Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Luna Rising

Rate this book
Life begins at thirty-eight for Long Island mom and writer Luna Lampanelli, when she kicks her secretly gay husband to the curb. She's got her freedom, but what she wants is love. Luna knows she doesn't need a man to exist, but try telling that to her heart. Against the advice of Sunny, her snarky best friend, and Jiminy, the cautioning voice in Luna's head who just won't shut up, Luna sets course to find a mate. Luna speed and on-line dates her way into several short-lived, surreal relationships. There's Ari, the humorless Israeli who refuses to assimilate – to America, and to humanity. There's Alex, the young and handsome ex-crackhead who informs Luna he doesn't want to be monogamous—while they're in bed. There's Memphis, the wild-eyed sadomasochist. There's Red, angry and crippled, who becomes the catalyst for Luna to join Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous. But before Luna can proceed to recovery, she meets the elusive but oh so appealing Trip. He's emotionally unavailable and has the Madonna-Whore Complex, but how can Luna (aka "whore") let him go when she enjoys his dry wit so much, and his body even more? Humorously haunting and packed with unspeakable truths, follows a woman's funny and heart-breaking struggle to relate with un-relatable men and an un-relatable world, and to figure out something even more un-relatable: herself.

450 pages, Paperback

Published June 25, 2017

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Selene Castrovilla

25 books167 followers
Selene Castrovilla is the award-winning and critically acclaimed author of fifteen books. Jacqueline Woodson, National Book Award winner, calls her “a writer worth watching.” 

Her book REVOLUTIONARY FRIENDS: GENERAL GEORGE WASHINGTON AND THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE (Calkins Creek Books) is used in classrooms around the country.

SEEKING FREEDOM: THE UNTOLD STORY OF FORTRESS MONROE AND THE ENDING OF SLAVERY IN AMERICA (illustrated by E.B. Lewis) releases from Calkins Creek Books on January 4, 2022 — the same day as her Scholastic book, EXPLORING CIVIL RIGHTS: THE MOVEMENT: 1960.

Kirkus Review of SEEKING FREEDOM:

Twenty years in the making, THIS IS TAP: SAVION GLOVER BRINGS IN HIS FUNK (illustrated by Laura Freeman), releases from Holiday House spring, 2023.

Selene holds an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School and a BA in English from New York University. Her books examine humanity. She wonders why people do the things they do, and whether they act by choice or instinct. Please visit https://linktr.ee/selenecastrovilla.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
7 (21%)
4 stars
13 (40%)
3 stars
6 (18%)
2 stars
4 (12%)
1 star
2 (6%)
Displaying 1 - 18 of 18 reviews
September 18, 2017
I didn’t absolutely love Luna Rising…but I will say that this book really spoke to me on a deep level and sometimes that is even more important that liking or loving a read.

In Luna Rising, Selene Castrovilla expertly creates a character in Luna that I think many women can relate to deeply…even though most probably would not admit it.

Luna appears to be your typical Long Island mom and soon to be divorcee but there is much more here than what you see at first glance. Luna has a history of sublimating herself and her happiness for others…a history of settling. When she finally kicks her (secretly gay and money mooching) husband to the curb it’s not even so much because of how he treated (or didn’t treat) her…but more because she knows at long last that this is not healthy for her children.

We hope that this is the start of a new chapter in her life but she immediately gets back on the same bicycle and tries to fill the void in her heart with an endless stream of guys that she makes excuses for and settles on despite the advice of her best friend and her inner voice.

At times humorous but mostly just devastatingly honest and saddening…I think that Castrovilla exposes a deep dark secret that many women share…sometimes…we are so desperate for love that we hold on to any relationship that comes our way…even if it seems so obvious to others (and to ourselves if we look close enough) that said relationship is unhealthy.

To be honest, I was frustrated to no end by how little she thought of her own worth to keep seeing these guys that were so clearly wrong. At one point, I almost stopped reading…it was just too much for me.

