Wednesday, August 08, 2012
REVIEW: The Twice-Lived Summer of Bluebell Jones by Susie Day
Right from the very first page as we are introduced to Bluebell Jones, I was immediately drawn into the story. It's Bluebell's 13th birthday, and she's rushing through a fairground, holding her birthday cake. And as she passes she witnesses this absolutely tragic, life-changing event. And this book is all about choices, starting with this first huge choice of whether or not Bluebell will allow her fear and the emotion of witnessing this event change her, make her afraid and less confident.
Things get complicated on a completely different level when, while blowing out her birthday candles, Bluebell makes a wish and before her, her future self appears in the form of beautiful, confident, older Red. Who seems to know just what Bluebell should say and do in order for this summer to be the best ever. She gives her the inside information on a cool crowd of teenagers who become her close circle of friends. But things aren't always as they seem. What wish did Red make to end up reliving a summer she's already known?
I love how this book manages to deal with so many things in such a short period of time. I loved the importance of family and friendship in this novel. Blue makes some lovely friends in Fozzie and Dan and especially Merlin, the mysterious magician. But she also has this amazing family, with an older sister and parents who are loveable and supportive (with excellent taste in music!)
But it's also about Bluebell's journey to being confident and taking chances. I loved seeing her breaking out of her shell as the presence of Red seems to make things easier for Blue to do things she wouldn't normally. I loved the subtle message about being comfortable with who you are and knowing what's important in your life.
This book is utterly wonderful. I finished it past my bedtime, and just lay there, with tears trickling down my face remembering the odd beauty of the words I'd just read and wanting to hold onto the feelings that came with reading this book for as long as possible. Now, even days after finishing it, my mind will sometimes wonder back to Bluebell's story and tears will come to my eyes. I really can't recommend this book enough.