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Dead Girl Moon

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As their hardscrabble lives intertwine in a small, corrupt Montana town, Grace, a scheming runaway, JJ, her drifty fostercare sister, and Mick, the son of a petty thief, discover the body of a young woman. Afraid to come forward, the teens try to hide their knowledge of the crime, because they believe the murderer is one of the corrupt officials and businessmen who rule their town. But after a series of false moves and dumb mistakes, the teens are soon suspects themselves in a murder investigation threatening their freedom—and maybe their lives.

272 pages, Hardcover

First published October 30, 2012

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Charlie Price

11 books17 followers

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5 stars
16 (16%)
4 stars
18 (18%)
3 stars
36 (36%)
2 stars
20 (20%)
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9 (9%)
Displaying 1 - 28 of 28 reviews
Profile Image for Jon.
599 reviews627 followers
April 20, 2013
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I had extremely high expectations for Dead Girl Moon. I loved the description and decided to read it even though none of my friends had read it. What I expected to be an intense mystery turned out to be pretty mediocre.

The problem with Dead Girl Moon is not with the concept but with the way it's executed. There's little to no tension in Dead Girl Moon, everything should be alot more intense. When a girl just dies in a book, the reader should be on the edge of his/her seat. Truthfully I didn't care that this girl died or about any of the characters because Dead Girl Moon lacked emotion! I may sound like a heartless jerk but an author has to form an emotional connection with the reader and I didn't feel any emotion.



The characters in Dead Girl Moon are pretty one-dimensional and flat. They didn't surprise me in any way and they all just were so predictable. They weren't really realistically done and I just didn't care for them in any way. There really wasn't anything noteworthy or special about any of the characters and I never really established a connection with any of them.

Plotwise, Dead Girl Moon moves at a sluggish pace and I quickly lost interest in the story. There was nothing special about the mystery in this book, it was a pretty generic mystery. I wanted to enjoy Dead Girl Moon but I couldn't bear to keep reading. I struggled to keep on reading and personally cleaning my room would have been more tempting at times. I have read so many mystery novels and this book didn't add anything special to the genre. This book pretty much followed the basic mystery storyline and there were no plot twists. I kept on reading because I thought maybe Charlie Price would surprise me with an insane plot twist. Even if there was a shocking plot twist, I doubt I would have cared because I was so bored with Dead Girl Moon.

Dead Girl Moon was a very disappointing book, I was extremely let down. There was nothing remotely unique or special about this book that would differentiate it from all other mysteries. The best way to describe Dead Girl Moon is a bland and unoriginal book. Don't get me wrong, Dead Girl Moon isn't a bad book. It's a decent read if you're in the mood for a simple mystery. If you're in the mood for an intense thriller, I'm afraid this isn't the book for you.
Profile Image for Sarah.
72 reviews20 followers
March 9, 2013


I would recommend this book for readers particularly interested in mysteries and more of an adult take on the subject as opposed to regular YA readers.

Between JJ, Mick and Grace, I'd argue that the latter is the main character as you start and end the novel from her perspective and you're given a thorough view of her life. The issue I take there is that she has the least character development of the three protagonists. JJ has probably the least insight given into her character but she was easily my favourite. She clearly finds her inner strength as the novel progresses, which was refreshing given Grace's lack of advancement. As for Mick, I didn't understand his character motivation half the time. His decisions seemed flawed as a result of the writing style and not his character. In other words, his actions didn't always make sense to me.

I mostly enjoyed the first 80 and last 80 pages, and found myself struggling to get through the ones inbetween. It seemed to me that the middle was meant to have less action and be more about character development but it didn't focus enough on any of the characters to give me a greater sense of their deeper thoughts.

I do have to say that I was groaning as I approached the ending and thinking it was going to be predictable, and it surprised me for sure. It was really nice to end on a high note plot wise.
Profile Image for Alma .
1,144 reviews8 followers
October 26, 2012
After being sexually abused by her brothers, Grace runs away and creates a new life for herself in the small town of Portage. Mick has spent his life running from the law with his criminal dad. When they find themselves in Portage, he hopes to finally set down some roots.

