True Blue

( 1 )

Overview

Stephanie was the brattiest camper in Jess and Casey's cabin, but Casey couldn't really have murdered her—could she? With her best friend arrested and the town turning against her, Jess' moral dilemma might be too much for her to handle.

Known for her novels about courageous young people in developing countries, award-winning author Deborah Ellis has produced an incisive story about a different kind of courage. Booklist says, "This intelligent mystery is a complete 180 from the ...

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True Blue

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Overview

Stephanie was the brattiest camper in Jess and Casey's cabin, but Casey couldn't really have murdered her—could she? With her best friend arrested and the town turning against her, Jess' moral dilemma might be too much for her to handle.

Known for her novels about courageous young people in developing countries, award-winning author Deborah Ellis has produced an incisive story about a different kind of courage. Booklist says, "This intelligent mystery is a complete 180 from the author's leprosy-in-India tale, No Ordinary Day (2011), but is similar in how its impact sneaks up on you…The unreliability of Jess' first-person account becomes increasingly obvious as we learn the depths of Jess' jealousy and the dubiousness of her morals. The mystery here is not just a whodunit but how loyalty and betrayal can rest along such a razor's edge." Kirkus Reviews says, "Jess…grabs readers' attention and never lets it go."

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Editorial Reviews

Washington State Young Adult Review Group
"Female teens will enjoy the story of a tested friendship and reluctant readers will appreciate the short chapters."
Canadian Children's Book News
Jess's relationship with her mentally unstable mother is beautifully nuanced, revealing the faults and reasonableness of both parties without violating Jess's perspective. Ellis creates complex adult characters as seen through the narrator's critical perspective, a difficult challenge that many YA novelists fail, or do not attempt, to achieve. Finally, Ellis's bold ending causes the message to resonate with the reader long afterwards.
Booklist
"This intelligent mystery is a complete 180 from the author's leprosy-in-India tale, No Ordinary Day (2011), but is similar in how its impact sneaks up on you...The mystery here is not just a whodunit but how loyalty and betrayal can rest along such a razor's edge."
Mrs. Ashby is Reading blog
"An amazing book that pulls you slowly into Jess's mind...Read it!"
www.librarypoint.org
"Not many books for teens fall into the genre of psychological thriller, but True Blue definitely has the chops to be a riveting, disturbing page-turner."
Ten Stories Up blog
"Gritty and bitter and sensitive and unflinching—both ripped from the headlines and totally unique. The mystery kept me guessing, and the characters kept me up late...Jess isn't admirable, but she's totally compelling. These people are worth your time...Recommended to teen book clubs everywhere—the discussion will continue long after the snacks have run out."
Canadian Children's Book Centre
"Jess's relationship with her mentally unstable mother is beautifully nuanced, revealing the faults and reasonableness of both parties without violating Jess's perspective. Ellis creates complex adult characters as seen through the narrator's critical perspective, a difficult challenge that many YA novelists fail, or do not attempt, to achieve. Finally, Ellis's bold ending causes the message to resonate with the reader long afterwards."
Ken Setterington's Picks
"The kind of great YA literature that you need people to read and discuss. ...Powerful."
librarypoint.org
"Not many books for teens fall into the genre of psychological thriller, but True Blue definitely has the chops to be a riveting, disturbing page-turner."
Resource Links
"Ellis has again delved into the psychological depths of youth and produced a story that will force readers to look inside themselves and ask—really consider—what they would do in Jess's situation."
Quill & Quire
"[Ellis] masterfully keep[s] her readers on tenterhooks—particularly in her pyschologically nuanced portrayal of Jess."
Calgary Herald
"A story about friendship, loyalty filled with prejudice, and a mystery that deals with mature social issues...Anxious for the reveal at the end, I didn't want to stop reading."
Winnipeg Free Press
"With important moral issues, gripping suspense and a surprise ending, this is a must-read book for teenagers. Once again Ellis has delved into new territory with impressive results."
Rachel's Reading Timbits
"A complex psychological story...This is a fast-paced and thought-provoking read, and one that will generate lots of interesting questions for discussion both in and out of the classroom for tweens and teens. Highly recommended."
CM Magazine
"Ellis has done a first-rate job of putting friendship under a literary microscope."
Goodreads
"Explores loyalty (or lack thereof) between lifelong friends, the bigotry and cruelty of small town minds, and the failure of parents to know what their teen is feeling…[An] impressive book. The gripping suspense and surprise ending will leave readers demanding that Deborah Ellis write another mystery."
Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
