“Moonrise Over New Jessup” Book Review

This book has many rave reviews out there, so this could be a case of it just not being the right fit for me as a reader. The premise itself is fascinating – a young, black woman finds a new home in a town in Alabama that’s been designated as an all-black oasis (free from the integration process that was taking place in other parts of the country in the 1950s). When she falls in love with a local who wants to make changes to how the town is run, she faces losing the only place she’s ever felt truly at home.

The writing style itself was tough for me to follow. I felt like maybe the metaphors or symbolism were going over my head, but it seemed like I was sort of tripping over sentences, instead of everything just flowing. This is probably just a personal preference of how I like things to be phrased, but I felt like it was hard to stick to the connections with the characters and setting this way.

But the major issue I had was that pretty much nothing happened in the entire book. There were no major conflicts until there was only about three percent of the book left. There were arguments and discussions but no real consequences for any of the characters. When the main character’s worst fear comes to fruition, SPOILER, nothing happens. The book ends without any real resolution or character growth. I felt sort of duped for thinking something major was coming, and then many loose ends were just completely abandoned.

I have to acknowledge that I know I’m reading this book from a perspective of white privilege. I love reading fiction with POCs as main characters because it allows me to expand my worldview a bit. But I just didn’t feel like I gained anything from reading this novel.

2 stars

*Free ARC provided by Netgalley and Algonquin Books in exchange for an honest review*

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