Luckily for Luna, with the unconditional love of her best friend Sunny, the pearls of wisdom from her chiropractor Dr. Gold, her inner voice Jiminy (yes like the cricket…lol) and most importantly her sponsor and gym trainer Joe {I loved Joe!}, she is finally able to let go and come to grips with what really matters in life. She is finally able to accept and forgive herself and those around her and move forward in a healthy way.

Her mom Loreena, Aunt Zelda and kids…especially Ben…round out a great cast of supporting characters. Luna Rising would not have been the same without them.
Profile Image for Lisa Aiello.
876 reviews22 followers
August 21, 2017
I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for my honest review.

For those of you who have navigated through the freakshow of that rite of passage known as adult dating, I present to you, Luna...who truly is experiencing that phenomenon. Ending her marriage as an almost 40-something woman, to a closet gay man addicted to porn, she finds herself in disastrous relationship after disastrous relationship. If you ever thought YOUR man picker was off, well, Luna will make you feel like you are a champion!!! This story is oftentimes both funny and sad, as we join Luna try to figure out herself and her relationship with men, her mother, her father, her ex-husband, her children, her best friend, and her inner voice (who she calls Jiminy).

It was a delightful, if long, read!
Profile Image for Joli.
416 reviews138 followers
February 14, 2017
Rating 4.5 out of 5

I jumped at the chance to read the adult novel LUNA RISING by Selene Castrovilla. I discovered her books when I first read MELT, the first of her Rough Romance Trilogy, and fell in love with her writing.

What I liked:

*The "stats" on the characters as they are introduced. It was a quick way to know about a character, and I especially liked finding out - what they read (or don't read) says a lot about a person.
*Her friendship with Sunny - they are at similar places in their lives, but take different approaches to relationships. Their interactions add a lot of humor to the story.
*Her relationship with her Aunt Zelda. The love between them is evident.
*So much Chinese food - by the end of the book (or maybe even the middle) I was craving some Hot and Sour soup

I thought it was just crazy how quick Luna was to jump right into relationships. She was seeking connection and companionship, and comfort, and oftentimes confused that for love. She was starved for love. She needed it as much as she needed air.

Some of my favorites scenes are when Luna visits her chiropractor for adjustments and some enlightenment and "therapy" instead of seeing a therapist. There she gets centered and finds balace - in her body, and sometimes in her mind. I wish some of my experiences seeing my chiropractor were like hers. And like her chiropractor, I believe "Everything always works out."

Memorable Quote:
"Sometimes you have to clear your path before you can continue down it."

Luna experiences a lot of personal growth and self-realization that a lot of readers can relate to. We are always changing, always observing, always learning, and always growing. We don't always recognize when it is happening, but when it does, it can make us feel powerful. And when Luna experiences it, she is happy with just being.

LUNA RISING is an enjoyable read - filled with humor and wit. I'm looking forward to reading more adult novels by Selene Castrovilla.
Profile Image for Deitre .
329 reviews329 followers
February 21, 2017

Not every life is centered around a big home, white fence, large porch, 2 parents, kids and healthy relationships. Instead it could be clouded with confusion and uncertainties. Such was the case for Luna. A middle aged woman seeking to find her way. Seeking to find love and that perfect relationship. She wanted it. Felt she deserved it. However, just wasn’t sure how to capture it. Her “Jiminy” was always there twenty-four seven, sitting on her shoulder, waiting on the horizon to provide guidance, support, feedback and cautions. Her “Jiminy” or inner voice spoke to her throughout Luna Rising. This different perspective was a nice addition to the voice of this story centered around Luna’s desire to be happy. She tried to rise above it all and get what she really wanted in a relationship. But will she rise high enough? Selene Castrovilla has created an adult novel packed with lots of angst and humor centered around Luna’s journey towards trial, after trial in her search for love and happiness.

Profile Image for Kimberley.
336 reviews45 followers
March 15, 2017
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review:

The writing in this book is well-paced, and sure to keep you turning pages. Luna, however, is annoyingly unprepared for the evolution she is immediately forced to undertake upon deciding it's time to divorce her philandering husband.

Her story is told in reverse order: we meet her in the present (where she's suddenly dealing with an epiphany), but we're taken back to the beginning of her journey, so we can see how she arrives at said conclusion.

