Good Moon Rising

Good Moon Rising

by Nancy Garden

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Two teenage girls find unexpected love and confront homophobia in this Lambda Literary Award–winning novel from the author of Annie on My Mind.

An aspiring actress, Jan is sure she’ll get the lead role in her high school’s production of The Crucible—so she’s shocked when the part goes to a new student named Kerry. Even though she’s hurt and disappointed, Jan can’t imagine not being part of the production and accepts the position of stage manager.
As she begins to work with the cast, Jan and Kerry develop a friendship that soon grows into something more, which doesn’t go unnoticed by the arrogant male lead, Kent. When Kent spreads rumors throughout the whole school, Jan and Kerry become the center of another kind of witch hunt—one that threatens to destroy their new relationship and their self-worth.
Good Moon Rising is a moving novel anyone can relate to—“a story of the outrages heaped on any teenager suspected of being different” (Kirkus Reviews).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781504046640
Publisher: Open Road Media
Publication date: 09/05/2017
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 214,978
File size: 2 MB
Age Range: 12 - 18 Years

About the Author

Nancy Garden (1938–2014) is the author of the groundbreaking LGBT novel Annie on My Mind, as well as numerous other works of young adult fiction. She also wrote the YA nonfiction book Hear Us Out!, several novels for children, and the picture book Molly’s Family. Garden received the Margaret A. Edwards Award, the Lambda Literary Award, and the Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award.

Read an Excerpt


The dream again:

A bright circle of light on a dark stage and the three of them tightly in it: Jan herself and her fellow apprentices, Raphael and Corrin. No audience, no set, no other apprentices or actors from Jan's recently completed first season of summer stock; no sound or motion — just the three of them. Only ... only ...

Only Jan had no sense of why she was there, though she'd dreamed the same dream at least three times since she'd been home in the small town of Southview, New Hampshire. No idea, either, why Corrin, who'd been her roommate, and Raphael, her new friend, were watching her oddly. In the dream, Raphael's kind green eyes were uncharacteristically mocking, and beautiful Corrin seemed both startled and cold. It was as if they'd been bound into silence at the moment they'd tried to tell her something, or as if they'd been about to warn her of something they saw and she didn't ...

Covered with sweat, Jan woke in her small square room, reassuring herself with familiar objects: the battered pine desk where she'd struggled harder each year to do homework that meant less to her as her certainty about acting deepened; the script for this year's junior-senior play, Arthur Miller's The Crucible, on her bedside table; the bright rag rug that always slipped a little, as it did now, when she put her feet on it.

"Jan — Janna!" Her mother's rich voice, though it called insistently, was also reassuring.

It's only a dream, Jan told herself, trying to ignore the dread it had left with her. Not even a dream, really: a disturbing, plotless image. Just a picture, that was all.

"Jan! It's time! You don't want to be late on your first day of senior year!"

"Okay, Mom."

Jan pulled off the T-shirt she wore for sleeping, and fumbled in the still-dim room for her clothes. The image began to recede.

"Jan, your eggs are freezing. And Ted's here."

Guiltily, Jan let her eyes close for a moment, then opened them and sat down on her bed to put on her Nikes. Of course Ted would pick her up the first day of school, even though she'd written him only once all summer and hadn't called him since she'd been home. Good old loyal Teddy Bear, just about her best friend since fourth grade — until a certain awkward scene in his car last spring, which was one reason why she hadn't felt eager to get back in touch with him.

"Coming!" she called again. Then, reluctantly, "Hi, Ted!" She tugged her brush through her short unruly blond curls. "I'll be right down."

What a contrast Ted would be to Raphael, and the girls at school to Corrin! Not that she'd really gotten to know Corrin, in spite of rooming with her. Raphael was different. They'd become close so quickly that Jan had barely been surprised when he'd confided in her that he was gay and in love with Don Jeffords, one of the actors; it seemed to fit, to be right for him. But with Corrin, despite the intensity of their talks about theater, there had always been an odd distance, perhaps partly because her beauty had sometimes made Jan stare at her, until Raphael pointed out that the other apprentices might notice ...

"Hey, Janna, Janna Montcrief!" came Ted's familiar impatient voice, with a grin in it, and close, as if he'd come partway up the stairs. "How's the great actress? Any big contracts yet?"

"Not yet," Jan called down. "But the season's young." At least, she thought, putting the brush down and tucking her shirt into her jeans, I can still kid around with him, and he doesn't sound mad about my not having written. "Hot or cold out, Ted?" she shouted.


"So're your eggs," her mother called mournfully. "You could ski on them."

