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62 of 62 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Review Of Blue...
My thoughts...

I just finished reading this most beautiful and unusual novel. It sort of reminds me of the movie Avatar. Nothing specifically, just sort of the aura of it. When I was first reading it I thought that it was a father's story. Then a few chapters later I thought it was a daughter's story. A few chapters after that it became an amazing fantasy. And...
Published on March 11, 2011 by PattyLouise

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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Blue
Much is involved in this book but.... Blue is a story of about Chris & his daughter Becky and what happens when their reality meets the fantasy world they created. Blue was an enthralling tale, sweet and touching. A unique story. The story explores life's challenges, magic, adventure, hope & possibility. I'm quite picky when it comes to fantasy, and this book is not...
Published on January 13, 2011 by Anna Lemkau


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62 of 62 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Review Of Blue..., March 11, 2011
By 
PattyLouise "Patty" (The lovely East Coast!) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Blue (Paperback)
My thoughts...

I just finished reading this most beautiful and unusual novel. It sort of reminds me of the movie Avatar. Nothing specifically, just sort of the aura of it. When I was first reading it I thought that it was a father's story. Then a few chapters later I thought it was a daughter's story. A few chapters after that it became an amazing fantasy. And then three quarters of the way through I realized it was all of the above. Chris, the father, was mourning the loss of being with his daughter Becky due to the break up of his marriage. Becky was confused about the situation and was fourteen and was spending her allotted time with her father but separating from him, too. They had been very close and Chris was at a loss as to how to get this closeness back. When Becky and Chris made up the world of Tamarisk it was to help Becky get through a difficult time. Becky needs Tamarisk back again and Chris helps her to achieve that goal. Becky begins to go to Tamarisk and interact with the people there. She especially loves being with Miea who was the Princess when Becky was little but now Miea is the Queen. On one of her trips to Tamarisk Becky learns that there is trouble in Tamarisk. Plants are dying and no one knows why. Becky enlists her father...who is a botanist...to help her.

I cannot even begin to describe what Tamarisk looks like. The descriptions in the book make Tamarisk come alive. I wanted to taste fenigers and drink barritts and ride a waccasassa over the bloat marshes. I want to listen to the music of all the amazing birdlike creatures that Becky and Chris had made up in their stories years and years ago. I loved being able to see Tamarisk. It was magical and lovely and it felt real. I wanted Becky to help Miea and I wanted everyone to live happily ever after.

I won't tell you if they did or not but I will say that we all have a different idea of happy. I ultimately think that Becky and Chris and Miea are each happy in their own way.

I loved how the author dealt with reality and fantasy in Blue. It is a lovely story and it has stayed with me. The ending was deliciously sweet and I cried...not so much for the sadness but for its purity and beauty.

I truly loved reading this magical novel.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Blue, January 13, 2011
This review is from: Blue (Paperback)
Much is involved in this book but.... Blue is a story of about Chris & his daughter Becky and what happens when their reality meets the fantasy world they created. Blue was an enthralling tale, sweet and touching. A unique story. The story explores life's challenges, magic, adventure, hope & possibility. I'm quite picky when it comes to fantasy, and this book is not something I wouldn't have picked up on my own, but I'm glad I got the chance to read about Chris and Becky's journey. If you love when fantasy and reality collide, this book is for you.

3 Stars = Good Read
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read!, January 27, 2011
By 
Alexia (The Carolina Coast USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Blue (Paperback)
At first, this story was a little confusing as it went back and forth between our world and Tamarisk, the fantasy world Becky and Chris created long ago. But once I got the hang of all of the multiple narrators and figured out who was who, the story flowed much smoother. Still not 100% sure who Gage is, but I have a rough idea.

Becky isn't your typical teenager, as she's a survivor of both childhood cancer and her parent's divorce. She has a best friend, Lonnie, who isn't the typical sidekick and made a refreshing change. I actually liked both of these girls, probably because they weren't stereotypes. Becky just wants to fit in, and is in denial that life might not be as okay as she'd like.

Between the two, I think I preferred Becky's story to Miea's. Not that Tamarisk wasn't interesting, but it was Becky's creation and I enjoyed watching her discover it during her visits. Of all of the characters, in both of the worlds, I liked Becky the most. Her father Chris did not make a good first impression, and her mother Polly was a weird combination of good mom/angry ex-wife. It was almost like she had a split personality!