"My best friend Casey was arrested for murder just as church was getting out." Thus begins Jess's narration of the events that led up to Casey's being charged with the murder of an extremely annoying eight-year-old camper at the Ten Willows Bible camp where the two teenagers work together as cabin counselors, as well as the events that follow: Casey's imprisonment and the town's subsequent vilification of the girl and her family, as much for her eccentricity as a passionate entomologist, fascinated with the study of beetles, as for her yet unproven crime. Readers quickly realize that Jess is not a completely reliable narrator, deliberately concealing crucial facts about her own envious relationship with her brilliant friend and misrepresenting important details about what happened on the horrific night of Stephanie's murder. Ellis's spellbinding storytelling prowess will keep readers up late turning the pages until they can discover the complex, multi-layered truths that Jess chooses to obscure. But although Ellis presents Jess's failing to stand by her friend as a lack of courage, the chilling reality is that Jess also lacks empathy, kindness, and any kind of genuine fellow feeling, showing herself incapable in the end of caring about anybody, or anything, except for herself. This is a dark and disturbing book that makes for riveting reading. Closing with a readers' guide, True Blue poses a host of questions that may always remain unanswered and should provoke deep and lively discussion. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 8–11—Ellis explores the courage it takes to stand up for a friend in a town shattered by a murder. Jess's best friend, Casey White, has ambition and passion. A budding entomologist, she seeks an adventurous life outside their small town. So when Casey is inexplicably arrested for the murder of a girl at a camp where the teens are counselors, Jess feels incredibly alone. The townspeople are quick to assume Casey's guilt. While Jess's mother (a woman with a mental illness) demands a call to action to release Casey from jail, Jess says nothing to defend her best friend to her cruel and small-minded classmates. Jess wants Casey to be exonerated and goes so far as to dream up an escape plan but, in the end, she fails to come to Casey's aid and actually helps the prosecution build the against her. Ellis's masterful novel makes every word count, thus highlighting Jess as a deeply conflicted, not totally reliable, narrator who is so afraid of losing the only part of her life that she values—Casey—that she doesn't realize how much her actions have cost her. A compelling and moving read, True Blue is about the courage to believe in oneself and fight for what's right, even when it is the hardest thing to do. A book worthy of any school curriculum.—Kimberly Garnick Giarratano, Northampton Community College, Hawley, PA
Kirkus Reviews
Known for powerful tales of social injustice in the developing world, Ellis here offers readers a flawed but gripping character study of teens in small-town Canada. Recognized as the best friend of Casey White, a girl who was tried for murder in a sensational case, waitress and narrator Jess decides to tell her story. As counselors at a summer camp, Jess and Casey supervised young campers, including troubled and troublesome Stephanie Glass. Casey was arrested after Stephanie was murdered and her favorite T-shirt turned up, bloodstained, in Casey's duffle. Interwoven with Jess's account are flashbacks to their long friendship. These recollections work against the framing narrative device, in which Jess addresses a putative customer. Jess, an outcast, longs to be someone's best friend; her attraction to Casey makes sense. But what does Casey see in Jess? Casey has no interest in peer acceptance. With a lifelong passion for insects, she plans to become an entomologist. Aimless, lazy Jess has no ambition beyond securing Casey's undivided attention and loyalty--that is, until Casey's arrest gives her entrée to the popular crowd. Casey, whose misplaced loyalty indicates startling ignorance of her friend's character, is a bore. Jess--sharply insightful, but selfish and entirely lacking in empathy--may be a piece of work, but she grabs readers' attention and never lets it go. (Fiction. 12 & up)
VOYA - Julie Hanson
One Sunday after church, the police arrest high school senior Casey White for murder in front of the entire town. Jess knows that her best friend would never kill a child but she does not speak up on her behalf. With her friend in jail, Jess's loneliness makes her vulnerable to the mob mentality that has consumed the community. The popular kids befriend her but she soon realizes that they are merely using her to further denigrate Casey's reputation. Jess sinks into a state of apathy and ignores Casey's letters. After an excruciating trial, Casey is exonerated but by then, the girls' relationship has been damaged seemingly beyond repair. The mystery at the center of this story will draw readers in and captivate them until its resolution. Ellis establishes a sense of tension in the opening pages and intensifies it as the story unfolds. Her characters are likeable and well-developed: Casey's academic precocity and warm personality make her arrest all the more unsettling, while Jess's alienation from her parents renders her susceptible to the influence of her peers. Many readers will feel disquieted by Jess's unwillingness to reach out to Casey. As uncharacteristically cruel as her behavior seems, it does emphasize Jess's deep confusion and inner turmoil. Despite disagreeing with her actions, readers will identify with Jess's dilemma, and appreciate her morally complex predicament. This thought-provoking novel will inspire discussion about what motivates us to behave in self-protective or altruistic ways and the importance of loyalty in friendship. Reviewer: Julie Hanson
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780986949531
  • Publisher: Pajama Press Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/1/2011
  • Pages: 208
  • Age range: 12 - 15 Years
  • Lexile: 710L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Known around the world for her Breadwinner series, author and humanitarian Deborah Ellis has written nearly thirty books for children and young people, most of which explore themes of courage and social justice. Deborah's many awards include the Governor General's Award, the Ruth Schwartz Award, the Vicky Metcalf Award, the American Library Association's Notable List, and the Jane Addams Children's Book Award. Deborah lives in Simcoe, Ontario.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2012

    This book was AWESOME

    I had to read this book for a school book club and I loved it!!! You can't put it down!!! You just can't wait to see who did it and at times you suspect the narrator did it....the ending was not the best though :/

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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