Hello – It’s super hot here in CT and it was refreshing to stay inside today and read this awesome book! I had seen it floating around on Twitter and I have been actively searching for more LGBT-centric books to read in honor of June being Pride month, so I picked up this one (as well as Not Like It’s a Secret — review for that is up on Wednesday!).
Title: Ramona Blue
Author: Julie Murphy
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
I didn’t really know what to expect from this book. I hadn’t heard what it was about online, other than the fact that it contained LGBT themes. After reading the blurb inside the cover, I figured I would still read it to see how I could compare it to other books I have read focusing on the LGBT community. I have to say that this was a very heartwarming read. I felt a connection to both Ramona, and her sister, and their relationship throughout the book. It made me want to be there with the two of them and I felt like I was soaking up their love through the pages. The setup of the book also goes by each month in Ramona’s life, so I liked that timeline setup for this particular novel.
I truly loved Ramona as a character. I thought she was written in a way that was very relatable and I felt like I knew her. She was genuine and the struggle she encounters in the book is something I have heard from many people who are in the Community. She struggles with her sexuality–whether she is gay, straight, bisexual, or many other labels–but this shows what it is actually like for the person going through it. I’ve seen reviews saying that the author made it seem like her connection with Freddie ‘turned her straight’, but I didn’t get that vibe. I got the vibe of a teenager questioning their sexuality and how they fit in to a specific label. The book also touches on a race issue and how that plays into culture in the South, so I immediately picked up on that, where I think it is important to mention today in our current political climate.
One thing I didn’t like was Grace. I’m not saying that she wasn’t written in a way that wasn’t believable–she was!–I just didn’t like the character herself. Once you read the book, it will be obvious as to why, but I felt like this happens more often than not when someone is questioning their identity. I think she sort of redeemed herself at the end of the book which I was thankful for, but how she acted in the beginning towards Ramona bothered me: for good reason. Though, Grace’s own struggles happen in reality as well, so it was good to have that represented too.
All in all, I enjoyed this book. I would recommend it to fans of YA novels such as Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. I thought it represented the struggle of a teen discovering their identity well and made me empathize with the characters.
Happy reading! ~ Taylor