Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy

Ramona Blue

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 Eulo...

Title:Ramona Blue
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0062418351
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:432 pages

Ramona Blue Reviews

  • Adam Silvera
    Nov 30, 2016

    Official blurb: "Julie Murphy delivers a fresh and glorious love story that addresses all the complexities of one's heart. Ramona Blue's discovery of limitless love is total beauty."

    I love love love love this book. There's a scene toward the end I can't stop thinking about. For those who want a hint, I'll just say

    .

  • Cesar
    Oct 18, 2016

    (Actual review)

    4 stars

    I've waited so long for this book to be released and I finally finished it!

    But before we get to the review, let's talk about the 'controversy' behind this book as it garnered a lot of attention. If you have had your eyes on

    for a while, then you would know the original synopsis of the book didn't sound like what the book was supposed to be about: a girl questioning her sexual identity. I do agree that the original synopsis didn't do the book justice and it anger

    (Actual review)

    4 stars

    I've waited so long for this book to be released and I finally finished it!

    But before we get to the review, let's talk about the 'controversy' behind this book as it garnered a lot of attention. If you have had your eyes on

    for a while, then you would know the original synopsis of the book didn't sound like what the book was supposed to be about: a girl questioning her sexual identity. I do agree that the original synopsis didn't do the book justice and it angered a lot of people.

    I, on the otherhand, gave Julie Murphy the benefit of the doubt and thought it was the publishers who made the synopsis, not Julie. A lot of people don't realize that the publishers have more control in the synopsis than the author. Thankfully, the synopsis changed and that seemed to calm some people down.

    Now I'm here to say that this book was good!

    Ramona Blue is about Ramona, who is living in her small town of Eulogy with her father and pregnant sister in a trailer. Hurricane Katrina had destroyed their previous home and had forced them to live in a trailer, leaving them with little money. Ramona's mother flaked out and is living somewhere else, which didn't help the situation. Since then, Ramona has been living her life, trying to her sister with the pregnancy. Soon, her childhood friend, Freddie, moves back into town and their friendship continues from where it left off. But Ramona soon realizes she's developing feelings for Freddie. Even though she considers herself a lesbian, she's struggling to understand if she's bi (or pan), or if this thing with Freddie is a fluke.

    As you can guess, this book deals with a lot of themes in regards to sexuality, money, and even some talk about racism. All three blend together to make a great, heartfelt story. We go on this adventure with Ramona as evaluates her family life and her sexual identity.

    I just want to point out that this isn't a case where Ramona finds the right guy and is turned straight. No matter what you heard from others, this isn't like that. Instead, it explores the idea of fluidity/self-evaluation. Here's a quote pretty much explaining it:

    Ramona still likes girls. She also happens to be falling in love with a boy. Her journey is one I'm sure a lot of people can relate to. We're still growing. And we come to realize that we do not fully understand who we truly are. That's the case with Ramona.

    Anyway, on to my overall thoughts.

    I enjoyed this book. Julie's first book,

    was okay despite Alice being annoying.

    was better albeit another main character that did something that really got on my nerves. And here we are with

    , a book where I liked the plot, the themes, and the main character!

    What I liked most was the family aspect of the book as well as Ramona coming to terms with her sexuality, and that bit about racism. These are real issues that can speak volumes. I'm glad Julie isn't backing away from this and goes at it head on.

    This is a coming of age story where everything is black and white. With Ramona, it falls somewhere in between as she finds herself.

    This is not a story of a lesbian turning straight. It's about a girl realizing her true self. And that is okay.

    I really enjoyed this book. Julie Murphy is slowly starting to become one of my favorite authors and I'll happily read anything by here in the upcoming future.

    Thanks for reading my review!

    -Cesar

    ********************************************************

    (Thoughts on the controversy)

    So the synopsis has been changed! The plot doesn't seem to be bad as it was before. And for those of you wondering, it wasn't Murphy who wrote the synopsis. I'm sure the publisher wrote it. So don't take out your anger on her.

    Also, to the people who rated it 1 star without reading it: I haven't read it. You haven't read it. Stop whining.

