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Monday, April 02, 2012

cover of 'Blue' by Lou Aronica

Chris and his daughter Becky created the imaginary world of Tamarisk wen Becky was a little girl going through scary leukemia treatment. They invented a world with fabulous colors and fascinating colors, and told stories about Princess Miea night after night in Becky's bed, before bedtime. Now, Chris has a strained relationship with his teenage daughter, and the haven't told any Tamarisk stories in the 4 years since Chris and Polly, Becky's mother, were divorced. Suddenly, Becky discovers that Tamarisk is real, and that she can visit - and even take her father - but only from her childhood bed, where they invented Tamarisk, now in her father's apartment.

Becky is having nosebleeds and dizzy spells that she tries to ignore; Tamarisk and Miea (now the queen, because her parents died in a tragic bridge collapse) are struggling with a blight that is devastating the landscape and threatens to destroy entire sections of Tamarisk if not all of it. Chris is a plant scientist, and he tries to help; but soon Miea figures out that Becky has symbiotic relationship with Tamarisk. Even as Becky's cancer has returned in the "real" world, Becky is healthy and energetic in Tamarisk, and her presence helps the plants.

Miea proposes that Becky come live there forever, but Becky won't go without her mother's blessing, and Polly never believed in Tamarisk or participated in the stories. Becky is weak and dying in her bed at Chris' house, and Polly finally gives her blessing as a way of providing hope to her dying daughter, who Chris fears may already be too weak to make the transit. As Becky passes, the white bedspread on her bed turns a deep Tamariskian blue, the color of Tamarisk plants when they are healthy; and her parents take this as a sign that Becky made it, that all is well.

Threaded through the book are references to a mysterious storyteller named Gage, who makes this connection to Tamarisk possible. There are also suggestions that Tamarisk somehow is a refuge to other children who are unwell. However, there are also some moments that add to the ambiguity of the ending; for instance, when Chris is out at restaurants and bars, he keeps thinking he sees a familiar face (young women who look like Princess Miea).

I felt like this book is "fantasy" in much the same way that Bridge to Terebithia is, which is to say not much - it's more about the real-world problems and relationships (although I think there's more fantasy here, maybe almost half of the book).

I read this as an ebook because it was a Barnes & Noble "Free Fridays" selection. I was a little annoyed at the formatting (no text resizing, end-of-line hyphens that were preserved mid-paragraph, etc.), but it's hard to complain too much about something I got for free.

Author:Lou Aronica
Date published:2010
Genre:Young Adult
Number of pages:400
Notes:read an ebook


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