Out of the Blue

( 3 )

Overview

Stu and his mom are heading to Minot, North Dakota, where she will assume command of the Air Force base. But this time it will be just the two of them. His brother is away at college, and their father has abruptly decided to move to Nevada. With his family scattered and his mother preoccupied with military duties, Stu finds himself on his own and adrift in this new environment, caught between a respect for the regimented life of the military and an aching desire for independence and freedom. As he struggles to ...

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Out of the Blue

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Overview

Stu and his mom are heading to Minot, North Dakota, where she will assume command of the Air Force base. But this time it will be just the two of them. His brother is away at college, and their father has abruptly decided to move to Nevada. With his family scattered and his mother preoccupied with military duties, Stu finds himself on his own and adrift in this new environment, caught between a respect for the regimented life of the military and an aching desire for independence and freedom. As he struggles to find his way, he is pulled into his neighbors' dysfunctional family drama and becomes an unwitting participant. When tragedy finally strikes, Stu must come to terms with his own culpability. Once again, award-winning author S. L. Rottman has crafted an absorbing young adult novel that powerfully depicts the emotional turbulence of teenage life and the difficulty of negotiating complex human relationships.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Phyllis Kennemer
Stuart's mom is the new commander of the Air Force Base in Minot, North Dakota. Although Stuart is used to frequent moves, this one is different. His older brother is away at college and his dad is taking care of his grandmother in Nevada. Then his mom is deployed to an unknown location for an unspecified length of time. A bachelor officer comes to stay with Stuart, but does not offer much supervision or companionship. Stuart's sixteenth birthday is approaching and he is miserable because there is no one available to accompany him to get his driver's license. He is offered drugs and alcohol at parties he should not have attended. He suspects that his eight-year-old neighbor is being abused, but does not know what to do about it. Stuart gets ensnarled in making a lot of bad decisions, some of which result in near-tragedies. Presents a realistic view of a teen's struggles when left alone to adjust to new situations and circumstances. Reviewer: Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 5–9—Stuart Ballentyne, 15, keeps everyone around him at a distance. His mother is in the Air Force, which keeps him moving around a lot. He doesn't have time to make friends or lasting connections with people outside of his family. Things are changing in the Ballentyne household, however. Stuart's older brother has gone off to college, and his father is in Nevada taking care of his ailing grandmother and taking a break from Stuart's mom. Since she is busy with her new duties, Stuart finds himself more alone than ever. Billy, an eight-year-old neighbor, does his best to befriend the newcomer. Although Stuart doesn't like the boy tagging along, he can't help but let Billy become part of his new life. As he gets to know the child and his mysterious older stepbrother, Stuart feels that something bad is going on across the street, but he doesn't act on his suspicions. When he finally realizes he should speak up, tragedy strikes. The story offers both a realistic interpretation of teenage life on an Air Force base and the teen's feeling of powerlessness upon witnessing child abuse—both physical and verbal—in action.—Ryan Donovan, New York Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
Stu knows the military. His mom is a colonel stepping into an assignment as base commander at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. What's really new is that his older brother is off to college and his dad is in Nevada with Gram. It may be a trial separation for his parents, and Stu is feeling odd, missing the normal household chaos. A neighboring family with an eight-year-old and a kid Stu's age has its own struggles as a stepfamily and are newbies to the "blue." When his mother is deployed, Stu struggles to cope with surprise after surprise. Getting a driver's license, sports, e-mail pals and girlfriends mingle as plot elements with what it means to "come into the blue," as being a part of the Air Force family is called. Stu's choices are key to a terrible accident that feels almost inevitable. There's no skirting consequences, nor seeing the mistakes in hindsight. This tale is mostly plot-driven, the best aspect being the portrayal of the effects of deployment on military families. Timely. (Fiction. 12-16)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781561454990
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 10/28/2009
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,037,747
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 660L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.54 (w) x 8.34 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    highly recommended - great book to pass the time.

    i received this book as a present but never got around to reading it. When i did begin though, i couldn't put it down. Its a heartwarming story about a son, mom and 8 year old neighbor. i would continue but i don't want to spoil anything for anyone. All i will say that there are many surprises (one of the biggest at the end of the book). Also, keep in mind, when you finish the book look at the cover and it all makes sense :)

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  • Posted October 2, 2010

    A More Than Pleasurable Read

    I got this book about a year ago, and it was what really got me back into reading in general. Out of the Blue is an excellent story about what it's like to be a teenager growing up in and out of places around the country, and in an atmosphere of tradition, respect and danger like that in the United States Air Force.

    The morals and themes in this book are ones I think everyone in the world should reflect on, especially teenagers like myself. And yes, including myself. Community, duty, and what to do next when you've messed up and the consequences hit you hard.

    Get this book, read it though, and reflect on it. Even if you've learned those lessons before, the drama, humor and amazingly fleshed out characters will keep you interested and entertained the entire way though.

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  • Posted October 2, 2010

    Highly Recommend - timely subject matter for teens

    I obtained a copy of this book for my 13 year-old daughter and have since purchased one for her Lit. teacher. It is a my favorite of all of SL Rottman's books. The main character encounters several difficult situations, each of which is a learning experience.

    Parents and teachers alike could easily use this book to start conversations with thier young teens about timely subjects.

    The book is easy to read and descriptive keeping you interested. It was hard to put down!

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