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Kalifornia Blu Paperback – May 23, 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Kendell Shaffer grew up in Baltimore, the daughter of two ballet dancers. She moved to the Big Apple for college where she attended Tisch School of the Arts film school at New York University. After college, she moved on to Los Angeles where she produces and writes for television. Now a resident of Venice Beach, Kendell teaches screenwriting to teens at high schools throughout Los Angeles for the Writer's Guild Foundation. In addition to spending time with her family, she co-founded Garage Band Venice, a musical jam where kids learn to play music together in individual bands. She raises bees on her rooftop and plays the drums in her living room. Please visit Kendell at http://www.kendellshaffer.com.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 268 pages
  • Publisher: WriteSpa; 1 edition (May 23, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193998002X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1939980021
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,432,633 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Heather L. Alexander on July 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I was given this book in return for an honest review. Kalifornia Blu is a teenage /skateboarder, whose mother was a star and is trying to make a comeback, and in doing so leaves Kali alone most of the time. Kali is a girl in desperate need of attention and is always pushing the boundaries. After getting in trouble, she's bailed out by mommy's people and ends up in a program through high school that simulates the LAPD. Unhappy with the situation, but not wanting to go to juvi or ask her mother for help, she resigns herself to the class. In the process of the story, she makes friends with her teenaged attorney, an ex gangmember, and a young girl in desperate need of help. With mommy dearest gone, her absentee father is now her caretaker and he actually seems to care. She finds that he is in a program where he mentors kids, one of those kids becomes in need of Kali's help, with her and her other pals, they have to go save a young girl. Kali is changing and doesn't even see it, she is becoming the person she would have been if someone had cared for her. Can Kali get over her bitterness towards everyone and actually have a real relationship with someone? This is not the kind of book I normally read but I enjoyed it. I liked watching Kali change and become a better person, she's fiercely loyal to those she cares about and in desperate need of someone to really care for her. Her character could represent so many kids out there today that it's scary. If you are looking for a book with a message, a bit of romance, action and realism, this is a great book to check out.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Kali isn't a very likeable person. She's not real everything from her eyes to her attitude is fake. I didn't get her out of nowhere crush she has internally on Penn. It wasn't even believable she was just ashamed to be seen around him in front of Dakota, scared of what he would think if she hung out with ppl like Penn. Then she's all jealous of Dakota when he looking at some girl but gets mad when he wants to get close & then tells him he's not her boyfriend. In the very same paragraph. I hope Penn & Jade hook up she needs something positive in her life. Jade's story would've made a much better book. Kali says she doesn't do friends but sticks her nose in other ppls business. It was a very abrupt ending so I'm assuming its gonna be a sequel. Since nothing in this book was solved it was pointless & wasn't all that good. I couldn't connect with Kali I found her fake, annoying & bratty. I'm 22 but maybe I'm too old for this book. I didn't believe or see any connection between her & Penn especially not an romantic one. It would've been so better without Kali cause I liked the other characters Penn, Jade, Zachary & the 12 yr old foster kid. I even liked Dakota but not Kali. Writing wasn't bad just didn't like the story or main character.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The vivid, energetic style keeps you flying through the pages in this debut novel by Kendell Shaffer. Kal Blu is totally lovable, with her tough exterior that hides a quiet vulnerability. Any teen can connect to her and her story. The characters pop out of the pages with unique descriptions, and the tone is very much that of a teenage girl going through a hell of a time. Her mom's a famous pop star who can hardly keep track of what her daughter's doing, and her dad's been MIA for years. Forced to meet him again, Kal gets herself into all kinds of trouble, makes some friends, and learns some stuff about life. Who doesn't love a good story narrated by a tough skater girl in Venice?
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Format: Paperback
I love Kendell Shaffer's skill with the language and the momentum in her storytelling. What impresses me most is the way she observes behavior. Shaffer has a great touch for drawing moments that simultaneously define character and advance narrative. It is a technique I have seen often in Anne Tyler and Elmore Leonard, and Shaffer is quite deft at using it. I could rave on but I'll add just one more note. I believe music is about "the feeling" and I'm pretty the same is true for storytelling. "Kalifornia Blu" has it. If the marketplace has any brains it will embrace the book enthusiastically!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Kalifornia Blu has everything--believable characters, a totally engaging story, and lots of details that make it worth re-reading. At first (as an adult), I found myself a little frustrated with Kalifornia's attitude and behavior, but then, I began to understand how she thinks--like a real 15-year-old. As the story went on, I grew to love her more and more--just what you want from a novel! The story of her having to attend a Magnet school where kids are preparing to be lawyers and police officers is fascinating, and I loved the juxtaposition of people from all walks of life. Kali has to come to some serious realizations about her life in relation to others'. A great theme for young adults.

There are some sophisticated situations, but nothing I find objectionable for my 14-year-old. I think she'll really enjoy it.
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Format: Paperback
Sweet to see a Young Adult book that deals with themes of alienation of youth from the adult word of divorce, drugs, crime, inability to connect with peers. Some frank topics with some adult language, but truly appropriate for young readers.

Cleverly written in a first person voice similar to that of Holden Caulfield but Kal has her individual voice and often tries to censor herself if she wants to say things too sweet or too cynical. ('Boyfriend' Dakota, 'doesn't expect me to love him or crap like that.") An insecure teen behind a strong façade. And it is not so fussy a voice that the prose becomes encumbered.

The specifics really put the reader on the scene--the boardwalk of Venice, Caifornial is espec a good starter in the novel. Clearly sets the scene for this unusual skateboarder daughter of a rock star. Later terrific specifics set scene of dad's apartment, things that make her believe she's getting to know dad for the first time.

Cute beginnings with young lawyer/future love interest, Penn. 'I told you to lose the medal.' 'I took out my nipple rings.' Daring for YA readers but not censor-able by parents.

Nice running device throughout of not-looking-back, from first chase and arrest (get caught looking back) until the final paragraph of being okay to look back, seeing twinkle of affection in dad's eye.

For those readers who like chase scenes, the chase from the porn set, the skitching (holding onto a fast-moving car while on a skateboard) behind an SUV with dad following in limo, and a few others are dazzling.

Sex scenes are few (they have to be included in a modern depiction of teens) but the 'messing around' with boyfriend Dakota was handled sensitively.
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