A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Ramona Blue is a coming-of-age story by the author of Dumplin' and Side Effects May Vary. Ramona, 17, identifies as a lesbian and is romantically involved with a girl at first; two of her closest friends are also gay. Sexual-preference issues, such as how you know if you're gay and what happens when preferences change, are important but aren't by any means the central theme. Family life, growing up, and romance are stronger themes, and racial issues are also briefly explored. Some kissing and making out between same-sex and opposite-sex couples. An opposite-sex couple have sex; seeing the boy put on a condom is mentioned but the sex isn't described, and the boy's a great model for making sure the girl consents. Strong language includes "f--k," "s--t," "lesbos," and "dyke."
What's the story?
At six-foot tall and with hair always dyed the color that gave rise to her nickname, RAMONA BLUE would stand out anywhere. Add to that openly identifying as a lesbian, and you can bet everyone in her small Mississippi-coast town knows who she is. While Ramona's trying to make a long-distance romance work with Grace, a summer tourist, Ramona's childhood friend Freddie moves to town, and the two pick up their friendship right where it left off. As her friendship with Freddie deepens, Ramona starts to wonder if she ever really knew herself or what she wanted from life, especially once Freddie kisses her and she realizes she liked it.
Is it any good?
Julie Murphy brings a wry sense of humor to this thought-provoking coming-of-age story that explores family loyalty, responsibility, love, identity, and more. Teens will relate to Ramona Blue as she tries to figure out herself and her place in the world. Romance veterans will find that part of the storyline pretty predictable, but the colorful cast of characters and the skillfully evoked small-town life on the Mississippi Gulf coast keep the pages turning. Ramona's authentic voice keeps the reader rooting for her right to the end.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the sexual content in Ramona Blue. How much is too much? Should any topics be taboo?
Ramona will do anything for her sister. Would you go as far as she does to help a loved one? Why do you think Ramona does?
Does the romance in Ramona Blue seem realistic? What are some of your favorite teen romances you've read or seen in movies? What makes them work?
- Author: Julie Murphy
- Genre: Coming of Age
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, High School
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Balzer + Bray
- Publication date: May 9, 2017
- Number of pages: 432
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, Kindle
- Last updated: February 4, 2020
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