Wednesday, May 7, 2014

"Night of the Purple Moon: The Toucan Trilogy - Book 1" by Scott Cramer


Night of the Purple Moon
(The Toucan Trilogy Book 1)
by Scott Cramer

Night of the Purple Moon is the first book in Scott Cramer's The Toucan Trilogy. Also available: Colony East.

Abby awakens to banging on the door, sees a truck crashed, and finds her baby sister crying out for breakfast. She soon discovers why Dad hasn't fed her.
Astronomers predicted that Earth would pass through a comet's tail, turning the moon purple. But nobody predicted that bacteria from the comet would attack the hormones responsible for puberty. Adults died within hours.
Abby struggles to care for her siblings while quarantined scientists race to find a cure. The time bomb of puberty ticks louder the older Abby gets.
Compelling science fiction, a young adult dystopian with heart.

Thick fog rolled in and swallowed Abby whole. Unable to see her outstretched hand, she clenched her jaw to stop her teeth from chattering. Homichlophobia — fear of fog. Millions had the phobia, but how many of them lived in the fog capital of the universe?
Her father’s voice sounded far away. He’d been next to her a moment ago. She reached for him and grabbed damp air. A chill rippled through her and she started flailing her arms.
A hand pressed down on her shoulder. “Hey, sleepy.”
Abby opened her eyes and blinked at the silhouette, tall and lean with a curly mop of brown hair. “Dad!”
“Swimming somewhere?”
“Yeah, Cambridge.” Abby always found a way to let her dad know how she felt about moving from the city in Massachusetts where she had grown up—where her friends still lived—to a small island twenty miles off the coast of Maine. Her mom also shared part of the blame for going along with his crazy idea to move here.
“Tonight’s the night!” he said with a gleam in his eye and headed off to wake up her twelve-year-old brother Jordan.
“A purple moon?” she called out. “I’ll believe it when I see it.”
Abby sat up in bed, still shaken by her dream. Just then the long blast of a horn signaled the 7 a.m. ferry arriving from the mainland. She had to hurry to get in the shower first.
She entered the hallway at the same time as Jordan, and together they raced for the bathroom. She ducked inside first, but he blocked the door from closing. Each pushed for all they were worth. Abby, a year older and stronger than her brother, slammed the gap shut and locked the door.
“Come on,” he said, banging. “I need to take a shower.”
“Me, too!”
“Save some hot water!”
“Can you say please?”
He banged again.
Abby kicked aside Jordan’s dirty socks and underwear he’d left on the floor and turned on the shower. She stepped into the warm spray and sighed. Sunday, two days from now, could not come fast enough. Abby would spend spring break with her mother in Cambridge. For the first time since moving to Castine Island three months ago, she would hang out with her best friend, Mel.
When Abby stepped out of the bathroom, she found Jordan camped in the hall. He pushed his way past her. “Jerk,” he said. “There better be hot water.”
“Grow up!” she fired back. “And get your dirty stuff off the floor!”
Later, Abby placed her backpack on the kitchen floor, ready for breakfast. Her two-year-old sister, Toucan, sat in her highchair eating Cheerios, grinning, and babbling. “Abby, Comet, Cheeries.”
Abby planted a kiss on her face. “Morning, Touk.”
Dad was washing dishes piled high in the sink—Power cleaning, he called it. Preparing for Mom’s arrival on Saturday, he always started picking up the house the day before.
Abby poured a bowl of cereal and studied the newspaper. The front page had a big picture of the comet Rudenko-Kasparov, named for the two amateur comet hunters who first spotted the fuzzy blob in the Andromeda constellation. The headline declared: GET YOUR BROOMS READY. That was a joke — nobody would be sweeping up space dust, but when Earth entered the comet’s tail for the first time tonight, astronomers predicted weeks of colorful sunsets and sunrises and, best of all, a purple moon.
Not everyone was looking forward to the comet. One cult believed it signaled the end of the world and were hiding out in a cave, as if a hole in the ground might offer some type of protection.
Abby didn’t worry about the world coming to an end, though she was quite curious what space dust smelled like.

I was delighted to get a free download of this book. I'm over 40, so I definitely don't fall into the typical YA target audience, but I do like a good story and Night of the Purple Moon is a great story that is told by a very talented author.
There were parts of this book that I considered so good, I read them to my wife. Things like "While his words sounded rehearsed, his blushing seemed spontaneous." There are a number of little gems like this throughout the book. I enjoyed Scott's easy style and would definitely read other books by him.
I don't want to sound overzealous, but this book reminded me of the books I read at school, such as Swallows and Amazons, Lord of the Flies, or Charlotte's Web. It has that "modern classic" feel about it. It's a gripping tale of kids surviving in the worst of circumstances, and Scott deals with the many deaths in a sensitive, yet emotionally stirring way.
I found a few minor typos in the book which didn't put me off. I'll see if I can pass these on to Scott so he can fix them up for future readers.
Overall this is a wonderful book which I highly recommend for anyone over a certain age. I'm not sure how old your child should be to read this book, but if they're likely to have nightmares after reading about the death of nearly the entire adult population, they should probably wait a few years.

About the Author

Scott Cramer and his wife reside outside Boston in an empty nest/zoo/suburban farm/art studio with too many surfboards in the garage. Night of the Purple Moon is Scott's debut novel. It is Book 1 in The Toucan Trilogy. Colony East, Book 2 in The Toucan Trilogy, was released December 2013.