    ***********************************

    A while ago, I found out that Julie Murphy is going to revise the synopsis for Ramona Blue. Which is a good thing because the plot could've been written differently. I'm glad Julie is staying strong throughout the hate she's been getting and wish her nothing but support.

    ***********************************

    After the cover was released and we got the synopsis, I've noticed that some people aren't happy with what the book is about. The thing is, these things do happen. Though we don't hear about it often, it's there. There are people who identify as straight and may later realize that they are bi or gay. And with gay people, some realize they are bi.

    With me, I didn't know I was gay until middle school. Before, I didn't think about it really and just thought I liked girls. Then come middle school and then I realized I prefer men.

    It doesn't happen to everyone, but it's there. With bisexuality, you could have a preference for one gender over the other but still, have feelings towards the other. A bi girl is still bi if she's with a man and she's still bi if she's with a woman. So don't judge until the book is released and you have read it.

    Obviously, I'm not going to mark it as read or give it 5 stars since it hasn't been released yet.

    And here's a video that pretty much explains how some people who are gay realize they're bi.

    So before you go and give this book a one star because of the synopsis, understand that these kinds of things happen. People are still understanding themselves even as adults. Some realize it later than others and that's normal.

  • Ava
    Mar 26, 2017

    Actual rating: 4/5 stars

    THIS BOOK.

    Pay absolutely no attention to the low rating on Goodreads. It's because a large amount of biphobic people were misled by the synopsis and rated it 1 star without listening to reviews of people who ACTUALLY read the book. This book deserves so many more stars than that.

    It's about a girl who is discovering her sexuality. She thinks she's lesbian, but then starts to question. Sexuality is fluid, and we need more YA books that explore it. RAMONA BLUE does exactly

    Actual rating: 4/5 stars

    THIS BOOK.

    Pay absolutely no attention to the low rating on Goodreads. It's because a large amount of biphobic people were misled by the synopsis and rated it 1 star without listening to reviews of people who ACTUALLY read the book. This book deserves so many more stars than that.

    It's about a girl who is discovering her sexuality. She thinks she's lesbian, but then starts to question. Sexuality is fluid, and we need more YA books that explore it. RAMONA BLUE does exactly that, and does it perfectly. It is NOT a book about a guy who turns a lesbian straight. It is a book about a lesbian who realizes she's not as sure about her sexuality as she used to be.

    It's about family. Ramona, the main character, has very different relationships with her mom, sister, and dad, and each is explored in the book.

    It's about swimming. We rarely see YA books in which the mc does a sport where it's mentioned more than once, and swimming is a big part of Ramona's life in this book. As a swimmer, I adored it.

    It's about friendship. Ramona has a unique, real group of friends, and I loved it.

    It's about growing up poor, and how that affects your entire life.

    And yes, it's about romance. There IS a boy. That's not all the story is about. It's so much more than that.

    Give RAMONA BLUE a chance. If you do, you'll read a book you'll absolutely fall in love with.

  • The Bookavid
    Dec 01, 2016

    Unacceptable to see bigots trying to tank this book before publication. Every queer experience is valid and sometimes people's orientations, or the ones they identify with, change. Accept that or get out. I would've needed this book as a teen and I'm making damn sure it will receive the attention it deserves.

    I wasn't planning on buying it, but yeah... now you bet I'm preordering and telling all my friends. So thanks!

  • Reagan
    Nov 30, 2016

    how can you not understand the negative ramifications that writing a book where a lesbian finds the 'right guy' and is magically Not A Lesbian anymore is going to have.....like its literally an idea that actively harms ACTUAL lesbians oh my god

    Edit since yall wont leave me tf alone: okay so even if this book does come out and isnt lesbophobic (which i highly doubt b/c guess what yall just cause someone is bisexual or 'queer' doesnt mean they cant be lesbophobic) the use of the 'lesbian falls fo

    how can you not understand the negative ramifications that writing a book where a lesbian finds the 'right guy' and is magically Not A Lesbian anymore is going to have.....like its literally an idea that actively harms ACTUAL lesbians oh my god

