Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bright Blue Miracle A Refreshing Beacon of Light

Take a stroll through the YA section of any bookstore, and it's bound to get depressing. After all, a crowd of creatures you've previously met only in nightmares leers at you from every shelf. Wizards, vampires, werewolves, demons, djinni - welcome to the decade of dark fantasy. Considering this sea of bleakness, is it any wonder Bright Blue Miracle stands out? With its bright, whimsical cover and sunny title, Becca Wilhite's first novel shines like a beacon in murky water. It just screams "Happy Book!" And who doesn't need some happy in a world made even more dreary by so much black-cloaked reading material in the kid's aisle?

If you're expecting life between the covers of Bright Blue Miracle to be a bed of roses, think again. Its heroine, 17-year-old Leigh Mason, can attest to that. When the novel opens, her widowed mother is breaking big news - She and her boyfriend are getting married. Not that Leigh doesn't like her mother's fiancee, but he's not her fun, big-hearted dad. Plus, he comes with a perfectly nice, perfectly beautiful teenage daughter. Who will be moving in with Leigh, who is decidedly unperfect.

Leigh tries to make the best of an uncomfortable situation, but the transition isn't particularly smooth. She knows she should like her new stepsister; Betsy's so nice there's no reason not to like her, but their forced friendship bugs just the same. Especially when Betsy starts dating Leigh's best friend Jeremy Bentley. The relationship between Leigh and "Germ" has always been as comfortable as a pair of worn blue jeans, with no romance involved, but suddenly Leigh's wondering what could have been if Little Miss Perfection Personified hadn't shown up. Being the third wheel is no fun, but she doesn't want to lose her best friend. How can she keep him focused on her? And can she do it without destroying her family, in all its blended glory? When a crisis sucker-punches her good and hard, Leigh will find out what it really means to be a friend - and a family.

As you can see, Bright Blue Miracle offers a simple, no-frills plot. At times I wanted more depth from the novel, but I also appreciated the tight focus on Leigh and her relationships with Betsy and Germ. The whole "bizarre love triangle" thing did get a little weird for me, although it was all very innocent and platonic. Besides that, however, I really enjoyed this read. It was quick, funny and upbeat. Pitch perfect, it's Leigh's voice that really carries the novel. She's sarcastic, but not obnoxious, bitter but not mean, likeable but not flawless. She comes off as very real. The book did not wrap up as predictably or cheesily (is that I word?) as I thought it would - so that was a nice surprise. Overall, I found Bright Blue Miracle to be a sweet, clean read with a lot of heart. Just gazing at the cover is a pick-me-up. Refreshing, isn't it?

Grade: B

(Book image from Barnes & Noble)

4 comments:

  1. This sounds like a fun light read... just what I've been in the mood for lately! I love YA fiction for that reason.

    Have you read "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society"? I blogged about it yesterday at az6pack.blogspot.com. I LOVED it!

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  2. Susan, I have a copy of "The Guernsey. . ." which is currently lent out (we are all librarians!) but which I can lend to you when it comes back if you are interested.

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  3. I'd love it, Laurel. I've heard so much about this book - all good. Thanks for the recommendation, Christy!

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  4. I wasn't sure I would like this book when I 1st started reading it(Too Much teenager DRAMA) However, it really has the makings of a great book. I laughed, cried, and got so involved with the story,that I was sad when it was done. I recommend it to everyone. It's a great clean book for an afternoon read, less than 200 pages.

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