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The Indigo Notebook (Notebook Series #1)

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An exciting new series from the acclaimed author of Red Glass.

Zeeta's life with her free-spirited mother, Layla, is anything but normal. Every year Layla picks another country she wants to live in. This summer they’re in Ecuador, and Zeeta is determined to convince her mother to settle down. Zeeta makes friends with vendors at the town market and begs them to think of upstanding, “normal” men to set up with Layla. There, Zeeta meets Wendell. She learns that he was born nearby, ...

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The Indigo Notebook (Notebook Series #1)

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An exciting new series from the acclaimed author of Red Glass.

Zeeta's life with her free-spirited mother, Layla, is anything but normal. Every year Layla picks another country she wants to live in. This summer they’re in Ecuador, and Zeeta is determined to convince her mother to settle down. Zeeta makes friends with vendors at the town market and begs them to think of upstanding, “normal” men to set up with Layla. There, Zeeta meets Wendell. She learns that he was born nearby, but adopted by an American family. His one wish is to find his birth parents, and Zeeta agrees to help him. But when Wendell’s biological father turns out to be involved in something very dangerous, Zeeta wonders whether she’ll ever get the chance to tell her mom how she really feels—or to enjoy her deepening feelings for Wendell.

Praise for Red Glass:
*“A captivating read.”—School Library Journal, Starred

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Phyllis Kennemer
Told from Zeeta's point of view, the reader learns that she is fifteen years old and biracial with no knowledge of her father. She is tired of her vagabond life with Layla, her free spirited mother who teaches English in a different country each year. Zeeta keeps journals of their escapades and is clutching her new indigo notebook as their flight from Thailand is approaching Ecuador. Two passengers, both from the United States, have attracted her attention—Jeff, the respectable businessman flirting with her mother, and Wendell, a teenager who looks Ecuadorian, but does not speak Spanish. Zeeta soon learns that Wendell has come to Ecuador to find his biological parents, having been adopted from there at birth. She agrees to serve as his translator and help him in his quest. As the story progresses, Layla's developing relationship with Jeff could result in the fulfillment of Zeeta's desire to be part of a "normal" family living in a suburban home in the U.S. The story is filled with adventure and romance as both Zeeta and Wendell gradually come to terms with what is really important in their lives, reminding the reader of the old adage, "Be careful what you wish for . . .." Resau's love of Ecuador and its people shines through in her vivid descriptions of the markets, the countryside, the living accommodations, and in her memorable characters. Reviewer: Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 6–9—This is a family and friendship story turned adventure tale with a touch of romance and an even slighter hint of fantasy. Zeeta, 15, wishes most of all that her mother would settle down so that they could have a regular life, rather than moving her from country to country, quoting the Sufi poet Rumi at every opportunity, and getting involved with eccentric, irresponsible men. As they arrive at their latest destination, a small town in the mountains of Ecuador, Zeeta meets Wendell, an American boy in search of his birth parents. When she agrees to help him in his quest, she becomes involved in a mysterious and ultimately dangerous adventure. As the suspense heats up and becomes more intense, Zeeta's mother is engaged in her own adventure: a relationship with a man who wants her to settle down and become responsible. The change in Layla forces Zeeta to question what she values about her mother, and whether she really wants that suburban lifestyle after all. Well plotted, with a cast of likable and interesting secondary characters and a powerfully atmospheric setting that includes a cave of crystals and a waterfall supposed to have magical powers, this novel succeeds at creating a believable and touchingly gentle romance between Zeeta and Wendell. The fantastic element, Wendell's inherited gift of seeing into the future, is deftly handled. An entertaining and suspenseful read.—Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City
Kirkus Reviews
Upon arriving in Ecuador with Layla, her flaky, globe-trotting mom, 15-year-old Zeeta has no idea that this latest move will prove any different from the whirlwind to which she has become accustomed. Then she meets Wendell, an Otavale-o boy her age adopted at birth by a white couple from Colorado, and agrees to help search for his biological parents. Descending into a mystery rife with small-town secrets, Zeeta struggles to control her feelings for Wendell. At the same time, her mom has a freak accident that results in some serious self-examination and begins acting responsibly, observing social norms and, much to Zeeta's distress, spacing out in front of the television. The characters fairly brim with life in this thoughtful, poignant novel filled with cultural details. The writing is simple but evocative-"Far above, the gray peaks wear long, green robes, swirling into valleys, rippling into smooth mounds." The story's too-neat ending may strain believability for some readers, but this is a minor detraction to an otherwise remarkably engrossing, layered work. (Fiction. 12 & up)
School Library Journal
Gr 8–11—Fifteen-year-old Zeeta has spent every year of her life in a different country thanks to her globetrotting, non-conformist mother, Layla. Now living in Ecuador, Zeeta meets Wendell, a native of Otavalo raised by Americans, who is searching for his birth parents. While Zeeta assists Wendell in his quest, Layla is becoming more responsible after a near-death experience and is even dating a "normal" man. Surprisingly, Zeeta is appalled at the normalcy her mother is exhibiting. Wendell locates his birth father only to learn he is a dangerous man, shrouded in local mystery. Before they know it, the teens are running for their lives. Zeeta's desire for a "normal" life reflects the identity crises faced by many teens. The teenager's relationship with Wendell adds spice and depth to both characters. The audio production of the novel (Delacorte, 2009) by Laura Resau is top-notch, and narrator Justine Eyre adds both vulnerability and strength to the teen voices. Character-driven, with little fast-paced excitement to recommend it, this title will not be in high demand, but patient listeners will be rewarded.—Richelle Roth, Boone County Public Library. Florence Branch, KY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375845246
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 8/10/2010
  • Series: Laura Resau's Notebook Series , #1
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 697,366
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 780L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Laura Resau
Laura Resau lives with her husband, her dog, and her son in Colorado, where she teaches cultural anthropology and ESL (English as a Second Language). She is also the author of What the Moon Saw and Red Glass.
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Read an Excerpt

