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Book Review: Night of the Purple Moon (The Toucan Trilogy - Book 1)
Hired by a Demon cover
Night of the Purple Moon (The Toucan Trilogy - Book 1) by Scott Cramer

5 stars!
Category: YA

Summary: A comet passes by the Earth bathing the planet in purple space dust. When thirteen-year-old Abby Leigh wakes up in the morning after the arrival of the comet, she finds her father dead, leaving her, her twelve-year-old brother, and her two-year-old sister alone stranded on remote Castine Island off the coast of Maine with the sky still shrouded in purple haze. Kevin and Emily, the neighbor kids from across the street arrive on their doorstep with the same story of finding their parents suddenly dead. A search of the internet uncovers a note on the CDC website saying that everyone over the age of puberty has been killed by a germ carried by the comet except for several quarantined groups of scientists. The scientists broadcast daily updates on the radio of their progress in finding a cure. Meanwhile, Abby, her brother Jordan, and sister Toucan, along with the two neighbor kids band together with a group of children also from their school and start a small farm, learning to work together to survive being on their own until a cure can be found. But as the days turn into months, the children grow up and some enter puberty and with it, a death sentence, with Abby herself one of the eldest in the group.

Comments: With a name like "Toucan Trilogy" and one of the characters constantly being referred to as "Toucan", I worried that this story would be too young for my tastes. While the characters are supposed to be young, the main character Abby seemed far older than her years, acting as practically a constantly worrying mother to her younger siblings. The story itself was somber, deep, often depressing (definitely not a light pick-me-up pieces), bleak (though it did have an edge of hope to it and strength). It often made me think of Nevil Schute's On the Beach with the same bleak outlook of a post-apocalyptic world right after the cataclysmic event with the few survivors fighting to stay alive and watching fellow survivors die around them, and the gruesomeness of seeing the dead around them, pulling no punches in the gut-wrenching details. This could have easily turned into a take on Lord of the Flies, but the Castine children came together beyond their years and figured out how to hold onto to and worth together in a community. And it was indeed heartbreaking losing characters as they aged out and died excruciating painful deaths. No one in this felt cardboard or cliche. Everyone felt well-rounded, even the side characters.

I am eagerly looking forward to seeing where the next installment of the trilogy takes us to.


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