We learn almost immediately that Luna doesn't know how/want to be alone.

Once divorced, from her philandering husband, she goes on a spree of dating a plethora of men who can only be described as the worst choices ever: a recovering crack addict, a CraigsList moron, a date rapist, etc.

They're quite awful to say the least.

Despite being given advice by every sane person around her, including a friend who may or may not need a bit of her own counseling, Luna feels compelled to learn the idiocy of her dating choices the hard way.

The story is painful to read because it shows a pattern of bad decisions, by Luna, based on what is obviously an emotionally bankrupt set of ideals about what 'love' is supposed to be--she realizes the root of the problem later, but not before you want to throttle her.

If Luna weren't so utterly clueless, she might have been more likable, but her inability to make choices--especially when the right ones are obvious (even to her)--was extremely frustrating.

By the time she figures things out, I didn't care. I just wanted her story to end.

To be fair, Luna is not an unrealistic character. I know women like Luna. However, I don't relate to them because, at some point, you have to recognize the common denominator and learn from your mistakes.

Luna exhausted my goodwill towards her long before she reached the aforementioned epiphany.

It wasn't a terrible read. There were some funny parts, and I could appreciate the kinship she had with Sunny (her best friend), but I didn't much care for it by the time I was done.

Profile Image for Kathleen.
1,395 reviews35 followers
February 22, 2017
Luna Rising is a compelling women's fiction story that easily draws the reader into the drama and emotions that come with the complexity of life, the dynamics of relationships, learning to confront one's past, heal, and move forward. Set in Long Island, the reader can't help but get drawn into thirty-eight year old Luna Lampanelli's story as she discovers that the life that she has been living is not what she wants anymore, so she embarks on a personal journey of self-discovery and search for love and happiness.

Author Selene Castrovilla weaves an intriguing and humorous debut women's fiction story that will easily keep the reader engaged and turning the pages. This wonderfully realistic story provides much food for thought as Luna's tries to figure out what she really wants in life in order to find love and happiness. Luna's story has a great mixture of humor, drama, angst, heartbreak, and crazy trials and tribulations, but her journey of personal discovery is realistic, compelling, and very empowering, it is the kind of story that anyone can relate to, and you can't help but cheer Luna on as she finds her way and embraces her true self.

Luna Rising is a wonderful debut women's fiction story of personal self-discovery and learning to move forward in one's life.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Jen Halligan PR.

Profile Image for Reeca Elliott.
1,184 reviews14 followers
September 24, 2017
This novel is about making mistakes in life. And righting those mistakes without taking yourself for granted. 
Luna divorced her dead beat husband and is exploring her new found freedom. She makes some HUGE mistakes along the way. After Luna's 20th or so mistake (yes I embellished), the story got a little monotonous. She continues to make the same bad judgements and sometimes dangerous decisions. She never learns from her mistakes. This got old for me toward the end of the book. However, I did enjoy Luna. She was just a little flighty and I wanted to "Gibbs slap" her many times.
I know it sounds like I did not enjoy this read but it is actually funny, charming and a little risqué. A perfect read for any day of the week!
Profile Image for vvb.
557 reviews14 followers
February 24, 2017
3.5 rating

This story explores the contemporary singles scene as a newly divorced mother of two young children.

Navigating through the dating world and trying to forge relationships to avoid singledom is the focus. The theme "looking for love in all the wrong places" hits home with this read. At some points it was frustrating and painful to see the main character, Luna, make the choices she did.

Loved Luna's best friend, Sunny, who provided a chuckle or two.

A lot of inner dialogue going on, so beware if you are not into this.
Profile Image for Annina Luck Wildermuth.
203 reviews1 follower
November 28, 2017
I couldn't put this book down--was drawn into Luna's world of crazy match.com dating and balancing that with her career as a writer, her friendships, her children, and coming to terms with her parents and childhood. Great moments in this book where she has self-realizations and loved the humor and the chats Luna had with her conscience. I hope there is another one, although this one ends nicely.
Profile Image for Karen DelleCava.
Author 1 book13 followers
March 13, 2019
Spending time with Luna is like spending time with a real friend. Luna is frustrated, funny, forgiving and above all loving. Her relationships with her children, best friend, and dear aunt are a treasure but what about romantic love? Soon to be divorced and driven by her need for love and romance, Luna dives into one disastrous relationship after another. I held on tight for the ride always praying--because some of these situations were terrifying--that she’d come out okay.

