HOW HIGH THE MOON, by Karyn Parsons, Little, Brown Young Readers , Hachette Book Group Canada


To Kill a Mockingbird meets One Crazy Summer in this powerful, bittersweet debut about one girl’s journey to reconnect with her mother and learn the truth about her father in the tumultuous times of the Jim Crow South.

“Timely, captivating, and lovely. So glad this book is in the world.” –Jacqueline Woodson, author of Brown Girl Dreaming
In the small town of Alcolu, South Carolina, in 1944, 12-year-old Ella spends her days fishing and running around with her best friend Henry and cousin Myrna. But life is not always so sunny for Ella, who gets bullied for her light skin tone, and whose mother is away pursuing a jazz singer dream in Boston.

So Ella is ecstatic when her mother invites her to visit for Christmas. Little does she expect the truths she will discover about her mother, the father she never knew and her family’s most unlikely history.

And after a life-changing month, she returns South and is shocked by the news that her schoolmate George has been arrested for the murder of two local white girls.

Bittersweet and eye-opening, How High the Moon is a timeless novel about a girl finding herself in a world all but determined to hold her down.

approx. 320 pages

Out March 5, 2019


I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

This is a complicated middle-grade book.

So I’m a huge, huge fan of books like, “To Kill A Mockingbird,” “The Help,” “The Butler,” etc. Love stories where injustices are overcome by strength of character, bravery and the need to do what is right.

History is full of horrific injustices against, women, African Americans, immigrant white children, Chinese, I can go on and on and on. So when a beautiful eye-opening book comes along that addresses many of these injustices, I’m there to get a copy.

Parsons’ book is a wonderful story.  The injustices she approaches settle around the 1940s, and the differences of treatment toward African Americans living in the North compared to those living in the South. I found her portrayal of this very well done.

With hints of “To Kill A Mockingbird” overtures, Parsons creates a world full of diverse, detailed characters. There are several POVs to show differences in social beliefs and interesting character personalities.

There is a murder mystery but this book felt more complicated than that. There’s racial tensions, civil rights insertions, WWII complications. There was a sense of self-development, family drama and relationship breakdown/renewel. Friendship is also key to the plot structure.

There was so much in this little book that something was bound to suffer. To me, it was the setting. Period building could have used more details, more influx of details to complete the era the story was developed in. I would have liked a bit more information surrounding the mother’s world and relationships, welcoming insights into the woman’s personality issues and her reasons for some of the decisions she was making.  There was a lot of hints about Ella’s father, maybe too many and not enough substance. But what the author did give helped provide a dramatic element to Ella’s development.

The author did an overall good job with her story and I was greatly entertained feeling a wide range of emotions while reading, from outrage, sadness, disappointment and excitement.

I gave this book:


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