Nothing But Blue

Lisa Jahn-Clough. Houghton Mifflin, $16.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-618-95961-7
Jahn-Clough (Me, Penelope) offers a fresh take on the literary device of amnesia in this gripping novel about a teenage girl who embarks on a quest after a disaster. She chooses the name "Blue" for herself as she journeys to a remembered home. Jahn-Clough effectively infuses elements of magical realism into a narrative grounded in the psychology of trauma, as Blue meets a dog she names Shadow who speaks only to her. Flashbacks reveal her former low self-esteem, especially in her ill-considered relationship with a popular boy named Jake, who takes advantage of her naiveté; scenes with Blue's parents illustrate their disappointment at not having a popular, pretty daughter. Blue has moments of terror and desperation during her trek, while also forming brief but powerful connections to those under similar duress. Blue's reward for tackling the painful road to recovered memory is the formation of a triumphant new sense of self. Readers should find this resilient heroine's poetic observations about survival and identity as memorable as the details of her harrowing ordeal. Ages 14–up. (May)
Reviewed on: 07/08/2013
Release date: 05/01/2013
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