Title: Blood Moon
Author: Lucy Cuthew
Publication date: 2nd July 2020
My rating: ★★★★★
Goodreads rating: 4.43
Genre: YA, contemporary, poetry
I received an e-copy and physical copy of this book from the publishers Walker Book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and are not influenced by receiving a gifted copy of this book in any way. I would like to thank the publishers Walker Books, and the author, Lucy Cuthew.
*Trigger Warnings – toxic friendships, hate language, bullying, slut shaming, rape threat, cyber bullying, underage photographs, sexism and blood*
Periods, sex and online shaming.
An extraordinary verse novel from a bold new voice.
During Frankie’s first sexual experience with the quiet and lovely Benjamin, she gets her period. It’s only blood, they agree. But soon a graphic meme goes viral, turning their fun, intimate afternoon into something disgusting, mortifying and damaging. As the online shaming takes on a horrifying life of its own, Frankie begins to wonder: is her real life over?
Overall opinion of the book:
Wow wow wow wow wow wow wow. This is probably one of the most gushing (pardon the pun) reviews I’ve written. I finished reading this book at 2:10am because I couldn’t put it down. What was going to be a quick few chapters before bed, turned into reading 350 pages in one sitting. Usually at some point in my book reviews I mention some form of constructive criticism, but I honestly can’t think of one single thing I would change in Blood Moon. This was one of the most beautifully written books I’ve ever read and is a masterpiece in its own right. I don’t say that lightly, I loved this book for so many different reasons.
The writing was superb and I throughly enjoyed reading not only Frankie’s story, but Harriets too. Blood Moon’s main focus is sexual shaming, periods and sex, but it also discusses friendships. Harriet and Frankie are best friends and next door neighbours. They’ve known each other since they were young and are inseparable. Cuthew writes about their friendship and the strains it faces so well. Everything in this book felt so real, including the ups and downs of teenage friendships.
Often with YA books that are trying to convey a message, the situations can feel a little forced and unrealistic, but Cuthew’s characters were so real, honest and relatable. They were all a little morally grey in parts of the book. For example, even Frankie who experiences online shaming herself, has shamed others. Cuthew emphasises how toxic a school setting can be and how teenagers give in to peer pressure and easily follow the crowd.
I absolutely loved that Blood Moon was written in verse, this style of writing is perfect for the story. It helps convey the plot in a concise way, yet the book doesn’t feel as though it lacks attention to detail at all. There is often a disconnect with books written in verse between the characters and readers because there’s less descriptive language, but this is not the case in Blood Moon. I felt all of the emotions along with the characters, I laughed, I teared up and I got mad at societies views of periods and women.
This is SUCH an important book for teenagers and I don’t say this lightly. It focuses on so many things that affect those still in school and into young adulthood. Periods, breakdown on friendships, toxic language, slut shaming, cyber bullying, peer pressure and everything ugly that comes with growing up. There are some parts of the book that are tough to read, some language used is horrific, but this is the reality of growing up in today’s society where something so insignificant can be taken out of proportion and used against a person online. It emphasises the damaging affects of trolling and cyber bullying can have on a person. It’s true in today’s society that something so minor can be taken completely out of context and have detrimental affects on others.
Slut and period shaming is so prevalent in today’s society amongst teenagers and Cuthew addresses these issues very well. She shows the ugly side of them, but also emphasises that no one should feel shame for something so natural. Blood Moon is the perfect book for female empowerment, it shows girls and women that they can own their periods and what is said about their bodies. It normalises bleeding and intercourse during menstruation. For teenagers, knowing that they shouldn’t have to feel shame when on their period is so important. Blood Moon opens up the conversation about feminism and a women’s right to be sexually active without being looked down upon for it. It tackles the double standards how how men and women are treated different in regards to their sexual history.. Normalising periods and also period sex is so underrepresented in books and it’s fantastic that Lucy has focused on this. This is something that needs to be talked about more, especially to young adults.
The spelling, punctuation and grammar was perfect and I absolutely loved Lucy’s writing style. Everything flowed and read so well and she is brilliant at creating complex characters within prose. I felt that I knew each character and nothing was skimmed over. Everything was explained in detail and rounded off perfectly. I would highly recommend this book, it’s moving, educational and so so important.
Blood Moon is a beautifully written book that everyone needs to read. It’s one of the best books written in verse I’ve ever read. It deals with many important subjects and is a powerful and moving book! I can’t wait to read more of Cuthew’s work in the future. At the end of the Blood Moon arc it says that she has began work on a novel that focuses on porn and its negative effects. This sounds like it will be an equally as important book! Cuthew’s writing style is fantastic and she draws readers into the story so effortlessly.
Also, can we talk about how cool the bookmark that came in the PR package is please? It’s a tampon and it’s now my favourite bookmark, I love it and the string at the end, it’s genius!
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