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Color Blind Hardcover – October 1, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—In this realistic novel, readers meet April, whose father has just died and whose mother is missing in action in the Middle East. She is sent to live with her aunt Kate, her mother's estranged sister and a New Orleans chef. The story takes a while to get started as readers meet some of the other characters, including a love interest. Teens also encounter a young girl named Angel and her mother, Simone, who live in the Ninth Ward and end up having family ties to April. The protagonist and her aunt don't get along, and both are thrown into a life together that they are unprepared for. The teen attempts to contact the spirit of her dead father through a local voodoo priestess. The climax involves April making very poor decisions concerning Angel, a goat, and a voodoo ceremony gone horribly wrong. This moment seems to come at an odd point in the plot, with the connection between April and Marie Laveau, a prominent historical figure of New Orleans and a voodoo priestess, acting as the catalyst for April to put the pieces of her new life together. The ending feels forced, and the writing is serviceable. The French Quarter setting, historical references to the rich history of New Orleans, and descriptions of Kate's cooking are the highlights of this work. VERDICT Teens will keep hoping for a supernatural element that never comes, making this book an additional purchase for most collections.—Nancy Jo Lambert, Reedy High School, Frisco, TX
"The city of New Orleans is a character... Sobel shows the city in vivid colors, including the ravages of Hurricane Katrina.... April's quest leads her to paths she never knew she'd go on, with a satisfying conclusion." --YA Books Central
"Tying the complex string between the past and the present beautifully, Sheila Sobel's newest undertaking definitely justifies our massive Amazon order." --Brit + Co
“A mysterious and colorful story of trying to find one’s footing when everything seems insurmountable.” (Booklist)
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Color Blind is a story of a young girl that finds her life turned upside down at the sudden loss of her father. She also soon discovers that her family is hiding a secret. A secret that she hopes to uncover. The blurb promises mystery and hints at suspense. The cover art is simple and enticing with a befitting title.
Unfortunately, I found that there was very little mystery or suspense actually involved in this story. While the family history surrounding our protagonist April was the center of a looming secret, once revealed, everything began to slow down. What started off as a fast paced and promising read, began to come unhinged. For two main reasons the premise failed to succeed.
1). The mystery was exposed too early in the story, completely stripping away any sense of suspense. It is hard to push forward when the end results have already been unveiled.
2). As the family secret and history were uncovered, only the smallest amount of elaboration and details were provided. The history also began to feel repetitive. The same information was being recycled. The “secret” lost its excitment. April’s history is not pleasant. This could have been built upon and expanded, but it was not.
With stories centered around voodoo and “skeletons in the closet”, the possibilities seem to be endless. New Orleans is perfect for intriguing and unlimited world building. I was anticipating more of the unknown. I wanted dark and ominous. I wanted the rich history we have come to know of New Orleans. The construction and execution however, were very limited. I received neither.
The main protagonist was also major shortcoming for me. Understanding that she has suffered a large loss, I approached April with an open mind. In the beginning I easily excused the rude and reckless behavior as that of teenage angst and grief, but after a while it began to irritate and wear on me. I found myself unable to connect with her. In fact, several chapters in and I was growing to strongly dislike her. I also found myself losing interest due to the absence of development and growth among the supporting characters. There was no one for me to latch onto. I experienced no connection.
There was a love story happening within Color Blind, but it was your typical girl meets boy scenario. This was another aspect of the story that felt too cut and dry. There was no complexity happening. It did not feel like a contribution to the story, and I am not sure it was even necessary.
Color Blind missed the mark for me. There simply was not enough depth, and the story never seemed to truly evolve. It felt more like a middle grade read, which was not what I had hoped for. I feel like the marketing on this may need to be adjusted. The pace was slow, and this was 2 stars for me.
A great read for young adults and adults alike. You won't want to put the book down. This book is New York Times Bestseller worthy material!!
It's an inspiration! An inspiration to travel, discover or re-discover Louisiana and New-Orleans and to learn more about fascinating Voodoo,
It's a book which will be enjoyed by young or less young people!
I'll recommand it strongly to my friends and family!
Thank you Sheila