Friday, October 27, 2017

Ramona Blue, by Julie Murphy

Eulogy, Mississippi is the type of small town that young people get the heck out of.  But for Ramona, there are not a lot of options – her family lost their home to Hurricane Katrina, her parents separated, and now her older sister is pregnant.  It falls on Ramona to keep things together.  And getting out of town is not in the cards.

She can’t even figure out her own life.  She’s liked girls from the beginning, but after her girlfriend dumps her, Ramona finds herself attracted to her best guy friend Freddie.  What does that mean?  Is she going straight?  Becoming bisexual?  She doesn’t really know, but she fights attempts by the people around her to categorize her.

Just as she did for Dumplin’, Murphy has crafted a rich cast of characters who surprised me and a story with enough twists and turns to defy stereotypes about poverty, small towns, and the South.  It's a story about family, value, and taking big steps.  From believing in your heart that everything will truly work out in the end to being strong enough to leave Neverland (knowing that friends and family will always be there for you in the end no matter how flawed they may be).

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