Read the rest of my review on my blog, and don't forget to "Like" my blog so you'll read my "Dear Teen Me" letter to my teen self set to go "live" this Saturday: http://shouldireaditornot.wordpress.c...
Profile Image for Lauren.
676 reviews75 followers
October 17, 2012
Price's dark new novel starts off with a shocking bang and never stops! The story of a small town bloated with sinister secrets and corruption and the three teens at its mercy, "Dead Girl Moon" is a gritty, but worthwhile read!
January 14, 2020
Imagine running away from a world to start over, but ending up in an even worse dilemma. The novel “Dead Girl Moon” by Charlie Price brings this scenario to life. This mystery involves three teenagers, Grace, Mick, and JJ, who all move to Montana to escape their crummy backgrounds. Grace is sixteen years old and she ran away to escape her sexually abusive brothers, Mick is sixteen years old and he moved here with his father, who is a thief, they are always on the run, and JJ is a fourteen-year-old orphan who took Grace into her home with her alcoholic aunt and uncle. The three friends discover the body of young women while swimming in the river. They quickly make assumptions and compose theories about the alleged murderer. They all came to the agreement that the murderer was one of the dishonorable businessmen who rule the town of Portage. After mistakenly calling 911, Mick soon realizes that he put the target on the three of them. How will the three friends get out of this sticky situation?
This book is written from multiple perspectives. In each chapter, either Grace, Mick, or JJ tells the story from their point of view. This book is written very strangely and the author often skips over bits and pieces of the book that would seem to be slightly important. For example, towards the beginning of the book, the author talks about how Grace is walking to work after school and she notices Mackler, the man who helped Grace get a job with Hammond, waiting outside the school for her and asking if she wants to go for a drive. After Grace declined, the author ended the chapter. There was no elaboration as to why Mackler was there and why he wanted to take Grace for a drive. It would be different if the author talked about it again, but the main idea of the rest of the book was about how the three friends found the dead body and how they became suspects. I do not believe that this novel’s layout was effective, it made the book seem very confusing at times. However, I like how the three main characters all bond over their troublesome past. They are trying to forget their past and move on with their lives.
I didn’t genuinely enjoy this book, but I would recommend it to anyone who appreciates a transparent mystery. I love mysteries and thrillers because I crave the feeling of suspense, but “Dead Girl Moon” didn’t emanate that feeling. I noticed at the beginning of the novel it took the author multiple chapters to get on with the story to show the part where the three friends meet. Even though the author spent so much time introducing the characters, Charlie Price still didn’t thoroughly explain the character’s background. I feel as if the author should’ve gone into a little more depth on their lives. The book started off explaining how Grace was sexually abused at home, and then on the next page, she was running away to Montana. I consider this novel as a classic “whodunnit” murder mystery. As a reader, once I read past the climax in this text I could easily predict the ending of this book. “Dead Girl Moon” was adequate read, but I don’t recommend it to anyone who wants to be kept on their toes throughout the book.


146 reviews
July 12, 2017
This was actually somewhat entertaining up until it ended and I actually thought for 2 seconds about it. There are way too many threads that are left incomplete, too many seemingly big details that are later ignored or forgotten and the ending is abrupt and downright lazy. The author introduces some BIG subjects (sexual abuse, incest, drug abuse, child abuse, sexual harassment, alcoholism, teenage prostitution, mental illness--to name a few) and then does very little with them. This strikes me as rather irresponsible for a YA novel, especially as many of the themes are treated rather ambiguously. The way some things are treated, I could definitely see younger readers wondering whether handcuffing a child to table and drugging them is actually child abuse if the child is like Jon and whether turning tricks in an alley is all that bad if the girl chooses to do it and chooses which johns to accept. These aren't exactly issues that young readers should be left feeling confused about.

The plot revolving around the main clue of the murder also falls apart in the end. It's like the author couldn't decide who the murderer should be (and in the end both the actual murder and the killer are very inconsequential to the story) and so left the plot of the ring open-ended until he decided but then never bothered to close it up. In the end, too many characters have too many observations about it and it is left making no sense whatsoever.

It would also be nice if the author could come up with a complete sentence more than 40% of the time. On the plus side, the narration is very interesting and the author gets the pov of clueless teenagers with varying degrees of self-absorption very right, even if the writing style (choppy) is the same throughout.

In the end I'm left wondering what was the main storyline. Corrupt small-town businessmen lose their empire due to loud-mouth 10 year old? Small-time pot grower with a number of questionable morals but who is definitely not evil, exactly, dies from probable coke use while driving at high speeds? Fifteen year old runaway who does not kill her brothers maybe gets saved from life of turning tricks and scheming with older men by other idiot teenagers who might be her friends? Idiot teenager with criminal father dreams of playing football but keeps making too many bone-headed decisions to ever get there? Personally, I'm going for 10 year old with probable fetal alcohol syndrome, ADHD and who-knows-what-else breaks free from squalid living conditions and consequently brings down a small-town/state crime syndicate, brings a murder to light, gets his father busted for child abuse, his mother a much needed residential treatment facility, makes his cousin a ward of the state and frees an idiot, navel-gazing teenager from his criminal father. Actually, that description really might be the best one. And with all of this, I have wasted WAY more of my time than I ever should have with this stupid book.
Profile Image for Patsy.
623 reviews8 followers
April 24, 2018
I really like Charlie's style of writing. To me, it seems he writes in the way teenagers think, although I know some who cuss a lot worse than his characters do. But since I don't like reading too much bad language, I think the way he handles this makes reading his novels more fun for me.

