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Night of the Purple Moon (Toucan, #1) - Scott Cramer (I was given an electronic copy of this book by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.)

Virtually everyone on Earth is looking forward to seeing the purple moon they’ve been promised for months. The planet will pass through the tail of a comet, creating weeks of colourful sunsets and sunrises for them to enjoy. What they’re not expecting, though, is the space dust which has a devastating effect, killing off older teens and adults in just hours. Abby Leigh, her brother Jordan, and their neighbours Kevin and Emily are left frantically trying to look after the other children on their small island. Can they survive until a cure is found? As well as the problems in feeding and caring for themselves and a bunch of smaller children, they’re all too aware that it’s a race against time – because Abby, and some of the others, are getting close to puberty themselves.

This is a fairly strange way to start a review of a sci-fi book, but what really got me about Night of the Purple Moon was how realistic it felt. Everything after the initial deaths due to the dust seems to be incredibly well thought out, both in the way in which characters act and the effects their actions have. Similarly, the characters – especially Abby and Emily – are very well-developed and this makes it gut-wrenching when bad things happen to them. (And believe me, some very bad things happen to some of them – I was stunned by how dark it got at points.) I also had a soft spot for Abby’s two-year-old sister Toucan, an incredibly cute toddler.

Given how easy it is to fall for these characters, I found it to be a gripping book because I was desperate to find out what happened to them. I read the last two-thirds while sitting in a dentist’s waiting room about to have a filling, and it completely took the thought of the upcoming procedure out of my head – no mean feat given my general dread of dental visits!

Strong recommendation as a really impressive novel. I’m hoping Scott Cramer releases something else in the near future!