I don’t think there’s anyone in the YA world who hasn’t heard of Ramona Blue yet. I’ve been so excited to get to this book on my TBR, and now I’ve finally been able to read this lovely book!
Ramona was only five years old when Hurricane Katrina changed her life forever.
Since then, it’s been Ramona and her family against the world. Standing over six feet tall with unmistakable blue hair, Ramona is sure of three things: she likes girls, she’s fiercely devoted to her family, and she knows she’s destined for something bigger than the trailer she calls home in Eulogy, Mississippi. But juggling multiple jobs, her flaky mom, and her well-meaning but ineffectual dad forces her to be the adult of the family. Now, with her sister, Hattie, pregnant, responsibility weighs more heavily than ever.
The return of her childhood friend Freddie brings a welcome distraction. Ramona’s friendship with the former competitive swimmer picks up exactly where it left off, and soon he’s talked her into joining him for laps at the pool. But as Ramona falls in love with swimming, her feelings for Freddie begin to shift too, which is the last thing she expected. With her growing affection for Freddie making her question her sexual identity, Ramona begins to wonder if perhaps she likes girls and guys or if this new attraction is just a fluke. Either way, Ramona will discover that, for her, life and love are more fluid than they seem.
I’ll admit- at the start of the book, I was a little skeptical.
My favorite kinds of books are the ones with magic, heroic destinies, and worlds far away from Earth. This book definitely doesn’t have magic, no heroic destinies, and takes place in a very real and familiar world. But despite missing some of my favorite qualities of a book, Ramona Blue absolutely blew me away.
The timing of this book is perfect. I read it and connected with many of the problems presented throughout the story. The tale of a teenage girl who’s grown up a little too soon and still trying to find her own identity? It pulls readers in from the very start. There were a lot of discussions of sexuality (and, on less-consistent but still important basis, race) that touch the hearts of a lot of teens and young adults.
There were plenty of characters presented throughout the book. Just enough to keep the reader in the same busy zone as Ramona, but not enough to overwhelm. Readers can relate to Ramona from the start and recognize some of their own friends in the people Ramona spends time with (especially Hattie and Ruth, in my case). Ramona is seen changing her mind and being uncertain about a lot of things, which could get frustrating sometimes from the reader’s perspective, but is extremely realistic. (I mean, who really has any idea what they’re doing, anyway?)
The setting was perfect. Anyone who comes from a small town feels at home, especially when the book discusses small mindsets. And the amount of ocean and pools in the book calls to anyone (like me) who has a love for the water.
This book is perfect for readers who want to feel emotions. It was an absolute rollercoaster. Happiness, anger, fear, sadness, excitement, and a million other feelings all crammed into 408 pages. This was great most of the time, but there were a few points where I wished things could slow down a bit before another obstacle changed the mood of the book.
To Ramona Blue, I give a solid 4.5 stars. I definitely recommend this book to young adult readers, especially those who would normally bypass realistic fiction like this.
Who else as read Ramona Blue? What was your favorite part of the book? (no spoilers, or if you do have them, please post a warning!)
To those who haven’t read the book yet, do you plan to? Anything specific you’re looking forward to?