Summary: Best friends since childhood, things start to spiral downward for Simone and Cherry when Cherry decides to leave high school to get a job instead. Simone’s attraction to Cherry has always been used against her, but having more separate lives thanks to Cherry’s new boyfriend and lifestyle gives Simone the chance to make some new friends and find a woman who truly loves her. But as Simone’s life goes up, Cherry’s goes down into drug use and robbing people. Simone can’t stand to see her best friend’s descent, and makes her mind up to try and save her, little knowing just how far down Cherry has actually gone.
Number of Pages: 270
Age Range: 15-18
Review: Mosh Pit by Kristyn Dunnion has grit as it tackles the tough topics of having the confidence to love and be loved, living authentically and taking care of those you love. Even though Simone has been pushed around and played by Cherry on many occasions, she still tries to rescue Cherry from herself time and time again. But Simone’s life isn’t easy; dealing with a mother who has a mental illness, taking flack from the cops for her punk lifestyle, and trying to find a woman who loves her, and learning to take care of herself first takes time.
Dunnion introduced me to the world of Punk. Hairstyles, attitude, music – everything. And though it was a world I have no personal experience with, once I thought over Simone’s story I realised how universal it really was. On the surface it appears our lives are very different, but it’s only on the surface.
What I liked best is that Simone is not bound by convention. She loves freely and she has the courage to be herself. Her hair sounded incredible and despite the crap she had to put up with because of other people’s biases, Simone wasn’t crippled by bitterness. I truly enjoyed reading about her.
That said, it’s a bit of a graphic read and one I would NOT recommend for younger teen readers. For older teens though, it’s a book that will challenge readers to consider who they love, and how far they would go to demonstrate that love.
“The music was so loud up there by the speakers, it beat through out chests, moved blood to its rhythm. Music sandblasted its way through all those layers of anger, confusion, frustration; it blew the hate right out of you, stripped you of all your petty failures, the endless disappointments and hurts that choked you the rest of your waking hours. Amid the barrage of body parts, in the steaming heat and noise, I offered up my body, my soul, to punkrawk salvation.” – Simone from Mosh Pit by Kristyn Dunnion, page 33
“Then, out of Nowhere, I had a rather unrelated throught. My porn name was going to be Roxy. I imagined her, this mythical beast, part teenager, part rock star, part Neolithic Priestess. Roxy would wear the electric blue bob and lots of eyeliner. Roxy would be a combination of all the bravest girls I knew.
All the girlfriends I ever wanted to have.
All the women I ever wanted to be.” – Simone from Mosh Pit by Kristyn Dunnion, page 100
“Pieces and pictures from the last night were slowly floating back to me and, frankly, I prayed for the kind of amnesia those soap opera characters got, the kind that allowed you to go about your little life anew, never once looking back to all those devastating rents in the old domestic fabric. I prayed for a blameless numbing to coat my wounds.” – Simone from Mosh Pit by Kristyn Dunnion, page 161
“Carol said who cares about the exam. The real test, she said, was to not disappear or dry up and crumble away, dust in the wind. If I didn’t even put my name on the paper she said I’d passed because I’d gotten there, hadn’t I? It was as though she’d been on that same journey and now she was guiding me through it. That lonely, internal spiral. That cocooning, silent face-off with your Ambivalent Self, the completely barren core who doesn’t really want to live anymore. She knew it intimately, I realized much later.” – Simone from Mosh Pit by Kristyn Dunnion, page 169
“The fucking pig had done much worse than bend me to breaking. In one night, he had stolen a part of me that I almost couldn’t name. More than confidence. It was that quintessential part of me, that intrinsic survival element. The part that allowed me to skate along freely, to know myself, and to know how I could handle myself in different situations. I needed to get that back and somehow it was all twisted up with seeing things through with Cherry. In my mind it had become a rite of passage, unavoidable as sin.” – Simone from Mosh Pit by Kristyn Dunnion, page 211
“But she couldn’t have a steady girlfriend ‘coz steady girlfriends sit up late worrying while she’s out working and they get jealous and make her feel bad about her job, and they get all paranoid that she actually might be getting turned on for real when she’s with clients, and then that kills the Lesbo Sex Life entirely. And then steady girlfriends treat her bad because they feel dirty inside and because deep down they also want to own a beautiful girl and when they can’t it kills the romance, and next thing you know it’s all over and no one invites her to the potluck suppers and she’s just a man-hungry slut after all.
I wondered how many steady girlfriends Carol has had, since she knew so much about it. And me, I’d never even been to a potluck.” – Simone from Mosh Pit by Kristyn Dunnion, page 235