Ramona Blue

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy

Ramona Blue is a tall. She is one of the few openly out people in all of Eulogy, Mississippi. And while her life has been uprooted after Hurricane Katrina, she and her family are surviving the best way they know how.

But even though she knows that there are bigger and greater things for her out there in the world, she is happy. And nothing is going to challenge that.

That is until Freddie, a boy she was friends with as a child, suddenly reappears in her life. Freddie challenges Ramona in ways she never thought possible. He challenges her in their morning swimming practices at the local Y. He challenges her to think of even bigger and greater things for herself and her life outsider of her small town and her growing family. But more than that, he challenges her to love differently.

Ramona isn’t necessarily ready to welcome these challenges. And quite frankly, she’s scared of accepting those changes. But with senior year coming to a close, she’s forced to face those realities, those challenges, and those changes.

Ramona survived one disaster. But will she survive the disaster that has been brewing her entire senior year?

Ramona Blue, written by author Julie Murphy, is a realistic read that will pull at readers heartstrings.

Author Murphy is a true superstar. And just like her, the writing that fills Ramona Blue is too. Murphy’s writing is strong, it is emotionally charged, and above all things it is smart. So much so that it will make readers think about life, about love, and about aftermath of disasters.

As a reader I appreciate a good character driven book. Ramona Blue was definitely that kind of book for me. I immediately liked Ramona and put all my faith in her as a reader. She is a fantastic character, and one that readers of all ages can learn from and through. Ramona is strong and smart. She is caring, loving, and is loved. She is determined. And even though she isn’t as confident as she should be, she believes in her friends, her family, and the life that she’s created for herself.

She is definitely flawed, but honestly so. She’s messy, and stumbles to the point of falling, but she learns and picks herself up. And deep down, I got the sense that she’s angry — angry at the fact that her sister’s lazy boyfriend is living with them, angry that her friends will all be moving on and moving away after graduation, angry at her mother that abandoned her. And all that anger is real and is justified. It was nice to see a female character accept and embrace that.

Besides Ramona, Murphy has created an unforgettable cast of characters that readers will easily love. There’s Hattie, Ramona’s older sister who is pregnant and in constant need to be taken care of. There’s Freddie, long lost friend who challenges, not only what Ramona thinks, but also how she feels. And still, a quieter character that I wish had more page time was Ramona’s hard working dad who loved his girls like no other book parent has. He’s solid and stable, just what his daughters need and deserve.

Ramona Blue is a special book. Especially for me. Why? Because it made me think. When Hurricane Katrina hit the southern region of the United States it was devastating for places like Louisiana. And I’m sure you know that too. But what author Murphy does is make readers realize that Louisiana wasn’t the only place affected. Much smaller cities in many Southern states were also devastated. I learned a lot about this, and from this book.  I truly appreciated that how Murphy’s book made me think, made me see, and made me understand how this natural disaster still affects people and communities to this very day, all these years later. In short, Ramona Blue is an important book.

I’ve read Murphy’s other books, and while this is very much a Murphy book, it’s different. In all honesty, it’s a difficult book to read. There is a sadness to this book (and I mean that in the best way) that readers will immediately feel. But with that sadness comes a sense of hope, and Murphy has excelled at injecting hope into this story, her characters, and her readers.

There’s a lot to love about Ramona Blue. And if you have already read this book, you already know that. But if you haven’t, I urge you to. Take this journey alongside a blue haired girl named Ramona. You too will love this book!

 

 

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