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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Explains the disease cystic fibrosis and treatments for it. Explores Edinburgh, Scotland, during the famous annual Fringe Festival. Briefly touches on gods in different religions and depictions of angels in famous art.
Strong messages about dealing with loss and the fear of the unknown. Compassion wins out over this fear. Shows the redemptive power of resisting the greed for gossip and profit in our modern media-obsessed world.
Positive Role Models
Jaya is half-Sri Lankan, half white British, and lesbian. She shows compassion for the Being and keeps her away from everyone who may exploit her, including Jaya's own father. Connecting with her family helps alleviate guilt she feels (wrongly) over her mother's death. There are two more LGBTQ characters.
Violence & Scariness
A cult starves and beats its members and stages suicide attempts on rooftops. One man jumps to death in front of main character. Creatures that look like angels fall to Earth with broken wings. Their deaths are broadcast on repeat on TV and the Internet. Character kidnapped, tied up, and beaten. Repeated mentions of recent death of the main character's mother from hitting her head and drowning. Character with cystic fibrosis talks of double lung transplant, short life expectancy, and reoccurring illnesses.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some same-sex kissing with talk of being left alone in bedroom.
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"F--king" a few times, plus "s--t," "damn," "dick," and "piss."
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Products & Purchases
American readers will crave cookies (biscuits) after this book -- the brands mentioned aren't widely available stateside. Many mentions of Instagram and Facebook.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Mention that 17-year-old had a two-day hangover after a party. Dad drinks a large whiskey when he's upset. Smoking around Edinburgh.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Out of the Blue is a debut novel about a bi-racial family (Sri-Lankan and white British) that encounters a possible angel who's fallen to Earth. The main character, Jaya, is lesbian, 17, and compassionate toward the Being she's found. She decides to hide her from crazy cults that beat their members and make them stage suicide attempts on rooftops -- one man falls to his death in front of Jaya. Jaya trusts teh secret with two new friends -- an LGTBQ teen girl with cystic fibrosis and her twin brother -- with the secret, and not her own father. After the recent loss of Jaya's mother from a drowning accident, he's obsessed with locating the Beings and showing them to the world. There's some swearing, including the occasional "f--k," and some teen drinking mentioned. Dad drinks a big glass of whiskey when he's upset. LGBTQ characters kiss. Dealing with loss is a big theme, and compassion wins out over fear of the unknown. Out of the Blue also shows our modern media-obsessed world as it is, greedy for gossip and profit, and how resisting its power is redemptive.
Is It Any Good?
This story is well-paced and often satisfying emotionally as a family dealing with loss begins to recover, but leaves much of the fantasy part unexplored. Readers will not know much more about the Beings than they did at the beginning of the story, and they don't seem to do anything alien and cool. There's a character with cystic fibrosis that needs help and, while it may have been a bit cliche to go there, many readers will expect something to happen there.
If you turn your fantasy expectations off -- good luck -- Jaya and Allie are great characters to root for and focus on instead. It's nice to see lesbian teens get the main love story, and for it just to feel like a regular love story. This weaves in well with the struggle of a father to reconnect with his daughters. The full flashback to the mother's death could have come sooner -- there's not much mystery behind what happened by the reveal -- but Out of the Blue still wraps up in a satisfying way. With some supernatural help, the long process of healing for this family has begun.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.