Because of the Moon
Aspiring to be the city’s most prolific graffiti artist, thirteen year old Jay Roberts is caught in a shake down of the chop shop in his favorite alley. Without a father or family around Jay has no sense of who he is or where he belongs. His mom never speaks of the past and is too busy worrying about the future to notice Jay is heading down a dangerous path.With no one to back up his innocence, Jay is given his choice of punishment; go to juvenile detention or spend six months on his mother’s run down Indian reservation where his estranged grandfather will administer the justice.Confined to the village, allowed outside only for school and community service, Jay feels claustrophobic and used. He continues his destructive behavior; shooting a crow, breaking curfew and hitch-hiking back to the city. The social worker, fond of surprise visits, is anxious to catch Jay in the act and send him to youth detention.The kids treat him as an outsider adding to his isolation and desire to return to the city as soon as his punishment is over. To survive, Jay is forced to confront Miles, the school bully. Jay wins the respect of his peers by neutralizing the bully with a cigarette and super glue.Jay’s initial resentment is slowly chipped away as Grampa reveals their rich heritage through story telling and totem pole carving. On a clear night, Grampa points out Orion's belt. Having never seen more than a few stars before Jay asks, If Orion's belt fell down would we see a full moon? and the two click.Grampa suffers a heart attack worrying their thousand year old culture will be wiped out due to job loss. The chief and the elders have given up all hope of keeping the village together as more and more people are forced to move, however, Jay sees something they don’t. Through artistry and ingenuity Jay devises a plan to save the village and ultimately his family but will the tribe listen to an outsider they call ‘Apple’?
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BECAUSE OF THE MOON is a story about Jay, a graffiti artist, that is in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is caught in a chop shop when he is hauled into the NYC police station. Jay’s mother calls ... Read full review
I enjoyed Because of the Moon very much. The beginning drew me in and immediately made me feel that Jay was a believable character. The author has a real feel for the plight of the adolescent and the touches of humour and insightful descriptions were appealing. Jay's problems fitting in to his new community were handled sensitively and I enjoyed his interactions with Grampa and all the other characters. Grampa shared some wonderful First Nations stories with Jay and the projects they worked on together were educational for the reader as well as Jay. Jay's meeting with his city friend Anthony as well as facing his Grampa's hospitalization, and finding out the truth about Gordon helped Jay gain some perspective on what's important and true for him. I think this book could lead to some interesting discussions in highschool English or Social Studies classes. The potlatch at the end of the book and the community's inventive solution to their financial woes helped the book end on an upbeat, hopeful note. I look forward to reading more books by Colleen Cutayne.
Lynn O. School Teacher