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Ramona Blue
Cover of Ramona Blue
Ramona Blue
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The fourth novel from Julie Murphy, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dumplin'—now a Netflix feature film starring Danielle Macdonald and Jennifer Aniston, with a soundtrack by Dolly...
The fourth novel from Julie Murphy, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dumplin'—now a Netflix feature film starring Danielle Macdonald and Jennifer Aniston, with a soundtrack by Dolly...
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  • The fourth novel from Julie Murphy, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dumplin'—now a Netflix feature film starring Danielle Macdonald and Jennifer Aniston, with a soundtrack by Dolly Parton!

    For fans of Rainbow Rowell and Morgan Matson, Julie Murphy has created another fearless heroine, Ramona Blue, in a gorgeously evocative novel about family, friendship, and how sometimes love can be more fluid than you first think.

    Ramona was only five years old when Hurricane Katrina changed her life forever.

    Since then, it's been Ramona and her family against the world. Standing over six feet tall with unmistakable blue hair, Ramona is sure of three things: she likes girls, she's fiercely devoted to her family, and she knows she's destined for something bigger than the trailer she calls home in Eulogy, Mississippi. But juggling multiple jobs, her flaky mom, and her well-meaning but ineffectual dad forces her to be the adult of the family. Now, with her sister, Hattie, pregnant, responsibility weighs more heavily than ever.

    The return of her childhood friend Freddie brings a welcome distraction. Ramona's friendship with the former competitive swimmer picks up exactly where it left off, and soon he's talked her into joining him for laps at the pool. But as Ramona falls in love with swimming, her feelings for Freddie begin to shift too, which is the last thing she expected. With her growing affection for Freddie making her question her sexual identity, Ramona begins to wonder if perhaps she likes girls and guys or if this new attraction is just a fluke. Either way, Ramona will discover that, for her, life and love are more fluid than they seem.

About the Author-

  • Julie Murphy lives in North Texas with her husband who loves her, her dog who adores her, and her cats who tolerate her. After several wonderful years in the library world, Julie now writes full-time. When she's not writing or reliving her reference desk glory days, she can be found watching made-for-TV movies, hunting for the perfect slice of cheese pizza, and planning her next great travel adventure. She is also the author of the young adult novels Dumplin' (now a film on Netflix), Puddin', Ramona Blue, and Side Effects May Vary. You can visit Julie at www.juliemurphywrites.com.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 3, 2017
    There are two things Ramona knows: she likes girls, and she’s the responsible one in her family, especially now that her sister, Hattie, is pregnant. The girls’ mother left their coastal Mississippi town after Hurricane Katrina, they live in a trailer, and Ramona is juggling multiple jobs. As the book opens, Ramona is starting her senior year; with Grace, the tourist she has been dating, leaving, there isn’t much to look forward to. Then Ramona’s childhood friend Freddie moves back to town, and his grandmother adds Ramona to their YMCA membership. It turns out that Ramona has potential as a swimmer—as well as unexpected feelings for Freddie. In Eulogy, Miss., Murphy (Dumplin’) creates a place that feels deeply real, a Gulf Coast vacation town that’s racially and economically diverse: Ramona is white and poor, Freddie is black and middle class, and the biggest divide might be between the year-round residents and the summer visitors. It’s a great setting for a coming-of-age story, as Ramona realizes that she’s capable of more than she imagined and that some categories are more fluid than she’d thought. Ages 13–up. Agent: Molly Jaffa, Folio Literary Management.

  • AudioFile Magazine Ramona Blue loves the water, but between working several jobs and taking care of her pregnant sister, life is like trying to breathe in the deep end. And while Ramona has always identified as gay, she finds herself falling in love with her best guy friend. Narrator Therese Plummer's folksy Southern accents are at home in this audiobook set in the small town of Eulogy, Mississippi, after Hurricane Katrina. Plummer offers up a variety of vocal twangs and pitches for the cast of friends and family who keep Ramona afloat during her senior year as she faces her biggest fear of all: change. This is a touching YA story about class, identity, and the people who help you keep your head above water. J.E.C. � AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine
  • School Library Journal

    March 1, 2017

    Gr 9 Up-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 cliched 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

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from April 1, 2017
    In Murphy's (Dumplin', 2015, etc.) third novel, a teenage girl navigates the complexities of romance and identity.Ramona "Blue" Leroux--6 foot 3, white, blue-haired, and gay--has always known who she is and where she is (or isn't) going. Living in a trailer in post-Katrina Eulogy, Mississippi, Ramona does her best to save and provide for her dad, older sister, Hattie, and soon-to-be niece. One of only three queer kids in town, she's always been sure she's attracted to women, and Ramona feels lucky that her coming-out experience was nothing more than "a blip." But this year, everything is changing. She's losing her sister to the coming baby and to Hattie's irresponsible, irritating baby-daddy, who has squeezed into their trailer. Her summer fling with closeted, white out-of-towner Grace may not withstand distance. And then Ramona's black childhood best friend, Freddie, unexpectedly moves back to Eulogy, and, as they reconnect through their shared history and a passion for swimming, she is surprised to find her desires and feelings for Freddie growing deeper. Ramona's first-person narration is tender and compelling, and the love she feels for the diverse cast of secondary characters is palpable. Murphy beautifully incorporates conversations about identity and diversity--including the policing of Freddie's black body, heteronormative expectations, and diverse sexualities (Ramona's white friend Ruth identifies herself explicitly as homoromantic demisexual)--with nuance and care. An exquisite, thoughtful exploration of the ties that bind and the fluidity of relationships, sexuality, and life. (Fiction. 14-adult)

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from March 1, 2017
    Grades 9-12 *Starred Review* Julie Murphy (Dumplin', 2015) knows a thing or two about navigating the worlds of girls on the brink of self-discovery. In Ramona Blue, that girl is Ramona Leroux, over six feet tall and sporting blue hair. She's also one of only two out lesbians in her little town of Eulogy, Mississippi, where she lives with her father and sister in the FEMA trailer they never left after Hurricane Katrina. Her sister, Hattie, recently pregnant, jokes that Ramona can do whatever she wants with her future, but Ramona has no such illusions. My sport she thinks, the special skill I've developed my whole lifeis surviving. Because of this pragmatism, Ramona has never doubted herself. It's not easy being gay in Eulogy, but it's a label she owns proudly, until her childhood friend Freddie moves back to town. Freddie's a straight guy, African American, and well off, but a love of swimming connects the two. Freddie talks Ramona into spending time at the pool, and as she falls more in love with the sport, she realizes she's falling in love with him, too, questioning everything she knows about herselfeverything she's fought to make her town and family accept. Murphy mines Ramona's inner workings with particular skill. Ramona's often-fraught relationships with her family are carefully, lovingly crafted, and her connection with Hattie is an especially important one. Her growing feelings for Freddie come slowly and organically, never feeling contrived. For many teens, Ramona will be a worthy companion as they undergo their own emotional journeys.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2017, American Library Association.)

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