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Sally H. (St. Louis, MO)
Where the Moon Isn't
The story opens with a family's holiday. There are four people. These characters are mother, father, and two sons. Soon one of these people will be gone. This book deals with a boy's relationships, his first job, his first apartment and other challenges in his life. Does he have the life skills to work? This is not a spellbinder but it deals with relationships and feelings. It is written through a boy's eyes. It is interesting and different. I would recommend it for book clubs, teens, and for those who want a different type of book.
Yvette T. (Boca Raton, FL)
Quirky and Compelling
I was reading another book when this one arrived. I decided to read a few pages, but I could not put it down. It is hard to believe that this is a debut novel. I have never read a book in which the narrator describes for you, as if you are the only reader, what is going on in his mind. The story was heartbreaking, but poignant, filled with love and revelations and Matthew's insightful descriptions. I was enthralled at the opportunity to delve into the mind of a person with mental illness and see the trajectory of his disorder. GREAT book that I will wholeheartedly recommend to friends.
Barbara B. (Holbrook, NY)
Like nothing I've read
This left me stunned in a good way. Sad and frightening in such a beautiful way. I was touched and had so many emotions rushing through me while reading. You won't be able to stop reading this book and will be sad when it's over.
Lisa M. (Fullerton, CA)
Amazing Debut Novel
From the moment I opened this book, I could hardly put it down. I had no idea when I began it that it featured a character with Down syndrome, and as that was revealed, I got chills as I recognized pieces of my own son with Down syndrome in Simon Homes. The author deals with the sensitive topics of disorders and mental illness, and he writes a page-turning story that is both unflinching and compassionate, tender and tragic, heartbreaking and funny. I will not soon forget this story. Excellent.
Lauren C. (Los Angeles, CA)
An interesting journey
This is a book where the less you know about it the better it is. I knew nothing when I started, and won't put spoilers in this review.
MaryEllen K. (Albany, NY)
Where the Moon Isn't
All the reader knows at the beginning of the book is that Matt's brother dies. The book is told from Matt's point of view, and jumps around in time and reflects different versions of his perspective. I wondered whether the book was a mystery, a coming of age story, or something else. I also really wondered whether the payoff would be worth it once it was clear what was going on.
I'm happy to report that it was a very satisfying explanation, and that the book was very well done. The author did a great job of getting inside Matt's head and unfolding the story by leading you in different directions, but only by the end do you really know what was going on.
I still don't want to characterize this book by pigeon-holing it into a particular genre. I would just say that it is worth picking it up, and it is a quick read that doesn't take long to really hook you.
The narrator is Matthew, a teenage boy who witnessed the traumatic death of his brother when they were both young. He has repressed his intense grief and guilt, which ultimately leads to a breakdown, hospitalization, and diagnosis of schizophrenia. Nathan Filer writes brilliantly as the voice of this young man, and as a reader I empathized with Matthew a great deal. With that being said, this was a difficult read for me because Matthew's thoughts and narration are somewhat disjointed - at times I felt like I was plodding through it, which is not my favorite way to read. I would highly recommend this book to anyone whose life is affected by mental illness.