Footprints On The Moon by Lorraine Marwood
Genre: Historical Verse novel, #LoveOzYA/MG
Publication: February 2nd, 2021
Publisher: University of Queensland Press
Source: @AusYaBloggers Tour
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Humans are about to leave footprints on the moon, but what sort of mark can one girl make here on earth?
It’s 1969 and life is changing fast. Sharnie Burley is starting high school and finding it tough to make new friends. As the world waits to see if humans will land on the moon, the Vietnam War rages overseas. While her little cousin, Lewis, makes pretend moon boots, young men are being called up to fight, sometimes without having any choice in the matter. Sometimes without ever coming home.
Dad thinks serving your country in a war is honourable, but when Sharnie’s older sister, Cas, meets a returned soldier and starts getting involved in anti-war protests, a rift in their family begins to show. Sharnie would usually turn to her grandma for support, but lately Gran’s been forgetting things.
Can she find her own way in this brave new world?
About The Author: Lorraine Marwood was born and raised in rural Victoria and has lived for most of her married life on a dairy farm with her husband and their six children. Lorraine is an award-winning poet who has been widely published in literary magazines across Australia, as well as magazines in the UK, USA, New Zealand and Canada. She has also published several children’s novels and collections of poetry.
Set in 1969 this verse novel by award-winning Aussie poet Lorraine Marwood follows the life of Sharnie as she navigates the first year of high school. Not only is Sharnie dealing with everything that happens when you start growing up – Friendships changing, making new friends and losing old, learning how to navigate bullies and the rules of high school – she can also tell her Grandma mind is starting to slip, that’s already so much to deal with emotionally, and I haven’t even touched on the War and Moon landings.
At the start of the book, Sharnie and her sister Cas are starting to drift apart. I loved seeing them coming back together by the end of the book, it was one of the highlights for me. As was Sharnie growing as a person and coming to realize how complicated life and the big and wild world is. Another highlight was Sharnie embracing Gail, whose brother was killed Vietnam War, and the beautiful and meaningful friendship they develop.
The moon landing plot was always in the background, and with the addiction of Sharnie’s space-obsessed little cousin, it provided relief from what is actually a very sad story. I will be honest and say that I cried A LOT reading this book, every time their Grandma was mentioned it ripped me apart.
The War, conscription, and anti-war protests also feature heavily, but nothing is ever so descriptive that this book would be unsuitable for young audiences. I actually think this book is a magnificent time capsule for 1969 Australia – but this story is also timeless and universal, and one I will be encouraging my boys to read once they are a little older.