Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy is a Perfect Ten!

Murphy, Julie. Ramona Blue. Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, 2017. 432p. $17.99. 978-0-06-241835-7. 5Q 5P S NA

Ramona “Blue” Leroux is one of only two out lesbians in her small southern town in post-Katrina Mississippi. She is initially devastated by the departure of her (closeted) summer love, Grace, but becomes distracted by the return of Freddie, a boy she knew from childhood. Their friendship strengthens after a dramatic party leaves them both rejected and single. Despite working two jobs to support herself and her pregnant sister, Ramona begins swimming laps with Freddie. While becoming increasingly drawn to the pool, her relationship with Freddie grows beyond platonic, causing her to question her sexual identity. Believing they are too different—he has opportunities while she is stuck—Ramona ends the relationship. After the birth of her niece, Ramona realizes that she is not trapped; she joins the swim team at a community college and reunites with Freddie. Ramona decides that her path is entirely her own to decide.

New York Times bestselling author Murphy knocks it out of the ballpark with this novel. With a consistent pace, the storyline flows effortlessly and the plot is immediately engaging, remaining so until the last page. Murphy’s writing style is humorous, inclusive, and realistic, and the characters’ interactions are flawless. This novel impeccably addresses LGBTQA+ and race issues (Ramona is white, Freddie is black) in a heartfelt and natural way. Readers of all backgrounds will find something to relate to within this novel. The message of finding your own path, letting some things in life flow, and not being afraid to be your own person in a world full of labels is powerful and moving in Murphy’s expert care. This novel deserves a place on every library’s shelf.—Kimberly Barbour.

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