Title: Ramona Blue
Author: Julie Murphy
Series Status: Standalone
# of pages: 406
My rating: 4/5 stars
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 Eulogy, Mississippi. But juggling multiple jobs, her flaky mom, and her well-meaning but ineffectual dad forces her to be the adult of the family. Now, with her sister, Hattie, pregnant, responsibility weighs more heavily than ever.
The return of her childhood friend Freddie brings a welcome distraction. Ramona’s friendship with the former competitive swimmer picks up exactly where it left off, and soon he’s talked her into joining him for laps at the pool. But as Ramona falls in love with swimming, her feelings for Freddie begin to shift too, which is the last thing she expected. With her growing affection for Freddie making her question her sexual identity, Ramona begins to wonder if perhaps she likes girls and guys or if this new attraction is just a fluke. Either way, Ramona will discover that, for her, life and love are more fluid than they seem.
Before I start this review I just have to say how excited and happy I am to finally read a book where the female is not short. As a girl who is on the tall side it was incredible to see myself represented even in a small form as this and honestly it made me enjoy this book even more.
Starting with a more obvious point about this book is its diversity. Not only is it diverse in the height department but the main character at the beginning identifies as a lesbian. Now I have seen many mixed reviews where they say this book is showing that “a lesbian can be turned straight by the right guy” but that is not what I encountered at all. To me this book was talking about the fluidity of the human sexuality spectrum and managed to bring light to the fact that someone can originally identify as one thing but later on discover that they also enjoy something else. That’s what this book does and the main character expressly says that she is not straight but that she no longer knows what to identify as because her feelings and circumstances have changed. I enjoyed this because it showed the fluidity of sexuality in a realistic light.
Then there were the characters who I thought were amazing and helped make this story. In this tiny small town it was wonderful and hilarious to see all of the GSRD (Gender, Sexual, and Romantic Diversity) kids hanging out and being proud of who they are. I loved Ramona because she was so strong but she also had her doubts about everything. It was interesting to see so many different views of sexuality and what the labels mean to them.
Possibly the only thing that left me kind on the disappointed side was I felt that the story was a little lacking. It’s definitely a cute contemporary but it felt like there was not a lot going on besides the romance. There were a couple of side plots but the main part of the story was focusing on Ramona and Freddie and their relationship. I see how this is important to accurately show the fluidity but I felt like with out an overlying plot it felt too much like a romance book and not a cute summery contemporary.
Overall I definitely enjoyed this book for all of its diversity and I feel in depth looks at sexuality.