Kylie’s grandmother, sounds much like mine was, especially with the cursing.

What really drew me into the story is the connection between Kylie’s grandfather, the moon, and the stars. The moon is something that never changes for any of us. It is a constant that everyone can relate to and draw upon. Love this connection they share over the moon.

Just “one thing at a time.” We all need to remember that mantra, along with “I will, I can.”

The one quote that sticks it out from this book is “To remain silent and indifferent is the greatest sin of all,” by Elie Wiesel.

Author, Beth Fehlbaum, you took my breath away with this story of hopelessness, friendships, learning, and the moon!
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FIND THE MOON is a page-turner of the best kind. In this gritty, realistic YA novel, author Beth Fehlbaum takes her protagonist, Kylie Briscoe—and her reader—on an emotional wild ride. From the first page, I was invested in Kylie and her baby sister and their journey out of dire circumstances toward a life of hope and possibility. That journey is not an easy one, fraught with complications and betrayal, and colored by Kylie’s complex PTSD. FIND THE MOON, ultimately, is a story of resilience through connection, acceptance, and hard emotional work. Readers who have experienced trauma will find healing here, and those lucky enough to have avoided such bleak circumstances might just develop a deeper sense of empathy after meeting Kylie and company. I highly recommend FIND THE MOON for Beth Fehlbaum’s gripping story, authentic voice, winning characters, and her characteristic gutsiness on the page.
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Find the Moon is a heart-wrenching yet heart-warming story of overcoming adversity, accepting love, and finding family. The reader truly roots for Kylie as she struggles with her mother’s abuse and indifference, separation from her little sister, and being thrown into an environment so full of love it’s nearly an assault to her senses. She must learn who to trust – and how much – in order to protect her heart from further damage and ultimately find a way to reunite with her sister. This story and its true-to-life characters will stay with you long after you finish reading it.
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I enjoyed Find the Moon more then i thought i would. It reminded me alot of another one called Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. In a way i relate to Kylie, i suddeny lost alot of things a few years ago and still learning to cope, so this book made me feel angry and sadness towards the main character. I have suffered alot, but not as much as Kylie has, so i admire her for her bravery. I hope i can be like her. 
One of my favourite quotes-
 Dear Mama,
     F%uck you
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I knew going into this story that I was going to be taken on emotional ride. I was not disappointed. I was angry, frustrated, sad, happy. I cried, I laughed and I yelled. The hospital scene between Kylie and Aliza just broke me. The scene in the truck with Ollie fussing at Honey made me laugh and instantly made me love him.  I love a book that hits me all the feels and this one did not disappoint.  Beth has made herself one of my "go to" authors. Excellent story!
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