Alabama Moon has been raved about alot here in Alabama, obviously. Not only is it set in Alabama (1980's), but it is also written by an Alabama author!
Ten year old Moon knows nothing of the outside world. His mother died when he was 2 and he has lived in the forest with his government-hating, survivalist father all his life. His only contact outside the forest has been the general store in town where his father barters for necessities with the vegetables they grow. After an accident leaves his father very sick, he tells Moon to head to Alaska after he dies to look for other people who live like they do. To Moon's amazement, the outside world won't stand for a 10 year-old boy to live on his own and the chase is on. All his father's horror stories about authority ring distressingly clear for young Moon and all he wants is to be left alone. It is only after he is caught and sent to an orphanage that Moon begins to think that maybe being alone is not the best thing after all.
This book was really, really good! I listened to it and the narrator really brought these characters to life. I felt so sorry for Moon all along. I feel like if just one adult had sat down and had a grown up conversation with him from the onset (grown up conversation was all he'd ever known) instead of treating him like a child and scaring him by chasing him around, then most of his travails could have been avoided. Of course, that would have been a very short and very boring book. While it is relatively short, it is not boring by any means.
The age range Amazon recommends is Grades 6-8 and I don't disagree. The only thing here that sensitive groups might be concerned about is some mild cursing. You have your damns, hells, sombitches (I don't know how it's spelled in the book, that's my phonetic interpretation from the audio), and the like. Some of the adults drink and chew tobacco. I can think of nothing else anyone would be concerned about. I wish, wish, wish the local schools would put this on their summer reading lists. I think some great discussions could come out of it.