The Indigo Notebook

By Laura Resau

Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Copyright © 2009 Laura Resau
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780385906142

Chapter 1

It’s always the same, no matter where in the world we happen to be. Just when I get used to noodle soup for breakfast in Laos, or endless glasses of supersweet mint tea in Morocco, or crazy little tuk tuk taxis in Thailand, Layla gets that look in her eyes, that faraway, wistful look, as though she’s squinting at a movie in the distance, and on the screen is a place more exotic, more dazzling, more spiritual than wherever we are.

On rainy hills, she dreams of parched desert drum rituals. On windswept islands, she yearns for ancient jungle secrets. On palm-treed beaches, she imagines sacred mountain water?falls. When her mind starts drifting off, our bodies and suitcases soon follow.

And here we are, Layla and me, on the last leg of a journey from Southeast Asia, our plane swimming in clouds above the Andes, hovering, once again, between homes.

The plane lurches like a spooked elephant. My hands clench my notebook, and my eyes flick back to the flight attendants to see if they’re in emergency mode. No, they’re stuffing sugar packets into a metal container, their faces calm under thick masks of makeup. In the window seat beside me, Layla sits cross-legged, flirting with the middle-aged guy in the aisle seat, both of them leaning across me.

Turbulencedoesn’t faze Layla. She loves it, like a roller-coaster ride thrown in for free, that flutter in the stomach, that rush of adrenaline pulling her into the moment.

I click my seat belt shut and elbow her. “Hey, Layla, the seat belt light’s on.”

She shrugs. “Don’t worry so much, Zeeta, love.”

I reach across and fasten her seat belt. She kisses my temple and leans toward the flight attendant, her blond hair hanging like a curtain over my lap. “Red wine, please.”

Of course, the man insists on paying for her wine, pulling a few bills from a silver money clip with manicured fingers. He’s wearing khaki pants, a neatly tucked-in white cotton shirt, the sleeves carefully rolled up to reveal muscular forearms, and a silver watch. He looks like he stepped out of a magazine ad for something domestic. He’s the quintessential Handsome Magazine Dad, metallic blue eyes and a touch of distinguished gray at his temples. He’d be posed in a shiny stainless-steel kitchen, casually flipping a pancake while his younger wife and daughter smile at the table, as if they’ve been caught midjoke.