    Edit since yall wont leave me tf alone: okay so even if this book does come out and isnt lesbophobic (which i highly doubt b/c guess what yall just cause someone is bisexual or 'queer' doesnt mean they cant be lesbophobic) the use of the 'lesbian falls for a guy' trope in the blurb is gross and disgusting and yall can shout about sexuality being fluid all you want but at the end of the day the idea that a lesbians sexuality can change to include men is harmful in very real ways

    edit again cause guess what im still pissed: so its childish and immature to preemptively rate a book one star b/c i find the premise insulting and offensive but when people are rating it five stars b/c they cant handle criticism against a book that isnt even thiers its okay? jfc

  • Shelly
    Nov 30, 2016

    Now that I've read

    , I can tell you that my excitement for it was totally founded. Ramona is definitely a complicated individual, and reading her journey was intense. While the uproar about this novel focused on her sexuality, a big part of the novel is about Ramona figuring out her place within her family and how her future is impacted by her sister's pregnancy, as Ramona is determined to be there for her sister but feels the weight of all their financial burdens. I would classify th

    Now that I've read

    , I can tell you that my excitement for it was totally founded. Ramona is definitely a complicated individual, and reading her journey was intense. While the uproar about this novel focused on her sexuality, a big part of the novel is about Ramona figuring out her place within her family and how her future is impacted by her sister's pregnancy, as Ramona is determined to be there for her sister but feels the weight of all their financial burdens. I would classify this novel as a 'coming of age' one because Ramona has a lot of decisions about her future weighing on her and she is still attempting to just find her place in the world.

    In terms of her relationship with her childhood friend, her feelings for Freddie confuse her and she questions her sexuality, and it's clear that she may eventually identify somewhere under the bisexual umbrella. There was some concern over the novel's original blurb, but rest assured that the trope of a lesbian "needing to find the right man to turn her straight" is not in this book.

    --

    : I have pre-emptively given this book 5 stars because I see the GoodReads rating is so low. I’m aware that this book is being lowly rated for its potential queer representation and I’m going to speak about that for a bit. RAMONA BLUE is about Ramona, a lesbian teen who (based on the GoodReads description) discovers that perhaps she may have feelings for a boy she bonds with over a shared passion for swimming. Because sexuality is fluid, I do think readers deserve a chance to read the novel first (or at least a few pages of it) before deciding for themselves whether or not they view the representation as harmful. Not everyone will agree but I do think having different representations of sexuality will allow teens to find a place in literature for (literally) whatever they are going through. If you know me, you know I have spoken out against harmful representations about LGBT characters but I don’t think that will be the case with RAMONA BLUE (when I read it, I can update my review). For more thoughts on this (and probably better than I can say), please read

    as well as Hannah Moskowitz’s twitter thread (as linked by Tristina).

  • Janie
    Dec 01, 2016

    From the premise alone, I'm already pretty irritated, especially coming from an intensely religious background. This is the type of thing in which the traditional homophobes pervading my youth would rejoice, as a weapon to combat lesbianism and female attraction towards the same sex in general.

    Ultimately, whether or not this is intended to be a discussion of bisexuality, it's being presented in an awful and dangerous way. The last thing the lesbian community needs is more fascination placed on

    From the premise alone, I'm already pretty irritated, especially coming from an intensely religious background. This is the type of thing in which the traditional homophobes pervading my youth would rejoice, as a weapon to combat lesbianism and female attraction towards the same sex in general.

    Ultimately, whether or not this is intended to be a discussion of bisexuality, it's being presented in an awful and dangerous way. The last thing the lesbian community needs is more fascination placed on the already-overemphasized Erica Moen-esque narrative of "I was a lesbian, but then I met the perfect man and now he and I are married!" It is hard enough for young lesbians, who generally must with copious amounts of compulsory heterosexuality and blatant homophobia, and are constantly being told "you just need to find the right man," without this insipid storyline saying the same thing. It is is hard enough for young lesbians, who are being told to doubt themselves from nearly every possible avenue, without MORE voices being added to the clamor.

