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Unhooking the Moon by Gregory Hughes

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Teenage Book of the Month

Unhooking the Moon by Gregory Hughes
Published by Quercus, 2010

Described by Robert Dunbar in Inis, the Children’s Books Ireland magazine as a road-trip novel, Unhooking the Moon ticks all the boxes of that genre. The characters and their inter-relationships are engaging, the scenery is attractive and the people encountered on the way to the main characters’ destination are many and varied.

The main character has the unlikely name of “the Rat.” She is accompanied on her journey from Winnipeg to New York by her older brother and narrator of the story.
Though posing as her protector, he is often overshadowed by his young dancer, footballer and gangster-baiting ten-year-old sister. In their journey across America to find their uncle they introduce us to an amazing array of people and in so doing show us the good to be found in marginalized people living on the fringes of society. Even though her father has died, The Rat is well equipped in practical and emotional terms to deal with the hazards and adventures they encounter in their quest to meet with their up to now, unknown relation whom they think is a rich businessman. They will find out he may well be involved in something a lot more sinister.

One of the eight books nominated for the Guardian children’s fiction prize, Unhooking the Moon has been compared to The Curious incident of the Dog in the Nightime for its memorable characters.

This first novel from Gregory Hughes, described by reviewers as heart-warming and tear-inducing is well worth reading.