I wonder what he thinks of Layla: a cute, disheveled hippie chick in a slightly see-through cotton wraparound skirt tucked over her knees, with her bare toes peeking out. She’s almost thirty-five but looks twenty-five. She always smells of sweet sweat and essential oils, whatever scent addresses her chakra deficiency that day. Today she’s chosen a citrusy smell, something bright and tart.

I used to wish for a Handsome Magazine Dad, but I’ve pretty much given up by this point. Every year in a different country. Fifteen years, fifteen countries, well over fifteen boyfriends for Layla. Fifteen dozen maybe, one for each month. It’s way too late now for a normal home, normal family, normal childhood.

I open my latest notebook, indigo-colored, and ask the man, “What’s your full name?”

“Jeff Ryan.”

I jot that down and then write, Efficiency Consultant for Financial Institutions, which is apparently his job, whatever that is. “Jeff, if you had one wish, what would it be?”

Usually people ask why I’m asking, and usually I say, “So I can remember you,” which is true, and flatters them. But the real reason I’ve filled all these notebooks—a different color in every country—is deeper, buried inside me. It has something to do with wanting to figure out this thing called life, hoping that by sifting through other people’s wishes and memories and dreams, I can find the pieces I need to understand it.

“One wish?” he says, looking amused. His voice is warm and gravelly. “Honestly? To settle down.” He sips his wine, maybe deciding how much more to tell. “My girls are grown. My wife left me three years ago.” He lets out a breath. “I’m tired of the online dating scene in Virginia. I just want my life back to normal.”

I jot down his answer, feeling wistful. To settle down. Normal.

Before I can move on to more questions, he shrugs off the sadness that’s crept into his voice. “So”—he grins at Layla—“you lovely ladies on vacation?”

“Our life is a vacation!” Layla’s extra-giddy since we’re between places. “Phuket last year. Off the coast of Thailand. Now I’ll be teaching English in Otavalo.” She clicks her plastic cup against his and sips. “Cheers!”

Just hearing her mention Phuket makes me ache. In Thailand, I’d woven myself into life in our beach town. I savored my routines—walking through the noisy market, riding my bike down a jungly dirt road, taking morning swims with friends, eating coconut sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves.

I glance across the aisle, out the window, where there’s nothing but pure white mist. And a boy staring into it. He looks about my age, maybe a year or two older. Sixteen? Seven?teen? His skin is just a shade darker than mine, tea without any milk swirled in, and his hair the same as mine, long and black and pulled into a braid. He could be an Otavaleño Indian, a descendent of the Inca. I’ve seen them on street corners all over the world in ponchos, playing pan flutes.

The flight attendant leans toward him, a mauve, lip-lined smile pasted on her face. “¿Señor, algo para tomar?”

He knits his eyebrows. Finally, he speaks, stumbling over his words. “Quiero—quiero—” he says with a heavy accent and an edge of desperation.

Strange. Maybe he only speaks Quichua.

“Orange juice, please,” he finishes in American English. Reaching for the juice, he catches my eye and blushes.

Layla, meanwhile, is on a roll with her captive audience. “This whole region is overflowing with sacred waters. There’s a waterfall that grants your wishes. . . .” She has that look in her eyes now, the mouthwatery look that some people get over chocolate cake.

Jeff nods, looking enraptured. When Layla pauses, he jumps in. “You know, you’re refreshing. Different.” He pulls out a business card from another silver clip. “Let me take you out to dinner. I’m based at banks in Quito for a month, but I’ll be making some visits to a branch in Otavalo.”

Without glancing at the card, Layla tucks it into the waist of her skirt, showing a peek of hips tanned caramel on Phi Phi Island, a short boat ride from our home in Phuket. “Thanks.”

