Pages: 340 pages
Published: September 1, 2020
Publisher: Walker Books US
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Blood Moon is a young adult novel of our time. It doesn’t speak against racial injustice or immigration issues but it does talk about an injustice that most of society, to this day, are still reluctant to talk about: period shaming. Talking about menstruation is still a taboo subject, “the thing that should not be named” and Blood Moon beautifully takes a hidden subject and brings it into the necessary light in such a beautiful narrative.
We meet Frankie, a lover of physics and astronomy. During her first sexual experience with high school cutie, Benjamin, Frankie gets her period. They decide not to make a big deal about it: it’s only blood. But when a disgusting and gruesome meme goes viral, Frankie’s world and sense of security implode with a click of a smartphone. Who can she confide in? Harriet’s own social media debacle and Frankie’s response to it caused a rift in their friendship and Frankie is sure Benjamin is responsible for the meme. As Frankie’s online shaming takes complete control of her life, Frankie starts to wonder if her reputation and her life would ever recover.
In this fearless and uplifting novel in verse, Cuthew creates a story that is full of emotion, exploration of friendship and female desire. I don’t know if writing this story in verse was the author’s intention but I think, because of this writing style, the story made such an emotional impact. The internal voice of Frankie and the turmoil that she goes through is reflected in the poetic language of the book. My particular favourite part was when Frankie was looking at the social media postings about her and Cuthew continuously writes”
“Me, me, me…”
That punched me in the gut. To be a teenager in this technology-driven society and seeing yourself being victimized is something I feel is hard to describe. This book was realistic in its entirety but that scene will bring an honest portrayal of the griefs and pleasures of social media.
Frankie’s response to Harriet’s slut-shaming was not an emphatic one. However, when Frankie deals with her viral shaming, it is the classic “what it is like in the other person’s shoes”. To me, that situation mirrors real life. What do women usually do when they see a woman being victimized on the internet? Like not talking about sensitive subjects, victim-blaming is also the norm. This situation shows that judgement is left at the door and empathy and understanding are necessary to build a just world. When readers read this, they wouldn’t be so quick to judge certain, with the fear that they can be placed in that situation themselves.
Mensuration is nothing to be ashamed of but period shaming is something that is constantly done. A young girl shouldn’t have to explain something well-known and completely natural. But as this story perfectly portrays, ignorance can lead to blind public shaming. Frankie’s fight for her reputation is hard to read but is what young girls and women go through all the time. This story not only reveals the hard truths that the majority of society wished to brush under the rug. I wish boys choose to read this. The way to combat period shaming is through education and acceptance.
Blood Moon by Lucy Cuthew is a conversation starter. This is another one of those amazing books that teens need to read. Instead of just slut shaming, it approaches a subject that society as a whole still consider to be a taboo subject…period shaming. Cuthew approaches this important topic with both articulation and creativity that makes this story one compelling and intriguing novel. A definite must read for the 21st century.
Thank you Walker Books US and Edelweiss for giving an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.