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A Thousand Shades of Blue
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Rachel knew that her mom and dad had been having problems, but she’s dismayed when they take her and her younger brother, Tim, out of school for a year to sail in the Bahamas. There, Rachel’s emotional state vacillates between boredom and disdain. While in port awaiting repairs, the children see their mother in a compromising situation and, unable to voice her feelings even to Tim, Rachel becomes increasingly angry, restless, and reckless. Through a convincing first-person narrative, the novel portrays a family of unhappy people going their separate directions but occasionally finding ways to come together and even to support each other. Rachel’s seething resentment toward her parents is clear, but so is her slowly growing appreciation of her family members as individuals. Though the occasional crude word will keep this paperback out of some high-school libraries, the writing’s emotional honesty and realistic dialogue will appeal to many teens. Grades 9-11. --Carolyn Phelan

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Reviews

"It is well-written, well-paced, easy to read and conveys the message that there is no such thing as a perfect parent... Stevenson's conversational style is a great hook and her mastery of teen dialogue and teen angst is engaging. Highly recommended."-- (10/24/2008) "The author does a fantastic job of making each character relatable to teens...The book flows very smoothly, making it an easy read for teens."-- (12/01/2008) "The feelings of the teenagers are conveyed with understanding and skill by Stevenson."--KLIATT (11/01/2008) "Robin Stevenson writes engagingly for teens...and explores deep issues."-- (12/05/2008) "[Stevenson] eschews cliche in her keen and credible exploration of family dynamics... Readers looking for a family drama with adroit characterization, serious issues, and a little risky romance on the side should sign up for this voyage."-- (01/01/2009) "The characters are well drawn, the ending is realistic and believable, and the plot is reasonably paced. This is a readable, interesting book that would appeal to a teen reader."-- (12/01/2008) "The writing's emotional honesty and realistic dialogue will appeal to many teens."--Booklist (01/01/2009) "Highly recommended."--Tucson Unified School District (01/01/2009) "A nice family to read about--complex without stereotypes, a family you are pulling for...The storyline develops the topics of autonomy, responsibility, sexual mores, and basic angst. It's well-done and brings up the idea of tolerance of shades of grey in life."-- (01/25/2009) "A page-turning plot...Interesting characters and a creative setting."-- (02/01/2009) "This realistically gritty story is full of raw emotion...Teenage girls...will enjoy this first-person coming -of-age story."-- (01/01/2009) "Rachel comes across as a real teen with whom readers will identify. Using the small boat as a setting highlights the cramped, suffocating feeling many young people have when spending a lot of time with parents and siblings. The book has no easy answers...giving the novel a refreshing realism."-- (03/01/2009) "Stevenson treats the family dynamic deftly and contextualizes it with her evocative representation of sailing. In her hands, the acts of learning to sail and learning to understand become graceful illuminations of the other."-- (04/01/2012)

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