Jan grinned. Mom's funny comments had made Jan smile for as long as she could remember. "You should've been a comedian," Jan's now married and pregnant sister Anita had often told their mother. But "I like being a housewife" had always been Mom's reaction to any suggestion she be more than that. It was a good thing, though, Jan had thought sometimes, since for years their father had worked night and day building up his law practice, and was often out of town. This time he'd been away since the middle of the summer.

"Be right there," Jan shouted.

The dream image gone now, Jan tugged her old green sweatshirt over her head and started for the bathroom. Then she stopped: should she take the script to school?

Tryouts weren't till the following week, but she picked up Crucible anyway and propped it against the mouthwash bottle while she brushed her teeth. She didn't have to turn to the big scene between Elizabeth and John; she'd worked on it so often during the summer that the script fell open there by itself. Even if the play was basically John's — and hence Kent Norris's, who everyone knew would get the part — Elizabeth was an excellent role. Most girls at school, Jan knew, would want to play Abigail, the villain in this play about the seventeenth-century witch-hunt in Salem, Massachusetts — or they'd want Mary Warren, who'd almost but not quite had the courage to stop the terrible accusations that had led to so many cruel, unjustified hangings. Both parts were openly dramatic, calling for a good deal of hysteria and weeping. But quiet, withdrawn, moral Elizabeth Proctor, falsely accused of witchcraft — that was a part for a real actress. Mrs. Nicholson, Southview High's drama coach, had even said so herself last spring when she'd announced what the play would be, and she'd been looking right at Jan when she'd said it.

"'The town's gone wild, I think,'" Jan whispered around the toothpaste in her mouth to an imaginary John Proctor, Elizabeth's husband — not so imaginary, since he had Kent's face. "'She speak of Abigail, and I thought she were a saint, to hear her.'" She repeated the line, trying to make the old-fashioned words sound smooth and natural, then said it again.

A firm knock interrupted her. "Jan," said her mother, just a hint of testiness in her voice, "the neighbors' cat is eyeing your eggs."

Good-naturedly, confident of getting cast as Elizabeth, Jan flung the door open, grabbed her small, plump mother around the waist, and twirled her around. "Mother, I come," she intoned, kissing her.

Mom laughed fondly and then tweaked the sleeve of Jan's sweatshirt. "Even the great French actress Sarah Bernhardt washed her clothes once a year or so," she remarked without reproach.

"Yeah," said Jan, darting back for the script and tossing it into her bookbag, "but sweatshirts take too long to dry. Hey there, Ted!" she shouted before her mother could point out that she owned more than one. This was the one she'd had in stock, and so was good luck.

Applause greeted her from the foot of the stairs. Jan waved and did a curtain-call curtsy, thinking, as Ted answered with a sweeping bow, of a line from the sentimental song she'd learned years earlier in camp about new friends being silver, but old ones gold. It was good to see him after all.

"La Montcrief at last," Ted said with the familiar slow grin that started with just a twitch of his wide mouth and gradually spread till it put a twinkle deep in his brown eyes. "La Divine Montcrief, fans. And such an entrance," he added as she deliberately thumped clumsily down the stairs. "Such a costume!"

"Sarcasm," said Jan, ducking around the corner into the kitchen as he bent to kiss her cheek, "will get you everywhere." He caught her hand and kissed her anyway.

"How've you been?" she asked, avoiding his eyes.

"Not bad." He let her go.

"What's the matter? My head on crooked?"

"Your head's fine." The breeziness was gone; he looked like a whipped dog.

She went into the kitchen with him following, and to the stove, wishing she knew what to say. The congealed yellow mass that was her eggs stared up at her from the frying pan on the front burner. "Yuck."

Ted stood there watching her, then draped himself with exaggerated carelessness on one of the four green stools at the long kitchen counter that doubled as a table. "Meet anyone interesting this summer?" he asked, a little too casually.

"Well, yeah." Jan scraped the eggs onto a plate and pushed down the bread her mother had left for her in the toaster. "A few people. But not — not what you think. How about you?"


"Too bad." Jan wondered briefly what Ted would make of Raphael. Raphael, she felt sure, would be drawn to Ted, who was, she had to admit, pretty good-looking, especially now that the acne was almost gone from his strong, square face.

"Your face has cleared up," she said, thinking that might make him feel better.

"You noticed. I figured I'd surprise you. It took a whole drugstore full of glop and nine visits to that creep Dr. Zolotow. But" — he ran his hand over his chin — "at least I can get within ten feet of a razor without ending up looking like something Dracula bit in all the wrong places."

Jan laughed.

Ted rearranged himself on the stool, seeming more relaxed. "You going to eat that mess?" he asked as she put the plate on the counter.

