January 15, 2014

Latest Read: Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar

Here are the basics ...
Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar
Publication date: June 28, 2009
Publisher: Catnip
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Gifted from Estelle (Thanks!)

Summary: Carly has dropped out of uni to spend her days surfing and her nights working as a cook in a Manly cafĂ©. Surfing is the one thing she loves doing … and the only thing that helps her stop thinking about what happened two years ago at schoolies week. And then Carly meets Ryan, a local at the break, fresh out of jail. When Ryan learns the truth, Carly has to decide. Will she let the past bury her? Or can she let go of her anger and shame, and find the courage to be happy? (Adapted goodreads.com)
My thoughts…
The good: Raw Blue was this quiet, introspective novel about a girl trying to bury her past and move on. It made me think about grieving and what a slow and painful process it can be. The pacing and tone of the whole book matched that. Except in this case, Carly is grieving herself and a part of her that she's lost. She does try to move on even when it doesn't seem like it. She tends to keep to herself but she has a job working late shifts in a kitchen and spends her days surfing. Surfing is the thing she loves most in this world and what gets her out of bed in the morning. But she can only run (or surf) away her problems for so long until she's forced to face them.

Carly was a difficult character to get to know - not just for the people around her, but for the reader too. It made sense though. I don't know if the author did it on purpose but it definitely reflected the walls Carly put up. We're introduced to her day-to-day life and her love of surfing and it's clear she's running away from something. We eventually learn her secret and it's heartbreaking. I felt for her so deeply and wanted her to find some semblance of peace. There was just something very raw and honest about the way Carly, and the author, addressed what had happened to her and her overall thoughts on life, relationships, stereotypes surrounding men and women and sex. I enjoyed her candidness.

Through surfing, Carly befriends two people. A kid named Danny who attaches himself to her soon after meeting and despite how young he is, inadvertently shows her what it means to be brave and open. And she meets a guy named Ryan, who she feels immediately drawn to (I felt the same way reading about him!). Their relationship developed slowly even though the attraction and connection between them was intense from the start. A big part of me wanted things to move faster but I do love a slow burning relationship too. He's patient, kind and straightforward and was helping her to heal even when he didn't realize it. I couldn't get enough of their moments together. As Carly begins to open up, she also befriends the landlady at her apartment and there was something almost-maternal about their interactions. These people all care for her and as a result, it let us see the person beneath her pain.

(Super minor) reservations: Her family is mentioned throughout the book and she's distant from her parents and brother. Especially her father. I got the feeling they played an important role in Carly's pain and the decisions she's made but we never really delve too deep into that part of her life. A part of me thinks we should've but then at the same time, I was more invested in the "now" and how she was moving on. Maybe they could've helped with that but then again, maybe they just would've held her back.

Do I recommend?: I do! Honestly, I was expecting the book to be more like the movie Blue Crush and was surprised by how moving Carly's story was. I really, really enjoyed it.

Happy reading!

2 comments:

  1. I've known about Raw Blue for some time now, and it amazes me that I still have not read it! It sounds like an incredibly moving contemporary novel, with a character who sounds real even as she has to deal with all the tough stuff that her life is bringing her way. Glad to hear that you really enjoyed it!

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  2. I'm always very iffy about contemporary that deals with rough pasts because truthfully, it isn't always done right. I've never heard of this book (even though I LOVE contemporary), but I'm interested to read it now, knowing that the character sounds real and deals with her problems and emotions even though her life has been pretty rough. Great, and thoughtful, review! :P

    Sydney @ Utterly Bookish

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