I don't normally review the whole story of a novel for fear of spoilers. I also don't read reviews that reveal the whole plot; that takes away the fun of reading the book for me.

So all I am going to say is that for me, this is a coming-of-age story for three teenagers, especially Mick. Two girls befriend him, they fall into an unfortunate situation that is difficult to deal with, and well...read it.

It is fast-paced which I also like. Charlie has great cliffhangers at the end of the chapters that make me want to keep reading.

Lastly, I had the pleasure of hearing meeting him and hearing him speak a couple of weeks ago at our local Writers Forum meeting which he is still a member of even though he doesn't live in this area anymore and can't attend meetings regularly. I enjoyed his talk about what he went through to get published.

Charlie Price is personable and gracious. And he signed my book! :-)

5 reviews
January 29, 2019
The embattled lives of three teenagers entangle with the murder of a teenage prostitute in a depressed Montana town, in a mystery that draws in power and class struggles, drugs, sex, and economic and personal helplessness.
Profile Image for Kathy Martin.
3,296 reviews73 followers
November 6, 2012
This is a hard one to talk about. I didn't really like one of the main characters. Grace was abused by her older brothers, ignored by her mother when she told her about it, and has run away from home. She finally runs out of money when she gets to Portage, Montana. In Portage she runs into an "old boy" network that finds her a place to live with a drugged out marijuana salesman, his alcoholic wife and son with fetal alcohol syndrome. They also find her a job working in the cafe and cleaning the motel. Soon she is involved in finding out local secrets and scamming the people the "old boys" set her on.

Also living there is JJ who is the niece of the wife and who is reacting to her living situation by concentrating on school athletics and creating fantasies about the moon. Living next door is Mick whose father is a petty thief on the run after the last town got too hot for him. This isn't the first time this has happened to Mick and his dad either. All Mick really wants is a home, a family, and a place where he can stay and be a normal kid.

These three misfits hang out together and band together against the school bullies. There is some tension withing the threesome as JJ is interested in Mick who is interested in Grace and Grace is only interested in making enough money to move on and be independent. These three are swimming one day when they stumble on the body of a young woman. At first they decide to pretend it never happened as none of their home lives could bear the scrutiny of a police investigation. But Mick calls 911 from a payphone and trouble follows.

Watching each of the three as they deal with the consequences of their discovery and as they learn about themselves was interesting. I liked seeing JJ come into her own and show that she wasn't the dreamy character she seemed like at the beginning. I like how Mick realized that he could go alone and didn't have to keep following after her law-breaking father.

What I didn't like was how Grace really didn't change. She was still looking for a way to scam the system at the end of the story as she had in the beginning. The only real change was that she had more tools for the scamming as the result of her experiences in Portage. She was still willing to betray or double-cross anyone if it looked like it would benefit her.

This was an interesting mystery though the "whodunnit" wasn't as important as the maneuvering and various conspiracies that were uncovered about the town. Fans of realistic fiction who like stories about kids in tough situations will enjoy this one.
Profile Image for Unabridged Bookshelf.
249 reviews10 followers
January 12, 2013
Dead Girl Moon is about dirty politics, murder, and damaged teens. With a setting in my home state, I thought I would enjoy the setting. I however was not impressed, by not only the setting, but the story as well. The idea is not a bad one, but certain elements had me discouraged from the beginning. I will say I did finish the whole thing, and I liked the murder mystery behind the story.

The murder mystery of the young women was decent. The killer is unknown throughout the book until the very end. It is what made me stick through to the very end, but it is the only reason I stuck through until the end. If other elements such as characters and other story lines would have been more believable, I think I would have enjoyed Dead Girl Moon.

The main character Grace comes from a very abuse home, and runs away to Montana. The first unbelievable story line starts there. Upon walking into Social Services, Grace is direct to the office of a man in league with other corrupt officials that run the town. He manages to place her in foster care without asking anything except her name, which of course she made up, and a five-minute conversation. No birth certificate, date of birth, or anything identify paperwork what so ever. He also manages to get her a job, without a social security number, and a foster home with a drug dealer. I know that this is supposed to show the dirty politics and corruption of the local government, but it is not realistic in the slightest.