Jan shrugged.

"We could stop for pheasants' tongues," he said, like the old Ted again. "What matter if we be late the first day? Nary a whit, I say, if lateness lets me serve you, lady."

"Nay, gracious sir, nay." Jan, relieved to return to banter, tried not to gag as she bolted down the eggs and toast, then poured herself a cup of coffee; that, at least, was still hot. "Lateness likes me not on such a day."

"What day, madame?" Ted shifted again on the stool. His too long legs jutted out grasshopper-like at the knees; she'd envied him his height since fourth grade. "Surely the — er — noted academy we have good fortune to attend has such a day in every year, nay, in every month ..."

"Yea, verily," said Jan, over her coffee mug. "But ..."

"Yea, verily, indeed!" Jan's mother came into the kitchen, a pile of laundry in her arms. "If you two don't hie yourselves to yon noted academy instanter, you will ..."

"Instanter?" asked Jan. "Instanter?"

"Just what it sounds like." Her mother kissed her and pushed her toward the door. "You have exactly ten minutes before the first bell, and I don't want to hear you've gotten a speeding ticket, Ted."

It was two late slips they got instead of a speeding ticket, because Ted turned morose again about Jan's not writing or calling, and Jan's attempt at explanation took closer to fifteen minutes than ten. But later, sitting in her usual back-row seat in English, Jan knew she hadn't even begun to make him understand. How could she, when she herself really didn't understand and when she felt she'd changed over the summer and he hadn't? Obviously, the easy banter was still there. And so were the quick improvisations they'd fallen into spontaneously since freshman year when Jan had first gotten involved with theater and Ted had tagged along, sometimes acting, sometimes working backstage. But Jan felt those things weren't enough anymore, and she wondered how she and Ted would be together if Ted got a part in Crucible, for which he'd told her that morning he was trying out.

"Janna Montcrief, I asked you a question."

There was a faint wave of tittering; heads turned as the teacher walked toward Jan.

"I'm sorry, Ms. Smathers," Jan said calmly. "I guess I was daydreaming." The Crucible slipped out of her notebook and onto the floor.

"Ah, yes." Ms. Smathers picked it up. "Our actress. But tryouts, I believe, are not until next Wednesday. In the meantime, kindly turn your attention to the task at hand. In a short story ..."

The day did not improve. When math let out, Jan got her paper-bag lunch out of her locker and took it and Crucible to her favorite corner table in the huge cafeteria. It was a sterile, noisy room, with ugly chrome-and-vinyl furniture, but she'd found even as a freshman that the chairs were uncomfortable enough to keep her awake if she wanted to study and the noise, with a little extra concentration, could become its own insulation.

Jan unwrapped her tuna sandwich and opened Crucible again to Elizabeth's first scene with John. It was an uncomfortable scene, in which it becomes obvious there is tension between them, partly because John is attracted to their servant, Mary Warren — and not long after it, Elizabeth is arrested for witchcraft. Jan decided to reread the whole play that night, and then the next day write an autobiography of Elizabeth, starting with Elizabeth's earliest memory and going up to the time of the play. The apprentices' acting teacher in stock had recommended that as a good way to give depth to a characterization, and Jan had found that it worked well for her, at least in the scenes she'd done in class there.

"Hey, Sarah Bernhardt, beware. Competition stalks, methinks."

Annoyed at the interruption, Jan slid her lunch over to make room for Ted's.

"Oh, yeah?" she said, her eyes still on the script. "How come?" Ted poked her in the side with his elbow, and then gestured toward a girl who was just coming out of the lunch-buying line, somehow managing to balance her tray, a load of books, and an enormous shoulder bag without looking awkward. "New kid," Ted explained. "Junior. Kerry Ann — um — Socrides. Just moved in with her aunt. Signed up for tryouts. Looks like an Elizabeth type to me."

Reluctantly, Jan glanced up.

"Well, maybe she can't act," she said brusquely, pretending to return to the script. But her mouth had gone dry, and she had to admit Ted was right. The girl's clear pale skin and her long black hair — which she'd have to wear up, of course, as Elizabeth would have — the precision of her delicate features, the dignity with which she carried herself — all exactly matched Jan's own picture of Elizabeth Proctor. But more than that — oh, much more than that — was the girl's air of quiet strength, the sureness she'd radiated even in the short moment Jan had watched her.

"More like Elizabeth than Elizabeth," Ted whispered. "Wow! You're going to have to give one heck of a reading to convince Mrs. Nicholson she shouldn't cast that one! But I know you'll do it, Jan — hey, remember, you're the school star." He turned slightly. "And here's the other school star. Hiya, Norris."