With a good dose of humor, snappy dialogue and a cast of quirky and believable characters, Selene Castrovilla captures the sad and frustrating realities of dating in your late thirties. If you can’t relate on a personal level, I’d guess you have a friend, cousin or neighbor just like Luna.

For years, I’ve admired Selene Castrovilla’s work. I’ve read all and reviewed (most of) her young adult novels. It was no surprise how much I enjoyed her first novel for adults. May Luna rise to the top of your “To Read” pile.
Profile Image for Doris.
411 reviews5 followers
February 1, 2019
Luna Rising is the type of book that you have to really read, I mean, really absorb the words. The author, Selene Castrovilla truly has a way of telling a story that seems it could be about you, or your best friend; so as you read you are learning and growing with the characters.
Luna is our main focus, and her main focus is why her life is in the crapper. How has she come to this place in life with the men that have come across her path? How have her choices molded and formed who she is?
I really liked to see each relationship and how she sees them from not only her perspective, but her best friend, and family also chime in at times.
Written from Luna's perspective, we watch her go from time to time, and relationship to relationship. We see her with her mother and father, her children, her best friend, and those relationships... ah!!!
I loved it, and I loved getting to know Luna.
Well written, engaging, and absolutely true to self!
Profile Image for Shannon.
301 reviews31 followers
September 16, 2017
I love reading books that feature authors as the protagonist. It’s like reading a book within a book.

“Luna Rising” is a charming, and painfully relatable book about the heartbreak of divorce and the pitfalls of “getting back out there”.

Luna finally breaks up with the father of her children, after she’s decided that she will no longer be a beard for her closeted husband. She show’s incredible strength and resolve during this painful process but ironically subjects herself to the dredges of the dating pool, as she’s so desperate for love and affection.

This book is all about Luna dealing with her childhood demons and how they play into her search for love.

The writing is excellent and Luna possesses a little bit of all of us. As someone who has been divorced, I can definitely relate, especially when it came to dating again, though perhaps my history isn’t as colourful lol.

This book will have you laughing, reaching for the kleenex box, and shaking your head in disbelief. If this is your cup of tea, then I think you’ll really like it.

Rating… B+
Profile Image for M.
56 reviews4 followers
June 27, 2017

While the story was interesting, I felt like it was too slow-paced and there was just too much unnecessary internal dialogue.
It was an enjoyable read, but not all that memorable.

ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
April 10, 2017
Award winning children’s book writer, Selene Castovilla, has brought her immense writing skills to her first adult novel, Luna Rising. Luna is a heroic character who survives a rough childhood and a tough divorce—and who at 38, is looking for real love. Love takes many forms. Sections of the book in which Luna’s wise-beyond-his-years son tries to process the divorce are especially poignant. Readers will be swept along though Luna’s funny and moving misadventures in the dating world. When something seems wrong--Luna takes unconventional and amusing paths to discover greater self-love and more authentic connection to others. Readers will find Luna Rising an earthy, raw, honest, funny and touching read about an imperfect person trying her best. National Book Award Winner, Jacqueline Woodson has said that “Selene Castrovilla is a writer worth watching.” Now is a good time to watch!

E. Upton
Profile Image for Jane.
18 reviews1 follower
June 3, 2018
This book is a well-written book down that I loved. The world of Luna Lampanelli's is crazy and then she finds out her husband is a closet gay. Then she joins match.com dating, and it all goes topsy turvy. Trying to balance dating with her career as a writer, her friendships, her children, and dealing with her c her parents and childhood. Reading this book will take you through her funny and moving adventures in in a new dating life. Things go crazy Luna turns to unconventional amusing and not so sane avenues to find her true self and to find a new life. This book is a great read and will find you feeling empathy, joy, laughter and even tears for Luna.
Displaying 1 - 18 of 18 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.