I also could not get behind any of the characters, they just felt very one dimensional to me. Without a plausible story line and under developed characters, I just could not connect with the story. I hate giving a bad or negative review, but a lot about this book did not sit right with me. I think the murder mystery was a great plot development, but the story surrounding it could have been more fleshed out and realistic. It is not a horrible book, it is just not a great one.

**Unabridged Bookshelf received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review**
2 reviews
June 7, 2016
The book Dead Girl Moon is a book by Charlie Price and it is about a young girl named grace, who is a risky runaway, her troubled foster sister JJ, and and their friend mick, the son of a thief . They all come from very different backgrounds so it was nice to have a range of character personalities and different points of views. All of these somewhat troubled kids wound up finding a dead body of a young woman, terrified the kids kept quiet because they thought they knew who it was.

The first main character that we meet is a young girl named Grace. She is a runaway girl because of her brother but she still thought of every plan she could imagine before going through with it. Before she left she was greatly worried about her sister, but it obviously didn’t stop her. The next main character we get introduced to is another girl named JJ, she is a foster child and foster sister to grace. She has been in multiple homes but this home seems to be the one she has lived in the longest. When Grace arrives to this home they are very welcoming but when she meets JJ wshe tells her right away how everyone in the house acts. The boss is a busy man that works almost all the time, his wife sits at home and watches tv, never gets off the couch, and finally the son is a young one. He is 5 years old and throws tantrums all the time because his mom doesn’t interact with him, he often just sits in the corner of the kitchen.
Profile Image for Savannah (Books With Bite).
1,399 reviews183 followers
October 4, 2012
Wanting a good mystery, I decided to dive into this book. it gave me the thrills and chills that I needed.

The books starts off with kids who are "not important." Their runaways, troublemakers, banding together to finally have the friendship and family that they need. While doing so, they find a dead body, who some how connects to everyone. Once your in the book, the books move swiftly into action mode where you are on the run for your lives. if you like small town mysteries where their is corruption, you need to read this book.

I really like how all of them stepped in to protect each other. They thought about things smartly and even sacrifice what they had to help others. All the characters of the book were not what you expect them to be. They turns out to be smarter and tougher than anyone would have expected. I like that they grew before the readers eyes, along with each other. The form friendships and bonds that i know change them whole-heartily.

There wasn't much of a love interest, but lots of great friendships. You do see some romance forming, but with their past, it hard to trust or even take it farther then what they want.

Dead Girl Moon is an awesome thriller! Laced with action that is enjoyable, the story sets an excellent pace with readers. The drama of teens fighting to survive, paints a nice picture. Dead Girl Moon is great.
Profile Image for Donna.
1,431 reviews
November 22, 2012
Good mystery - too YA for the elementary crowd - but good story nonetheless.Grace, a runaway, meets up with Jj, her foster sister, and Mick, son of a thief, and life in the small town gets complicated. Each character has their own agenda and friendship means more to some than others. Throw in a murder, corrupt town officials, a conniving elderly neighbor, and you have a good mystery on your hands.
Profile Image for Mandy.
549 reviews
November 5, 2015
I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Thought this was going to be a really good book due to the description but was disappointed with not only the story but the fashion in which it was written. It was hard to follow and was poorly wrapped together without really explaining anything.
528 reviews
January 18, 2016
This was the second Charlie Price novel we've read (Desert Angel being the first), and if we judge by these two books... this author excels with writing about kids in horrible situations. As a parent, it makes my heart hurt. This one involves several teens in bad positions who discover a dead body and how things escalate from there.
Profile Image for Jennifer Smith.
8 reviews1 follower
June 23, 2013
This was an interesting mystery though the "whodunnit" wasn't as important as the maneuvering and various conspiracies that were uncovered about the town. Fans of realistic fiction who like stories about kids in tough situations will enjoy this one.
Profile Image for Louisa.
6,704 reviews30 followers
September 13, 2012
Really great book, really enjoyable, and just just really good! The ending was quite abrupt, but other then that, really enjoyed it!
Profile Image for Dystopian.
357 reviews53 followers
November 28, 2012
3.5 stars. The bad guys were a little underdeveloped, but the other characters are well fleshed out.
Profile Image for alexandra.
457 reviews10 followers
May 13, 2013
This grittiness of this short novel reminded me of Ellen Hopkins. I just couldn't imagine teens sticking with the story.
Profile Image for Kimberly Winship.
24 reviews4 followers
February 1, 2015
It was an ok book. It was hard to get into at times and felt like so much happened but at the same time nothing happened. Was hoping it would have been a lot better.
4 reviews
February 2, 2016
It's boring unclear and the killer is just some dude who's barely in the book.
1 review2 followers
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September 18, 2012
So far, this book is great. I will give a full review on thebookdealer.net.
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