Kent Norris plunked his tray down next to Jan's, and again Jan thought how perfect he'd be for Proctor. His longish brown hair, edged with new sideburns, was still tied back in a severe ponytail as it had been last spring. The ponytail, plus his thin straight mouth, which remained solemn even when his dark eyes smoldered, made him look like the men in many pictures Jan had seen of early New England settlers. According to Miller, Crucible's author, John Proctor was "not easily led," and that certainly worked for Kent, though another part of Miller's description — "even-tempered" — did not. Jan had seen Kent's rage more than once when he hadn't gotten his way.

"So, Jan," Kent said, ignoring Ted, "how was stock?"

"Great," Jan answered amiably. She didn't like Kent much and was pretty sure he felt the same way about her, but they did share the same professional goals and she enjoyed working onstage with him when he was at his best as an actor. "How was your summer? You did some community theater, right?"

"I did Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire." He tossed it off as if it didn't matter, but Jan could see he was proud of it. "At the beach. You know, the Marlon Brando part." Kent thumped his chest with his fist. "Stella!" he bellowed, and Jan recognized the super-macho attitude Marlon Brando had made famous in the old black-and-white movie of Streetcar that she and Ted had seen twice.

Startled eyes looked up from lunch trays at Kent's outburst; he stood up and bowed.

"Yeah," he said, sitting again, "it really was great. We got terrific notices and the girls were all over me. So were a couple of fags, but I got rid of them pretty quick."

"Oh?" Jan said noncommittally; Ted raised his eyebrows.

"Yeah, you know," said Kent. "Kept following me around and staring. Just couldn't resist my gorgeous hard-muscled bod, I guess." He shivered. "Creeps."

"This has to be my cue to leave," Ted announced, picking up his tray. "See you."

"Later," Kent said with an indifferent wave. He turned back to Jan. "So stock was great, huh? Man, I'd like to do it next year, but after the fags this summer, I don't know. That's the one thing I like less and less about this business, you know what I mean?"

"No," said Jan coldly, thinking of Raphael. "I don't know what you mean. One thing I learned this summer is that the important things in theater are talent and hard work, not who people like to sleep with. Besides, I call them gays, not fags."


Excerpted from "Good Moon Rising"
by .
Copyright © 1996 Nancy Garden.
Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Good Moon Rising 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Heather19 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really, really loved this book. I read Annie on My Mind years ago, but I like this one a little bit better. I can't really say why, maybe it's just the way she wrote this... It's different from the other one, better, more real. More in-depth. I also really like how not everything is focused on the homosexual plot, there is actually other things going on. Reading about the play and the struggles and the rehersals was really interesting. {Spoiler space!}I really like how the book ended. There was hope, and determination, and it was a really good and fitting ending, but it wasn't all neat and wrapped up, there are still things the characters will have to deal with, there was no "nice neat happy ending" with all the loose ends wrapped up, and I like that. It feels more real that way.
kewpie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was Garden's second teen lesbian novel. This was EXACTLY like Annie on my mind. The characters even look exactly like the ones in the other book. The plot is almost identical. This is best suited for readers who just couldn't get enough of her first book. And I am sure there are readers out there who will love to read yet another "Annie" book. I was disappointed. It was like she didn't even make an effort to write a second novel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was so much better than 'Annie..' I loved the ending, becuase it did not end stupid or tragically. The author put less 'between the lines' stuff and more details. Maybe that is how gay fiction changed over the years. I wonder if there is a sequil?
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the first book of Nancy Garden's I read and it was spell binding. I was completely engulfed from the first minute. It opened my eyes and brought about a profound change in my thinking. Jan and Kerry, the two young girls who fall in love, face up to the horrible cruelty of the kids in their school and, in the end, decide that as long as they have one another they can face any future. I was taken completely by this book. Nancy Garden has penned a masterpiece. It allows the reader to see what it is like to be young and gay and the fear of coming out to the world, your families and all those you encounter.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was great! I totally loved it. Books like this one are just so helpful and understanding. I could really relate to the characters and how they felt. It made me feel that it was OK to be... um, weeelll... you probably have an idea about what I was about to say, right? But, of course, this is coming from an almost 14 year old. What do I know about things being right or wrong? : )
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the best book I have ever read dealing with GBLT issues. I loved it so much! I also loved Annie on My Mind, but this is my favorite! I can't thank Nancy Garden enough for writing them!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I also agree that it wasnt quite as good as annie on my mind but it was really a great book overall i think more people should read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was not as great as Annie on my Mind but it was very good. I reccomend this book to anyone who can relate to this or someone who likes to read. I really enjoyed reading it.