Title: The Sun and the Moon
Author: Willa M. Scantlebury
Genre: YA / Contemporary Romance / LGBTQ
The Sun and the Moon by Willa M. Scantlebury follows the best friendship of Robin and Tommy through their formative high school and college years and into their early twenties. Although Robin has always wanted more than friendship, Tommy’s trying to come to terms with coming out. Their lives take them on two trajectories, Robin to the Adirondack Mountains and Tommy to the heart of Manhattan, as they explore love interests of their own, and their friendship is put to the test.
The Sun and the Moon is a strong story about how best friends can endure through changing times. The narrative is very slice-of-life, as everyone’s drifted apart from a close friend at one point, which makes this story quite relatable. Yet the friendships that persevere through changing times come out stronger. Robin and Tommy meet at a young age and attend school together. Although they have disagreements and awkward moments, it’s evident they are each other’s “person”—the one whom the other calls when they need someone to bare their heart to.
The author tackles relevant and sometimes difficult subjects, such as a young gay man coming to terms with his sexuality. While Robin has always loved Tommy and hoped he loved her as more than a best friend, she wonders why he holds back. They attend prom together their senior year, but they never get together. Years later, she challenges him, and Tommy’s struggle with his sexuality becomes clear. The author handles the delicacy of his feelings with care and authenticity. In a world where coming out can be daunting, reading about a character who struggles to accept this as part of his identity is important and can prove relatable, and perhaps comforting, to some readers. Especially since the target audience for this novel are young adults and the character is of that age group, a young person reading The Sun and the Moon may further find Tommy’s story compelling and relevant.
The narrative is told from different points of view in third-person limited, although usually from Robin’s point of view. Scantlebury uses dialogue effectively throughout to bring the characters to life and show what they are feeling; however, because Tommy does not have as many pages devoted to his point of view, some of his thought patterns and actions are harder to follow or understand. Tommy’s story feels like the more poignant of the two, so more pages to tell his point of view would help clarify portions.
The point of view shifts to a more minor character, Daisy, a few times, which feels out of place with the rest of the narrative. There are also a few minor grammatical issues sprinkled throughout, but they don’t detract from the narrative.
The Sun and the Moon is a compelling coming-of-age story about enduring friendships in a modern-day setting. Willa M. Scantlebury’s novel will appeal to young adults who may relate to characters in the same age range as they discover who they are and what they want out of life. The Sun and the Moon stresses the importance of how a best friend’s support is vital when dealing with the struggles of one’s sexuality.
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