Ramona Blue

By: Julie Murphy

Ramona is not your typical heroine in many ways—and proud of it. She is over six feet tall; she is one of the few out lesbians in her small town; and she lives in a trailer.

ISBN: 9780062418357

JLG Release: Sep 2017


Sensitive Areas: Strong language, Discrimination, Strong sexual themes, Drugs, Underage drinking, Criminal culture, Homophobia, Racism
Topics: LGBT , Lesbians , Coming of age , Swimming , Swim meets , The South , Mississippi , Sexuality , Dating , Friendship

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Awards & Honors

YALSA 2018 Best Fiction for Young Adults
Summer 2017 Kids’ Indies Next List, For Teens
Booklist Top 10 Books for Youth 2017, Sports & Romance Fiction
VOYA’s Perfect Tens 2017
Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2017, Teen Books
Chicago Public Library Best Books of 2017, Teen Fiction
BuzzFeed 28 Best YA Books of 2017
Los Angeles Public Library Best of 2017: Teen Books

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Book List*, The Horn Book Magazine, Kirkus Reviews*, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)*

School Library Journal

Seventeen-year-old Ramona Blue stands out in her tiny town of Eulogy, MS, not only because of her height (6’3”) and her hair color (blue). She is also just one of two out lesbians in town. Comfortable in her own skin, Ramona does not question her sexuality—despite attempts from her absentee mother to set her “straight” Seventeen-year-old Ramona Blue stands out in her tiny town of Eulogy, MS, not only because of her height (6’3”) and her hair color (blue). She is also just one of two out lesbians in town. Comfortable in her own skin, Ramona does not question her sexuality—despite attempts from her absentee mother to set her “straight”—until her old childhood friend Freddie moves back to town. Unexpectedly drawn to Freddie, Ramona starts to rethink her identity. Is she gay? Bisexual? What she learns eventually is that labels are not important and that she is OK with figuring things out as she goes along. This atmospheric story unfolds slowly like the hot and humid days of the Deep South. Ramona is an immensely likable narrator; she’s selfless, responsible, and earnest. When the possibility of a swimming scholarship to a community college arises, Ramona rejects the idea initially, as she plans to remain in her dilapidated trailer park home and waitress full-time in order to support her pregnant, unwed older sister. The well-drawn secondary characters who populate Ramona’s world could have been clichéd and stereotypical but are instead given three-dimensional lives through believable dialogue and actions. VERDICT A must-have work that will resonate with teens, especially those questioning their sexual identities.—Melissa Kazan, Horace Mann School, NY

Horn Book

Leroux, nicknamed for her dyed-blue hair and love of the water (all kinds—oceans, lakes, pools), stands out in Eulogy, Mississippi. At six foot three, she’s too tall for the trailer she lives in with her dad and pregnant sister. She’s also a lesbian, a fact that’s accepted in Eulogy but one that limits her romantic options. Leroux, nicknamed for her dyed-blue hair and love of the water (all kinds—oceans, lakes, pools), stands out in Eulogy, Mississippi. At six foot three, she’s too tall for the trailer she lives in with her dad and pregnant sister. She’s also a lesbian, a fact that’s accepted in Eulogy but one that limits her romantic options. Then her childhood friend Freddie moves back to town, and, to her surprise, Ramona discovers that she’s attracted to him. Their ensuing relationship is passionate and unexpectedly natural: “Kissing Freddie doesn’t feel different because he’s a boy, it feels different because he’s Freddie.” Ramona’s subsequent refusal to label herself as gay, straight, or bisexual is refreshing, if unsubtly portayed, as is her frankness about sexuality: “I think about sex. Girls think about sex. Sometimes a lot. I hate this ideas that boys are thinking about sex nonstop and girls are thinking about—what? Stationery and garden gnomes? No.” Like Murphy’s heroine in Dumplin’, Ramona is unapologetically herself. Set against a post-Hurricane Katrina backdrop, the novel also effectively explores issues of race (Freddie is black, Ramona is white), social class, and family responsibility. Ramona dreams of leaving Eulogy, but is resigned to staying to support her family; the satisfying ending gives her the courage, and the means, to look forward to an uncertain but optimistic future. rachel l. smith

Book Details

ISBN

9780062418357

First Release

September 2017

Genre

Fic

Dewey Classification

Trim Size

8 1/4" x 5 1/2"

Page Count

432

Accelerated Reader

Level 4.9; Points: 14;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 5.7; Points: 22;

Lexile

Level HL780L

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Balzer + Bray

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Strong language, Discrimination, Strong sexual themes, Drugs, Underage drinking, Criminal culture, Homophobia, Racism

Topics

LGBT, Lesbians, Coming of age, Swimming, Swim meets, The South, Mississippi, Sexuality, Dating, Friendship,

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Cover Art

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