Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Julie Murphy
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Hurricane Katrina left Ramona’s life in shambles and, twelve years later, she is still trying to put the pieces back together. Her mom moved out and is still emotionally distant. Her dad does everything he can to make ends meet. Her sister is the life of the party, but is slowed down by a surprise pregnancy. Ramona is an openly gay, abnormally tall, blue-haired girl, who thinks she knows exactly who she is and what she will do with her life. But the return of Freddie, her childhood friend, in the summer before her senior year of high school, opens the door to possibilities that she had stopped allowing herself to consider. With Freddie, Ramona starts to believe that she deserves happiness and that she doesn’t have to settle for a life of cleaning up her family’s mistakes. By the end, Ramona realizes that all she has ever done is believe the limits that the world set for her, and it’s time to break free.
Ramona Blue chronicles Ramona’s exploration of emotional and physical attraction, so there is moderate sexual content in the book in both homosexual and heterosexual contexts. Also, there is severe language and scenes with underage alcohol consumption. For these reasons, this book is better suited to a more mature audience, but it definitely still has value to the appropriate reader. Ramona is a complex and independent character, and she is an excellent role model in the way she develops self-acceptance despite being poor, looking different, and being gay in a small, Southern town. Though she initially feels doomed to stay in her small town, she ultimately decides that she can take risks and make sacrifices for her own future. Though she knows she has disadvantages, she discovers that she is important enough to be worth the effort. This innate worthiness is something that each person must develop for themselves, and reading about Ramona’s journey can help a reader to recognize their own value and fight for fulfillment.
*Contains moderate sexual content and severe language.