This story kept me up much too late as I couldn't put it down, and I had a tough time finishing the book because it's a little hard to read with tears in your eyes. Tends to make the words go all blurry. I love a story that brings tears to my eye! The book had a strong main character, okay secondary characters, good plot, and an all over decent storyline. Definitely a good read!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A special magic, March 25, 2011
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This review is from: Blue (Paperback)
The real magic of Blue is that doesn't seem like a fantasy at all. It's the story of people growing together, coming apart, growing together again, and then finding out that they were connected all along in a way they couldn't fathom. The father-daughter relationship between Chris and Becky is lovingly depicted, and Aronica crosses the threshold to Tamarisk with grace and humor. But there's a larger story here--one that can be a life-changing lesson in the real nature of loss.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Blue, February 24, 2011
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This review is from: Blue (Paperback)
Blue touched my heart. It is the story of a father's desperate desire to reconnect with his teenage daughter, before it is too late. There has been a divorce; the family is divided, both physically and emotionally. What was once an intimate closeness with his daughter has become a schism that seemingly cannot be crossed, due to unspoken emotions.

What can save this impossible situation? Imagination! Through the world that they created and shared as childhood bedtime stories, a larger reality is revealed, one which needs them as much as they need it.

Lou Aronica has written a compelling page-turner. Don't miss this one!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fantasy world to cure cancer, March 4, 2011
By 
This review is from: Blue (Paperback)
Getting into this book was a tad slow since there was alot of back story to get through before I felt like I understood what was occurring in the present time of the book. Once I got through that, there were a few things that I could easily predict about the plot. First, the plot would very much favor the father over the mother in regards to the relationship shared with the main character, fourteen-year-old Becky. Second, it is inevitable that Becky's leukemia is going to relapse. Third, this fantasy world of Tamarisk would somehow play a part in both Becky's disease and her parent's ugly divorce.
What I could not predict was how absolutely fascinating the world of Tamarisk is. I actually thought about researching all of the made-up names of the plants, animals, and geology before I completely realized the depth of creativity to which Becky and her father Chris went in the creation of this fantasy world. What began as a coping mechanism for a young child going through the rigors of chemotherapy became a world in an alternate universe that existed with its own laws of physics. I was completely enthralled by this unbelievable world of blue foliage, black dirt, microfarming, moldable crystal, smelling of chocolate and raspberries, and featuring transportation in the form of giant flying birds - and that is only the beginning of all that this world holds to tantalize the senses and ignite the imagination. Becky's voyages into Tamarisk alone are enough to fill countless children's stories that would hold any grown adult rapt with wonder.
On the alternate side of this fantastic world is the grievous reality of the ongoing feud between Chris and Polly, Becky's divorced parents. Even though Polly has remarried, she still harbors intensely negative feelings towards Chris. In addition, Chris's whole life is about finding ways to connect with Becky better, as the reader watches him fail at blind date after blind date. Becky wants so badly to hang onto her life that she lives in denial of her increasingly-severe symptoms. My heart went out to all of the characters at different points as I connected with the different emotions and situations. As a mother, I can not even fathom one of my children going through the horrors of childhood cancer, and as a wife, the thought of abandoning my spouse is inconceivable, especially during such a difficult time. My heart broke for Becky's best friend Lonnie, and I felt the awkward sadness of Becky's stepfather Al. These characters are as real as if this story were not fiction, but a memoir or biography.
I could not help noticing the parallels between belief in Tamarisk and the beliefs of Christianity. Polly either could not or would not believe in Tamarisk, and many of her arguments against it matched the common ones against a belief in the existence of God and Heaven.
The ending was bittersweet, but light on bitter and rich on sweet. I shed a tear, but Chris's perspective was very fitting for how I felt about this conclusion. This was a very, very good read that would enrich any reader's book collection. What I gained from this book will stick with me for a long time to come.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful story and I recommed the prequel Until Again, as well., February 4, 2012
This review is from: Blue (Paperback)
I am a fan of contemporary fantasy. Charles de Lint is a favorite of mine. This was much like his work in that there were two worlds, and there is a strong connection between them.

