Lindsey Allen is a straight-A student whose sole focus is on becoming an astronomer. In order to do that, she has to escape the life she lives with her free-spirit mother, a former beauty queen who runs a business as a fake psychic out of their garage. When her mother decides it’s time to move from Oregon to Los Angeles, she uproots Lindsey’s whole life. The two start over in L.A., living in a run-down apartment building. A wealthy mentor enters Lindsey’s life, and she might just be the ticket to Lindsey’s bright future, but her mother has other plans.
What works well in Lopresti’s novel works very well: a strong protagonist who is fully realized as a character, a gritty portrayal of a complicated mother-daughter relationship, and sparse language that’s engaging and vaguely haunting. Lopresti has crafted a story that resonates long after readers finish the last page, and it’s guaranteed to attract fans. The suspense of what will happen to these two women, as well as Lindsey’s growing suspicions and worries about her mother’s mental state, make this a compelling read.
The book has a few stumbles, though. Lindsey’s burgeoning relationship with her super-cute neighbor Paco feels oddly chaste in a way that distracts from the overall narrative. It doesn’t quite fit into the story and would in fact be better left out altogether since it never quite gels. While Lindsey herself is well drawn, many of the other characters, including her mother, are not. There’s a thinness to them that makes the reader wonder whether or not there’s truly anything under the surface.
Despite the book’s darker topics, Lopresti ends it on a hopeful, if cautious note. It’s likely to attract a fair amount of teen readers because it has an appealing plot and is well written. It would benefit from stronger character development, but it’s still a strong contender when it comes to teen appeal.
Bright Coin Moon by Kirsten Lopresti. Sky Pony Press: 2015. Library copy.