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Ramona Blue

Review

Ramona Blue

RAMONA BLUE is the third published book by Julie Murphy, who is also the author of DUMPLIN’ and SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY. RAMONA BLUE follows Ramona and her family, who were devastated by Hurricane Katrina when Ramona was only five-years-old. The novel follows Ramona as she navigates school, family and the return of her childhood friend, Freddie. He brings her sexual identity into question as Ramona searches to understand the labels placed on sexuality in modern day society.

"Julie Murphy touched on new aspects of sexual identity and the stigma of labeling that I had not read about before. RAMONA BLUE will leave the reader thinking and open them up to a world that is full of a large cast of diverse and realistic characters."

RAMONA BLUE effectively discusses issues such as sexuality, poverty and the struggles of a broken family. Julie Murphy found the perfect way to display the gray area of sexuality through Ramona’s questioning and self-discovery. This book pushes away the labels placed on people’s sexuality which make the concept appear black and white. Ramona is an example to all readers that even though society may try to force you into a box, not everyone is made to adhere to specific labels and restrictions. While sexuality is the primary focus of Ramona’s internal conflict, issues such as poverty, family struggles and race relations also come into play throughout the novel. The inclusion of these various issues makes the plot both hard-hitting and relevant to the modern day audience.

I found Ramona to be a very realistic and relatable main character. She was flawed and faced many of the problems that teenagers face every day with the same levels of uncertainty that the average teen would have. Ramona is a strong and determined character who wants the best for her friends and family. I really admired this about her and this determination also made it easy to understand her decision-making process. As a reader, I always like to be able to understand the motives of characters because I find that it helps me to establish a deeper connection with the story. Ramona was definitely a character who allowed me to do this.

The one problem I had with RAMONA BLUE is that sometimes the plot was lacking. I found that on several occasions I was losing interest in the lives of the characters. This wasn’t because the characters themselves became any less interesting or that I lost my investment in them. This occurred when nothing was happening in the characters’ lives that helped move the story forward, creating the effect of a standstill in the plot for the reader. I found this mostly in the beginning of the novel as the story was somewhat slow to start. However, when the action and plot sped up, I couldn’t put the book down.

I would definitely recommend RAMONA BLUE to any young adult contemporary fan. It fulfills the genre perfectly as the plot juggles a coming-of-age theme as well as several romances. I would also highly recommend this book as a diverse read. The push for diversity in young adult literature has become increasingly popular and RAMONA BLUE is a perfect read to meet this growing request. Julie Murphy touched on new aspects of sexual identity and the stigma of labeling that I had not read about before. RAMONA BLUE will leave the reader thinking and open them up to a world that is full of a large cast of diverse and realistic characters.

Reviewed by on June 21, 2017

Ramona Blue
by Julie Murphy