Blue by Lou Aronica

 

FantasyBlue by Lou AronicaYoung Adult

One of the worst things a parent can face is a deadly illness in his/her child. Chris and Polly divorced after their daughter Becky recovered from childhood cancer. Before the divorce, Chris and Becky told stories about an invented land, Tamarisk. When he moved out, Becky refused to tell the stories or even discuss their land again. Now Chris only gets to see Becky on the weekends. She is a sullen 14-year-old.

Chris feels disconnected from his daughter. He had been a plant geneticist, but has since been promoted to an administrative position he hates. The only person who he can connect with is his best friend Lisa. She keeps trying to fix him up with different women and regales him with her own stories with her boyfriend.

One weekend when Becky is visiting Chris, she has a strange experience. First she has a voice talking to her, then she sees Meia, the princess from Tamarisk. They talk a little and Becky learns how she can probably visit Tamarisk. Becky’s attitude suddenly changes. The next morning Chris has a happier daughter who is happier and connecting with him once again.

Queen Meia is worried. There is a blight threatening some regions of Tamarisk. If the plants die off, so will species only native in that region. Her parents died when she was finishing her studies at the university and for the past few years she has had all the responsibilities of running Tamarisk. When she connects with Becky, she feels hope.

Lou Aronica has written an imaginative book. Blue uses alternative realities in a way that’s new to me. I found the book fascinating. Early in the book he tells Becky’s story and Meia’s story separately. But as they draw together, the story takes the twists that keeps the reader’s interest. Chris, Becky, and Meia’s characters come alive. Tamarisk has a lot of aspects that Becky is able to remember making up. But did she? Tamarisk seems to be a real place.

Blue is an interesting, entertaining book. The fantasy genre has a new direction to explore in Aronica’s young adult book.

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