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Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

*Follow the Blue* by Brigid Lowry - young adult book review

Also by Brigid Lowry:

Guitar Highway Rose


Follow the Blue
by Brigid Lowry
Young adult 208 pages St. Martin's Griffin March 2006 Paperback    

Brigid Lowry's Follow The Blue centers on Bec, the sensible one in an otherwise quirky family. She has a famous chef for a mother, a depressed father, and two not-quite-ordinary younger siblings. In her family, Bec has always been the normal, good, sensible one. She is used to taking care of Bing, her energetic younger sister, and Josh, her fact-obsessed little brother.

Bec views as like "a whole lot of balls of brightly colored wool thrown in a basket, with stray beginnings and endings and possibilities everywhere"; life is not "neat and tidy." "Let's follow the blue," Bec says. She is right; life isn't always neat and tidy. Bec's life in this story certainly isn't. After her father comes home from being hospitalized for his depression, Bec's parents, Vera and Lewis, decide to go on a six-week vacation cum book tour for her mother's latest cookbook.

"The sensible one," as she is called, is tired of being sensible. She doesn't want to be responsible and sensible all the time anymore; Bec wants to have some adventures of her own. She dyes her hair henna red, wins $500 from a scratch-off lottery ticket, and throws her first party, among other things, most of it with her new, very different friend Jaz along. And then, of course, there's the boy thing. Bec, who is certainly not boy-crazy like some of her friends, meets not one guy, but two. There's Nick, Jaz's brother, who first sees her with her head wrapped in plastic and dressed only in a t-shirt and undies, making scrambled eggs. Then there's Steve, whom she kisses, but that's only because there's alcohol involved....Or is it?

In this funny, thoughtful novel about growing up and being yourself, Bec realizes who she is might not be completely ordinary and boring after all. She learns what it means to take her mother's advice and "lighten up and enjoy the ride."

Brigid Lowry does a brilliant job of drawing you into the story she tells. Her sophmore novel really stands out in the world of young adult fiction. In fact, you'll probably want to reread it! Lowry's engaging style, the magnificent characters, and Bec's story that anyone, at any age, can relate to combine to make this book one of the best young adult novels available.

Bec is just one of a cast of funny, original characters who are completely believable without being at all mundane or boring: Mrs D., the housekeeper hired by Vera and Lewis to care for Josh, Bing, Bec and the house while they're away; Bing, who will make you laugh, along with her guinea pig and constant companion, Begonia; Jaz, Bec's oh-so-cool new Malaysian friend who lives in a giant, fancy house - for the moment. These are only a few of the great characters populating the amazing world Lowry has created.

The only disappointing part of Follow the Blue is a slightly slow beginning that had me daydreaming, but that lasted for only a few pages. After that, I was hooked. Don't put this book down if you aren't satisfied with the way it starts; it gets much, much better.

Follow The Blue, with its page-turning story of self-discovery, growing up, and so much more, both good and bad, get you hooked on Brigid Lowry and have you rushing out to buy her first novel, Guitar Highlway Rose.
Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

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  Jocelyn Pearce/2006 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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