The Other Side of Blue

Valerie O. Patterson, Author . Clarion $16 (223p) ISBN 978-0-547-24436-5

This slow and predictable debut elaborates the familiar theme of a young artist's coming-of-age. Fifteen-year-old Cyan is dealing with the mysterious death of her father in a boating accident the year before, as well as her mother's remoteness, during a summer vacation on the Caribbean island of Curaçao. Cyan's inner dialogue as she copes with her loneliness and alienation is punctuated with extended contemplations on color: “Color is how we perceive light hitting an object,” she muses, referring to a book by Goethe, a gift from her father. “The color closest to the darkness... is blue.” Her struggles are amplified by the arrival of a potential future stepsister who, Cyan imagines, is everything her artist mother would like her to be—thin, beautiful and a willing protégé. Her only ally is the housekeeper, Martia, whose nurturing serves as a stark contrast to Cyan's disapproving and distant mother. During an awkward sexual encounter with Cyan, Mayur, an overbearing teenage neighbor, finally reveals the piece of information that confirms what most readers will have suspected is at the center of the family dysfunction. Ages 12–up. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 10/19/2009
Release date: 10/01/2009
Open Ebook - 240 pages - 978-0-547-41740-0
Paperback - 223 pages - 978-0-547-55215-6
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