Chris and Polly were Becky's parents. As sometimes happens, a serious illness that Becky suffered at age five, pulled their marriage apart. It happens. Chris and Becky had a very strong connection, and while Becky was still unwell, he began a sort of game, when he tucked her in at night. They took turns weaving a story about another world. A beautiful story with even the tiniest of details, like flowers and wildlife created and put in place by one or the other of them. As Becky became older and healthier the story became more mature and more rich and Tamarisk was important to them both. A strong connection and something special that they shared.

Eventually, Polly became adamant that the marriage had to end. Neither she nor Chris felt the same about the other, and for her their connection through Becky was not enough. She never cared about the story they told, or the place they created. She had no part in it and just wanted to move on, and she wanted Chris to move out. This had an impact on the story, a sad one. Becky's anger at the situation led her to turn away from their story, and in fact from Chris..for years. But that was not to last, Tamarisk came back into their lives in a big way, and they were to learn just how important their story was to a lot of people. The ones who lived there.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars There's Good Stuff and Some Not-so-Good Stuff in Blue, June 18, 2011
This review is from: Blue (Paperback)
BLUE, by Lou Aronica, was slow getting started, and I have to admit upfront that it took me quite some time to get through the beginning. The characters seemed flat, I couldn't find much sympathy for the teen protagonist, Becky, and the mother seemed to have little redeeming qualities to her. The divorce is one thing, but the attitude she had toward her ex-husband, when she is supposed to love her daughter so much, just never rang true to me at all.

Then there was this Gage character. I don't know who Gage is. I don't really CARE who Gage is. I hated the riddled way 'he' talked, that I still haven't figured out if it was a riddle or not, since there was nothing to 'figure out' that we didn't and couldn't know without Gage. I also really disliked the lack of use of personal pronouns and overuse of Gage's name, in an effort to 'mystify' Gage as genderless. It was unnecessary.

So the Not-so-Good part is that if I had not been reading this book specifically to do a review, I might not have finished reading it. That would have been a travesty, though, because once the slowness and the tedium of the beginning was past, the story picked up and was much better. I would have missed what ended up being a good story. That said, I feel the author could have done a better job culling this. The story was overly long, unnecessarily so, with a lot of stuff that could have been removed that did nothing to further the plot. For example, long descriptive scenes of cooking, both on the mother's and father's side of the story, that didn't further the plot. These could have been cut back and still had the impact. Another problem was the believability and consistency of the characters. I also believe as several other reviewers here have said that the author tries to tackle too many deep themes in this book, and as such, it feels that none of them get fully resolved or get the attention they deserve. One or two deep themes and situations are enough, but this one tried to have divorce, remarriage, visitation, cancer and possible death of a child, survival of a world, problems with teenaged dating and friendship, father daughter relationship, mother daughter relationship, teenaged angst, etc. There was just 'too much' in the beginning to set all this up that was just backstory and boring.

Now, all that said, once the backstory was out of the way and the real story actually started, it was soooo much better. I loved the parallels drawn between the fantasy world and the reality world, and how the two are interlinked and perhaps dependent upon each other. Before I get to any spoilers, here's the basic plot: Becky and her father, when she was a child and had leukemia, invented a childhood storytelling game in which they created a fantasy world called Tamarisk. This world had many of the same qualities as the real world, but in grander, more fanciful and artistic ways. The storyline in this fantasy world would parallel the real world, in that Becky would put elements of her real life into the fantasy she and her father created together.

When Becky's parents get divorced, after she goes into remission from the cancer, in a fit of frustration and resentment (typical of a child of that age during a difficult divorce), Becky decides she's done with Tamarisk. She and her father stop creating their stories, and though she thinks of the world now and then, it is nothing more to her than the memories of a sick child.

So life goes on, Becky spends time with her father one night per week and on certain weekends while he lives in an apartment across town. She lives with her mother who has since remarried, a man who doesn't get much screen time in the book, but who seems okay. Then, one day, Becky starts to experience symptoms similar to those she had experienced when she had cancer before. She keeps it to herself for too long,because she's afraid what it will mean, how it will change things, and how it will impact her life--and the lives of her family.

The diagnosis comes, and then things start to really change...

MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD: Becky, through her mind (or at least so she thinks), visits Tamarisk after she becomes ill again. Perhaps it was a dream, but it felt real, and different than a dream. One of the difficulties I have with this plot is that there was not more disbelief of the events by the characters in the story. I can see maybe Becky believing, but it was too pat, too easy, for Chris to accept. I'd rather have seen less cooking, less chit chat and backstory, and more talk about how and why this was happening. Perhaps a visit to the doctor to see if there's a reason her mind might be playing tricks on her. Though partly, the father's acceptance is explained by saying that perhaps it doesn't hurt to let her have her fantasies, all things considered with her illness.

Tamarisk is beautiful, and Becky learns that though she has neglected Tamarisk, it has continued to live on and developed and change with her creating stories for it. Yet, even so, she finds she has the ability to make certain changes to Tamarisk once she accepts what is happening and starts telling the stories with her father again. The images drawn of that world were well done, in fact, probably were the best part of the novel. We begin to see the lines that connect Becky and Tamarisk, and how the two seem dependent upon each other. We watch changes in each: when Becky is sick the first time, the world experiences the blight; when Becky's parents divorce due to the stress and problems related to the cancer, we see Tamarisk's parents die due to the weakness on a bridge caused by the blight; we see the cancer come back, and the blight returns. We see the Queen suffering and we see Becky suffering, and the only time anything feels right is when the two worlds are connected as one, through Becky.

As for what many have said about the blanket at the end... I think this was the only way that the mother could believe, and I think that the mother needed to believe. It's a fantasy novel, after all, and I'm okay with a fantasy that the mother and the father were able to get along and make peace, whatever the reasons.

Tamarisk sounds beautiful and would make a great kid's fantasy movie. The book has potential that was untapped, and perhaps needed a bit more work to cull the fat from the edges, but even so, it's a good book, with a good storyline, good morals, good connections between the worlds. The last 1/3 of the book kept me staying up late reading and turning pages as much as the the first 1/3 of the book dragged.

But in the end, it WAS touching. It was sad but happy too. It did what a book should do: entertained me. I would recommend the book to anyone who likes fantasy, especially in the 11-25 year old age range, for those who enjoy young adult. I'm an adult and don't usually do YA, but this one I did enjoy. My daughter is twenty-four and she loves fantasy and while she said it was a little 'young', she really enjoyed it and cried at the end. She has since recommended it to friends who have also loved it.

If you can pick this one up, it's worth the read, even with the not-so-good stuff that goes with it. The good stuff does, in my opinion, outshine it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Tale Of Inspiration And Hope, June 5, 2011
By 
Sandra Kirkland (High Point, North Carolina United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Blue (Paperback)
Becky and her father Chris created a magical land, Tamarisk, when Becky was five and fighting leukemia. Now she is fourteen and the close relationship she had with Chis has disappeared along with thoughts of magic. Chris and Polly, Becky's parents, couldn't take the strain of her illness and ended up divorcing when she was ten. Now they are in a strained relationship and with limited time together, Chris and Becky can't find their way to the easy trust they had in each other.

But all of that is about to change. Becky discovers one night that Tamarisk was not just a fantasy; it is a place that really exists. Somehow she is transported there. The land needs her; it is in crisis. A terrible blight has attacked the plants there, and without vegetation, animals and humans cannot survive. Becky feels that there is a reason she has been brought to this land created in her imagination, and after returning there multiple times, even finds a way to transport Chris with her. As Chris and Becky fight to save Tamarisk, they also find their way back to each other, and learn to love so much that no sacrifice is too great to make.

Lou Aronica has created a magical fantasy that is guaranteed to touch the hearts of every reader. He taps into the love between parents and children, and into the belief in magic that touches each and every person, stirring their imagination and making their life more real. This book is recommended for readers ready for inspiration and hope.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome and unique!, April 16, 2011
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This review is from: Blue (Paperback)
I am blown away by this refreshingly unique book! The concept itself was so original and intriguing that I was caught up immediately. And as I read, I continued to be amazed. I won't re-hash the story line, but I highly recommend this book to you. It is an experience you won't want to miss. I don't often get choked up when reading emotional passages, but I was so involved in this tale that I couldn't stop myself. I hope there are more like this coming from the author. I will definitely be investigating Lou Aronica's other books... but I doubt any will surpass this one. So glad I read it!
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Blue
Blue by Lou Aronica (Paperback - January 16, 2011)
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