Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around two YA contemporary reads with a prison element that were both brilliant.

Title: Moonrise
Author: Sarah Crossan

Genre: YA, Fiction, Contemporary
First published: September 7th 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens
Finished reading: March 3rd 2021
Pages: 400

“What can we forgive?
If that’s what we choose.”


I’ve enjoyed Sarah Crossan‘s books in the past, so when I needed to read a book written in verse I immediately thought of her backlist titles. I’ve been meaning to read Moonrise for a while and I’m definitely kicking myself for not doing so sooner now. It turned out to be such a powerful read! Books completely written in verse can go both ways for me, but it definitely worked very well here. Moonrise is such a heartfelt and heartbreaking story with such a powerful message to boot… It makes you think about the death penalty and the horrifying consequences of having an innocent man on death row fighting for his life as his date is coming closer. It also makes you think of the impact on his family… And the writing style is used to perfection to portray these emotions. Seventeen year old Joe makes for the perfect main character and your heart will break for him as you get to know him and see him interact with his brother Ed, who is on death row. You get to learn both about the struggles of the family after Ed’s conviction as well as Ed’s struggles and how justice isn’t always achieved. Make sure to have a box of tissues at hand just to be safe! Moonrise turned out to be a very powerful, emotional and tragic read, and the fact that it’s completely written in verse only enhanced its impact for me.

Title: Dear Justyce
(Dear Martin #2)
Author: Nic Stone

Genre: YA, Fiction, Contemporary
First published: September 29th 2020
Publisher: Crown Books For Young Readers
Finished reading: March 8th 2021
Pages: 196

“I guess I didn’t realize just how big of a difference it could make to have somebody really believe in you.”


I was finally able to read Dear Martin last year, and it made such an impact that I added Dear Justyce to my wishlist straight away. I’m still not sure why it too me this long to actually pick it up as I was planning on reading it immediately after publication, but these things happen I guess… But I’m glad to say that even though I had really high expectations for this sequel, Dear Justyce by no means disappoints. True, I did think the first book was slightly stronger still, but has a whole it’s without doubt a powerful sequel and one that once again shines a light on race, discrimination and the failure of the justice system. I really liked the fact that once again we have letters incorporated into the plot; this time mainly Quan writing to Justyce. It adds a little something extra to the story and it’s a great way to get to know the characters even better. Flashbacks are mixed with the present, all woven together into a coherent and powerful story with a very important message. My heart went out to the different characters in play, and it’s truly a disgrace things like this still happen even today… Dear Justyce is a must-read for young and old and a real eye opener.

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