8 August 2017

Ramona Blue - Review

Ramona Blue 
by Julie Murphy

What they say: 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.

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I received a copy from Harper 360 in exchange for an honest review!

What I say: I've seen a lot of mixed reviews about Ramona Blue but I'm really glad I decided to read the story myself and make up my own mind. 

It's a coming of age story about sexuality and finding your place in the world. It's happy, sad, sweet, romantic and challenging all at once.

Ramona is a lesbian who is completely happy dating girls and being herself. Her sexuality is not something she's ever questioned until her old childhood friend Freddie returns and confuses her in a big way. What I particularly appreciated about the story was how Julie Murphy portrays sexuality. Through Ramona she demonstrates sexual fluidity, but most importantly what she doesn't do is demean Ramona's sexuality by having a lesbian "cured" by a straight guy. In Ramona she has created a positive role model for all teens and adults alike.

I liked the friendship between the Ramona, Freddie and the gang but I loved her relationship with Hattie, her father and as unsettling as it was at times, even her mother. Ramona's relationship with her sister Hattie is challenged by her pregnancy but I loved seeing their sweet sisterly bond. 

We meet the rich kids who seemingly have it all and the poor kids who have very little. We also look at how racism is still still so heartbreakingly prevalent in today's society. Freddie is a lovely, charming  guy and his colour should never be an issue, which thankfully to Ramona it isn't.

Putting all the big important and issues aside the story is also about having fun and being young. It was the more mundane moments Ramona had with her friends which made me smile.

I enjoyed this powerful story and would advise anybody to read it for themselves before misjudging it as being about a lesbian becoming straight - it really isn't like that at all.If that's what you come away with at the end of the book then you've missed the message and beauty of the story!

4.5 Stars in my Sky!


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