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Nothing but Blue Hardcover – May 7, 2013
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From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-A teenage girl survives an explosion, but her memories are sporadic, and the haunting words, "All dead. No one survived. All Dead" are stuck in her head. She begins walking, trying not to think about the past or the future. Along the road, she adopts the name Blue and a stray dog that refuses to leave her alone. Blue is convinced that she must avoid people. She finds food in Dumpsters and bathes in ponds and public restrooms. Snake, a damaged young man, is one of the few people she interacts with; like her, he is displaced and trying to escape a painful past. He assists Blue in reaching the house in which she grew up, and it is here that she must finally face the reality of her situation. Chapters alternate between Blue's present and what memories she has of her past. But like the rest of the book, the flashbacks are written in first person, a confusing choice considering Blue is supposed to be suffering from memory loss. This would be a minor complaint in an otherwise engaging story if the abrupt conclusion, so lacking in credibility, were not such a disappointment.-Cary Frostick, Mary Riley Styles Public Library, Falls Church, VAα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
A girl walks along a road at dusk, disoriented and confused, seeking a home she barely remembers. Calling herself Blue, she embarks on a harrowing journey, eating from dumpsters, dodging the law, and struggling to piece together who she is and where she came from. Along the way, she encounters people who help and people who hurt, and collects a protective, somehow communicative dog who watches over her, body and soul. The story unfolds in alternating narratives marked “Now” and “Before,” and as Blue makes her way back home, we discover the difficulty of her family relationships, the boy who used her and threw her away, and the tragic event that ripped her from her home. With clipped prose of intimate detail and keen insight, Jahn-Clough crafts an authentically adolescent first-person narrative. The reader accompanies Blue on her parallel paths, discovering the truth with her as she reconciles her past and her future. With tight pacing, motley characters, and touches of the spiritual, this is a furious, illuminating adventure. Grades 9-12. --Thom Barthelmess
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Top customer reviews
It made me think, kept me on my toes did she, or didn't she.I would have liked to see how blue made out after she remembered. Like what happened toned down the road. Other than that a really enjoyable read. I recommend this book to anyone that has a heart.
This is a quick read. The writing is very sparse, each word chosen carefully for effect. And, for the most part, it works. My main issue with the book is that, although at first it seems incredibly dark and edgy, it just teases. The author constantly stops short of dealing with any real issues - either in Blue's journey on the road home or in the flashbacks to her past. Each time I thought the author was going to be brave and confront an issue head on, she pulled back.
Because of the lack of edge or any real substance, I'm not sure older YA readers will feel this one.
I will say that the storyline dealing with Snake and the train hopping was fantastic. It was detailed and edgy and I really wish the rest of the book had been that vivid and engaging.
I won't give specifics on how the book ends. I'll simply say that it was anti-climactic and unsatisfying.
I still give this three stars. The author kept my interest throughout - my only problem was that she kept me hoping for something that never appeared. Her writing seemed to promise a knife to the guts, but never delivered more than a soft, sad story.
*******Possibly Spoilery Edit Below********
I came back to add another thought. About the dog. The magical, magical dog. I really wasn't sure if the mind-reading dog was just part of some mental instability on the part of Blue or if the author really intended this to be a magical dog.
I really hope it was just some mental instability, but it didn't seem to manifest itself in any other way during the story. I really must say that I kind of hated the magical, magical dog storyline. The problem was that it was a big part of the book.
Okay spoilery bit - and review - is over!
After awhile, I just started thinking about where is home: is home a memory of the place you felt safest? Or is it the place that you have survived the greatest blows and every morning, learned to get up again? Is it the place people are or a place where people were and still feel close enough to touch?
I wouldn't share this book with anyone younger than middle school and only that because they have the emotional resilience to take the pain of others. (Or cause it.) I can hear one of them saying to me, "This girl is really stupid. You should feel sad for that."
In the end, even though the writing was beautiful, this won't go on any favorite shelf of mine because it was rather predictable, slow and there wasn't enough resolution for me. I'm not a fan of "discussion" books and ultimately, that's what this is.
"All dead. No one survived. All dead." 17-year-old Blue is the haunted girl who hears this chant in her head as she walks through the countryside on her way to her childhood home on the ocean because she remembers nothing else about her past life.
Blue knows that something awful has happened but she remembers it in startling bits and pieces that she wants to make disappear. She wants to just be Blue but something is driving her towards her childhood home despite all odds. She dumpster dives, she begs for food, she steals clothes....
Blue isn't even her real name but it fits perfectly given her situation. Blue for the ocean she is trying to reach and blue for the feeling that overcomes her when she has flashbacks.
This book is bare bones in that it is written in a poetic way where every word is important. It's a quick read that you won't easily forget. As Blue travels with a stray dog that won't stop following her, we get the pieces we can fit together to figure out what trauma has befallen Blue. And it hurts. But Blue never stops going.
Most recent customer reviews
My" in a nutshell" summary...
It's all about a girl named Blue and a dog named Shadow!Read more
While the story itself was interesting, the writing itself was dull.Read more