    The last thing young lesbians (ANY lesbians) need is a story affirming that "it's okay for women to end up with men." Hell, that's the last thing bisexual women need, too. We all know it's okay for women to end up with men. All we've ever heard, our entire lives, is that it's okay to end up with men, and that we SHOULD be ending up with men, and that we WILL end up with men. A story which addresses how it is okay to buck "lesbian identity" and end up with men anyway is always going to be a useless, actively damaging story. Hope this flops.

  • Cait • A Page with a View
    Apr 02, 2017

    This was one of the most beautifully honest books I've ever found. It took me like twice as long to read it at a super slow pace because I was so into everything! I think I highlighted half of this book...

    Ramona is a 6’3” teen with blue hair who lives in a deteriorating FEMA trailer with her dad, sister, and sister's boyfriend. Their mom left after Hurricane Katrina and their dad spends all of his time

    This was one of the most beautifully honest books I've ever found. It took me like twice as long to read it at a super slow pace because I was so into everything! I think I highlighted half of this book...

    Ramona is a 6’3” teen with blue hair who lives in a deteriorating FEMA trailer with her dad, sister, and sister's boyfriend. Their mom left after Hurricane Katrina and their dad spends all of his time working incredibly hard for very little pay. Ramona had some cash saved up to get herself out of there, but decides to use it to help when her sister gets pregnant.

    The story takes all of these situations that could easily be depressing and weaves them into an insightful, hopeful narrative that ends up being a beautiful portrait of a teen figuring out who she’ll allow herself to be. Ramona’s put a lot of unintentional limitations on herself in multiple areas of her life and slowly starts to see she has the freedom to choose.

    Part of the story revolves around Ramona’s frustration that a girl she was in love with that summer won’t come out or break up with her boyfriend. But then Ramona starts to understand that girl’s confusion. (This is the part of the book that’s been receiving so much hate from people who haven’t read it, so let me say it’s really well done and doesn’t really have the message people have been claiming).

    Ramona came out as a lesbian when she was younger, but suddenly finds herself attracted to her childhood friend Freddie. She really wrestles with how this could define her now and doesn't want anyone to think that she was

    She feels guilty every time she kisses Freddie and doesn't want people to think she's "cured" now. Ramona’s only lesbian friend reminds her that she’s

    But Ramona isn’t comfortable labeling herself as bisexual either. She has some pretty deep insights as she worries that she'll lose part of her identity. I wish I could articulately convey how well done everything is as Ramona finds her place in the world...

    I think Ramona’s narration was what made the story so strong. She has no self-pity and is just trying to take care of her family and do the best that she can in each situation. Ramona turns out to be good at swimming and a coach offers to help her, but Ramona thinks she needs to invest all of her time and energy into working. She knows that

    She’s focused purely on surviving.

    This is the first YA story I've found that

    what life is like for a poor family who loves each other and is just doing everything they can to get by. Their poverty wasn’t a plot device and the characters were so much more than their situation. I grew up in a poor, rural area and lived in a 8’x5’ camping trailer for awhile, so I can’t explain how wonderful it was to see the depth in these characters. The author accurately depicts a poor life in a small town without looking down on it in any way. And I really related to a ton of Ramona’s observations, like how she’d walk into a friend’s nice house and feel like she was depreciating the value just by being there.

    The story covered so many other important things too, like how Freddie has Ramona wake up to the fact that he could be shot for something she’d consider a silly antic because he’s black. The humanity in this story was amazing and I really don’t have the words to properly explain how much I connected with everything. Plus, I was totally enchanted by the writing... it just really conveyed the steady, slower pace of the town and Ramona's levelheaded approach to life.

    So, no, I don't it's problematic to have a teenage lesbian fall in love with a guy in the way that this book carries it out. The story sends the positive, healthy message that it's ok to still be figuring out your sexuality and that you don't need to worry about restricting yourself to a label. I understand the initial reaction people had to the book description, but I the story really ended up being different than the assumptions.

    If you like YA contemporaries, this is definitely one of my top recommendations of 2017!


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