It’s Real Life: The Trouble with Half a Moon by Danette Vigilante


The Trouble with Half a Moon by Danette VigilanteI’ve been working my way through the fifteen Florida Sunshine State books this summer like I usually do.  I was recently able to finish my fourth book out of the fifteen, The Trouble with Half a Moon by Danette Vigilante.

Ever since her brother’s death, Dellie’s life has been quiet and sad. Her mother cries all the time and Dellie lives with the horrible guilt that the accident that killed her brother may have been all her fault.
But Dellie’s world begins to change when new neighbors move into her housing project building. Suddenly men are fighting on the stoop and gunfire is sounding off in the night. In the middle of all that trouble is Corey, an abused five-year-old boy, who’s often left home alone and hungry. Dellie strikes up a dangerous friendship with this little boy who reminds her so much of her brother. She wonders if she can do for Corey what she couldn’t do for her brother-save him.

I’m predicting now that this will be a popular one at school based on two things. First, the cover and second the story itself.  A lot of my students pick fiction covers based on if the characters look like them or not. It happens. It is what it is and I sometimes do the same thing. I know my students, and what they check out and talk to their friends about and they’ll like this book for the story too. I’ve mentioned before that a very popular book in my Media Center is A Boy Called It, which tells the  story of a young boy who is abused by his mother. Because The Trouble with Half a Moon deals with a similar narrative, I’m pretty sure my students will be interested. What can I say, they’re intrigued by other people’s pain. I think its part of trying to understand the world we live in.

The Trouble with Half a Moon is the deeply moving and also troubling story of a girl named Dellie who is struggling with intense guilt over her little brother’s recent death, and simultaneously trying to save an abused little boy, Corey, in her apartment building. Dellie is a realistic character dealing with two very real situations. She is compassionate and knows when to stand up against wrong doing, but she is also struggling to break free from the sadness that has overtaken her family, especially her mother. )

The most troubling thing about this book is Corey’s story.  Troubling because it is real life.  Corey’s story happens all the time, I know because I work in the public school system and come in contact with kids who have stories like Corey’s.  His mother, in all her badness and sadness is real too.

What I really appreciate about The Trouble with Half a Moon is that solutions don’t come easy for these characters and the ending is not wrapped up in a tight and pretty bow. The reader is left wondering at the possibilities but is allowed a snapshot into the beginning of Dellie’s family’s road to recovery.  There is hope, which is what is most important, I think.

This book was at times, difficult to read, but I’m so glad I did.  I’d recommend The Trouble with Half a Moon to middle school aged readers and up, but because there is some tough stuff in this book parents you should really read it too and talk about the subject matter with your kids.

Author: Danette Vigilante

Publisher:  Putnam Juvenile (January 6, 2011)

Format: Paperback

Length: 181 pages

Series: Standalone


Buy the Book: The Trouble with Half a Moon

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