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Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite
Under a Purple Moon by Beverly Stowe McClure is a rich novel — emotionally and psychologically — a coming of age story that follows the lives of four adolescents from dysfunctional homes who inadvertently find themselves in an old, abandoned house, seeking to escape the chaos at home. Eden’s mother has never seen anything good in her daughter and things don’t get any better with the constant verbal battles between her parents. Taking refuge in the abandoned old house is the only way to steer clear of the negativity back at home. Then she meets Murphy, Josh, and Toby, teens with similar family issues. Together they will navigate their emotions, and build bonds of friendship that complement the lack of love they feel at home. Can they find in each other what family can’t offer?
The story begins with the protagonist slamming the door and running away from home, because her parents have been hurling words at each other, fighting about her. And the reader is immediately introduced to the psychological as well as the physical conflicts in the novel. The sense of anxiety and despair in the protagonist comes out clearly. The old house, abandoned and empty, is very symbolic in the narrative, and it’s not for nothing that it is called the “Old House.” The emptiness in it could allow for solitude, but that emptiness also becomes a space where new friends can find their own words, explore each other’s world, and build life from nothing.
The narrative is done in an arresting first person voice, the writing is atmospheric, and the author shows a unique gift for character. While this book doesn’t feature terrible tragedies and strong dramatic moments, it has a lot of depth and explores the dysfunctional conundrum in many contemporary homes. Beverly Stowe McClure’s characters are compelling and realistic, and Under a Purple Moon describes a world that is so familiar that many readers will identify with it. It’s a beautiful tale of friendship and the journey of young characters to redefine themselves in a world that is hostile and unwelcoming.