Joyous & Moonbeam, by Richard Yaxley

Yes, mister, it is. Joyous is indeedy-do my name which I like very much though some people do carry on and ask if Joyous is a hippy-guy. or they say, Joyous? You’re kidding, right? Which is a doopy-doo because Joyous never kids, Joyous is always truesome.

Joyous is, as his name suggests, pretty happy. He has a knack of turning things around so that, no matter how bad it seems, he can find the good in it. Which is good because, it emerges, he’s had quite a lot of need to work things round. When Ashleigh meets Joyous, she doesn’t know what to make of him. He calls her Moonbeam, which she likes, but the circumstances which have lead to them meeting have also left her unable to work things round like Joyous does. This unlikely mentor has a lot to teach her.

Joyous and Moonbeam is an amazing book. The two protagonists are very very different – yet have more in common than perhaps they realise, both having been damaged by their family lives. Their paths cross when Moonbeam/Ashleigh finds herself in trouble at school and is sent to do community work in a sheltered workshop. As their unlikely friendship flourishes, they help each other, and an unusual style of first person narration ensures the reader is taken along for the ride. This narration is first person from both main characters alternating viewpoint, along with some chapters which are told purely through their dialogue, and others in the from of letters from Joyous’ mother. Whilst this narratorial style is at first a little disorienting, it is part of what makes the story so engaging.

Aimed at teen readers, Joyous and Moonbeam is wonderful.

Joyous and Moonbeam

Joyous and Moonbeam, by Richard Yaxley
Omnibus, 2013
ISBN 9781862919877

Available from good bookstores and online.