She’ll never call him, and not just because she’s against phones. He’s just someone to charm for a few hours. For a sustained effort of a few weeks or even days, the guy has to be young, unshaven, shaggy-haired, and extremely irresponsible—like her most recent ex-boyfriend, a wandering, dreadlocked artist clown who sold shell jewelry on the beach.

Jeff flashes me his model smile, his teeth unearthly white, probably from a fresh tooth-bleaching strip. “You could come along too. Are you two traveling buddies?”

I smile, trying to swallow the jaded been-there-done-that feeling. “I’m Layla’s daughter.”

From the Hardcover edition.


Excerpted from The Indigo Notebook by Laura Resau Copyright © 2009 by Laura Resau. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 17 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2013

    This is one very good book and I cant wait to read the others!!!

    This is one very good book and I cant wait to read the others!!!! Although i would give it 5 stars if the story had a bit more of plot twists.... other than that it is perfect!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2013


    Amazing book! Very very interesting!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2012

    Simply AMAZING!!!(:

    This is the most amazing book ever! It is inspireing, sweet, with a simplebtouch of sweet pure love!!! I suggest this book to anyone who is interested in different coultures with thrill to it. Very easy yet fun read... kept me in the edge of my seat!!!
    My rating shows 5 stars but its really my way of saying 1,000,000!!! And that goes for the other two books in the series
    And i dont just give any book a rating if 1,000,000(:

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2012


    Hard to read at first, then got really good. I'd definitely recommend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2012

    Pretty good

    The middle and the ending were really good, since the begining was kinda slow.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    6 out of 10

    Though plot of the story was boring and not very interesting, there were very good twists, which makes for a good read.

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  • Posted May 21, 2011

    Good...and yet...

    Though not compelling reading like RED GLASS, The Indigo Notebook has many fun plot twists, despite the recursive Mommy angst. The major reason for not highly recommending it is the truly horrible guinea pig eating. For many of us who have loved our little pig pets, this was a deal-breaker for caring about the rest of the book and its main character.

    What's next - eating cats and dogs in China?

    Very sad inclusion in an otherwise intriguing plot.

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  • Posted January 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Monica Sheffo for Teens Read Too

    At fifteen, Zeeta's life as been anything but ordinary. In those fifteen years, she has lived in fifteen different countries with her flighty single mother, Layla. To document her many experiences and the interesting people she has met along the way, Zeeta keeps a journal. Each journal is a different color to symbolize the country she was living in at the time. This year, she's in Ecuador, where she first meets Wendell, an American boy in search of the birth family he's never known. When she promises to aid him on his quest, she isn't fully aware of what she is agreeing to. Together, they will depart on a journey full of magic and self-discovery as they begin to fall for one another, leading them to realizations that will change their lives forever. Laura Resau presents her readers with a unique plot and a memorable cast of characters, creating an unforgettable read. Zeeta is a strong, independent protagonist who many girls will aspire to be like, and with good reason. Infused with the local language as well as Ecuador's rich culture, THE INDIGO NOTEBOOK is a treasure in its own right.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 1, 2010

    A Good Read....=]

    I found this book to be very interesting. This book is about a fifteen year old girl named Zeeta. She lives in a different country every year with her English teaching mom, Layla. Zeeta really wants to have a normal life. This year, Zeeta finds herself in the Ecuadoran Andes, where sacred waterfalls grant wishes and old Incan gods are in the mountains. Wendell, asks Zeeta to help him search for his birth parents. Wendell is an American teenager. I think this book was very well plotted. Other books I would like to read by this author are the queen of water, the ruby notebook, star in the forest, red glass, and what the moon saw.
    I think Laura Resau is a really good author and I can't wait to read her other books! I would really recommend this book to a friend because I think they should understand how great this book is. In the beginning while I was reading this book it seemed boring, but then when i kept on reading it a fabulous book.

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    Posted May 2, 2012

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    Posted July 7, 2011

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    Posted April 2, 2011

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    Posted November 3, 2011

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    Posted September 9, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2010

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    Posted June 22, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2010

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