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REVIEW: A Different Blue by Amy Harmon

Dear Ms. Harmon:

This book was recommended by two very disparate parties and the blurb was quite intriguing; however, the blurb and the story are a bit at odds with each other. Blue Echohawk is attending her senior year of high school. One class is taught by Darcy Wilson, a history teacher who uses literature texts to interest his students. Aside from the fact that I think using Shakespeare as a historical text is problematic, Darcy’s style of teaching is interesting.  We get multiple paragraphs of Darcy teaching his class about Joan of Arc, Greek gods, Julius Caesar. There are a lot of history lessons in this book. Maybe if I was younger, I wouldn’t mind, but these became really tiresome paragraphs to read.

In that class, Blue is challenged to write her history. This was the most interesting and poetic part of the story. In fact, as Blue recounts legends told to her by her father, Jimmy Echohawk, the prose was beautiful. However, those moments were too few and were muddled with other writing which was overly didactic and obvious.

A Different Blue by Amy HarmonWhen Blue’s father dies, Blue is sent to live with a distant relation who is, at best, a careless caretaker.  Blue grows up to be a kid with a bad attitude. She sleeps around, mouths off to her teacher, Darcy, and is generally rude to most everyone. Blue’s storyline as the jaded high school antagonist and brilliant wood carver is pretty obvious. About every after school special is addressed from pregnancy to school shootings. The shooting scenes, in particular, was super random and people that started out playing a big part in the story early were totally forgotten after about the first third.

Early on one of Blue’s friends was portrayed as having both feminine and masculine traits. Blue is irritated by this and I thought it might be a great example of Blue learning to accept her friend’s different sexuality. Unfortunately, Blue’s action goes unchallenged and later this young man was portrayed as mentally unstable.  This made me very uncomfortable and not in a good way.  Later Blue, who has shown no religious signs at all, prays to God and feels redeemed.  I just wasn’t sure what to make of that.

The one positive thing is that no relationship develops between the teacher and student until after graduation although feelings may have begun during the school year.

This is primarily Blue’s story as she moves from high school into adulthood,  but her character came off as inconsistent.  She was sullen and stoic in some passages and then in others randomly blurting out her feelings and emotions in others.  The dark moments that are pivotal for Blue’s character development came off as a cynical emotional ploy.  Moreover, I was really bored through the first 40% of the book and considered DNF’ing it.  But because it came recommended, I thought I would power through.

The last half deals with Blue post high school as she deals with fall out about her identity, her feelings for Darcy, her increasing talent as it relates to wood carving, and a couple of other after school moments.  I didn’t see Blue really grow as a character.  Yes, she became less smart mouthed, but she didn’t have any run-ins with authority figures either.  I struggled to see her growth as organic instead of touched by a moment from God.  I can see how this could be read as a moving emotional story but I was discomfited by the overt messaging, some of which didn’t ring very authentic to me.  C

Best regards,

Jane

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Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

4 Comments

  1. mari
    Apr 10, 2013 @ 13:12:03

    Curious. This book was reccomended by two different people. What were their reasons for reccomending it?

    ReplyReply

  2. Jane
    Apr 10, 2013 @ 14:51:35

    @mari – the recommendations are more like “get this book!” texted to me or sent via email.

    ReplyReply

  3. Shelly (@DarkRosiePosie)
    May 04, 2013 @ 05:37:58

    Thank you! Best review I’ve found so far. I disliked this book so much. None of it made sense to me and all the 5 star, must-read reviews certainly made no sense at all to me.

    ReplyReply

  4. Oreoluwa
    Nov 29, 2013 @ 02:11:50

    Jane,u didnt understand this book at all,its pretty obvious,if u did than u would get that Blue is basically a good girl at heart whom took the wrong path in life,her character swings is what makes her more interesting,she enjoyed Wilson classes but tried not to,and her praying to God witout knowing God was a time of reflection,she wasnt the average bad girl who did bad things cause she felt it was good,but she did bad things because she felt she was bad,she believed she was ugly and it was a testifier to her true nature that she didnt abort the baby.There is no time to write more but trust me this book is highly recommendable.I normally stop reading a book when the teenage character gets pregnant cause it never ends well but I was pushed to complete this one and i wasnt disappointed nor was I left feeling sad.It was a perfect ending to a perfect story.

    ReplyReply

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