Published: March 25, 2012 (Train Renoir Publishing)
Source: E-book from the author in exchange for an honest review
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Abby Leigh is looking forward to watching the moon turn purple. For months, astronomers have been predicting that Earth will pass through the tail of a comet. They say that people will see colorful sunsets and, best of all, a purple moon.
But nobody has predicted the lightning-fast epidemic that sweeps across the planet on the night of the purple moon. The comet brings space dust with it that contains germs that attack human hormones. Older teens and adults die within hours of exposure.
On a small island off the coast of Maine, Abby must help her brother and baby sister survive in this new world, but all the while she has a ticking time bomb inside of her -- adolescence.
Night of the Purple Moon gripped me tightly immediately, with a fast-paced introduction that catapulted me into the premise Scott Cramer created. As the world prepares for a comet sighting unlike no other, teenager Abby Leigh hopes it also means her world will return to normal - that her mother's visit will put her family back on the right track. Instead, Abby wakes the following morning after the world turns purple to a nightmare: everyone past the age of puberty is either dead or dying.
Trapped on the small island her father relocated them too, Abby has to dig deep inside of herself and find the strength to keep going, and to lead the surviving children. I can't imagine that kind of character, pushing on despite her constant fear: that everyone is gone, including her mother, that no one is left to develop a cure, that if they do, it will be too late for her. Cramer propels Night of the Purple Moon forward through occasional dual POV - Abby, her younger brother, Jordan, and a few other minor characters. Each chapter covers a new month, and while in some cases, that might have been a fractured pacing, instead, it worked very well in this instance, as we see the surviving children and pre-teens starting to form a community.
I have to say, reading Scott Cramer's novel was sobering and terrifying. I can't even fathom knowing that your own body changing could lead to your death! Even though the premise is a somewhat far-fetched, it is also still believable, because of the genuine fear and mystery Cramer interjects into this story. This is still realistic science fiction.
Night of the Purple Moon is a story full of equal measures of fear and hope. There's a great deal of character growth for both Abby and Jordan, although not as much for the secondary characters. This is a short novel, so Cramer didn't have as much of an opportunity to develop the supporting characters, although I definitely felt for several of them, like KK and Colby. There's a definite sense toward the end that our main characters are literally racing against the clock, and I was hanging on every word, NEEDING to know how everything played out.
Overall despite a few points that I would have loved to seen explored or explained more, and some characters that fell a bit flat for me, Night of the Purple Moon is a genuinely good story with a believable premise. It's almost more of a middle grade story, since there isn't really any strong language or anything sexual - just mentions of kissing - so it's also incredibly sweet and tender in two or three moments. I look forward to seeing what else Scott Cramer writes!