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19 September, 2010

Cholle's Bookshelf: A book review of: Dark Blue - Color Me Lonely, A novel - Melody Carlson

Alrighty. This is a book series I got by request, and quite honestly, one I've never heard of. But, alas, my almost-local library had it, so here I am. I just finished the first book in the series - Dark Blue, Color Me Lonely. My overall impression: Let's save that til the end.

The story is about shy, almost non existent, teen-aged Kara, who - oh dearest me!- loses her one and only friend Jordan, who's been her voice since kindergarten. And by voice, I mean she completely ran Kara's life for her. Kara makes it pretty clear that she has never had an identity. And without her security blanket of a best friend, she goes into a major depression as bubbly and outgoing Jordan lands a spot of the oh-so-fabulous school cheerleading team, and along with that a whole slew of the proverbial snot-nosed, snide, bratty cheerleader friends who belittle and degrade everyone not cool enough to sit at their IN-lunch table. So, very predictably, Jordan and Kara are pulled further apart, with Kara crying about it, and Jordan saying she's trying to 'make Kara fit in'... In other words, inviting her to lunch once, totally ignoring her, and then coming up later and saying "well why didn't you do this and this and this?" Oh yeah, great friend.

Anyways, after bemoaning her dire situation for a while, Kara, who decided to take the very uncool class of art (seriously? Who in their right mind decided that art is uncool??), lands in a group of art freaks who admire her work: The crazy rebel girl, the devoted geeky Christian boy, and the middle of the road personality-less preppy girl. let's be honest, I don't really remember their names, and I already gave the book back. Oh well. Which leads into the second half of the story.

The art freaks have a lunch-time art study group that they invite Kara into, and in doing so invite her into their lives. Crazy rebel girl, I think her name was Amy??, turns out to not only be a cool gothic chick, but also turns out to have a talent for makeovers, finding treasures in thrift stores, being confident, and **SHOCKER** she has a soul hidden under all the black (OH NO!) makeup and sarcastic attitude. She uses all of these to transform first geeky Christian boy (Eugene maybe? That definitely sounds geeky) and makes him into a hot 60's DUDE (I'm sorry, but 60's? Not the hottest fashion trend there, honey), and then Kara for a (OF COURSE) date to a school dance between the two. Shocker. Shy lead character dates geeky-turned-hot secondary character. Anyways, this leads devoted still-mostly-geeky Christian boy to sharing his religious pursuits with her. Preppy girl really doesn't have anything to do with the story, other than fighting with Rebel chick.

So the second half of the story is pretty heavy-duty CONVERT TO CHRISTIANITY AND YOUR LIFE WILL GET BETTER... BUT ONLY IF YOU DO THIS AND THIS AND TALK LIKE RELIGION IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN YOUR LIFE AND PUSH YOUR NEWFOUND BELIEFS ON ALL THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU. NO ONE CAN BE HAPPY UNTIL YOU CONVERT THEM.

Ahh, good ol' Christian values. Now, don't get me wrong, I am very religious, and I appreciate God and blessings and good religious stories. But I'm not too into the whole everyone-has-to-believe-what-I-believe. And I'm really not into the whole "I AM CHRISTIAN, HEAR ME ROAR". I prefer people to think I believe in God and Jesus because of my actions, and not because every time someone asks me who my best friend is, I reply "Jesus" and am constantly talking about how I'm letting Him into my heart. That is MY business. If someone wants to know more, and asks ME, that's fine. But it has to be THEIR choice. So the whole preachy holier than thou thing really got to me. I prefer a little more understated approach.

Worse still, the whole tale was supposed to be about Kara growing away from her old friend and finding herself. I didn't get that at ALL. What I got was sad-girl found new friends to follow, and did so whole-heartedly. She always devoted herself to being the perfect best friend for Jordan, having the same hobbies, liking the same things. She did the exact same thing with her new friends. What kind of message is that?

So to finish up with the technicalities, I'm going to point out a few more negatives. Go figure. The writing was poorly executed. I wrote something of a similar caliber when I was ten. Seriously. It was very straight forward. Like no sentence was more than 6 words. Whew. Think you can manage that? Likewise, the character development..: There was none. Everything was very predictable and cliche. The closest it got to crossing the line was literally borderline words like 'crap' and 'lesbian' at the beginning. Kind of like a trap to make you think you're getting into something just a touch racy. But alas, you get a Sunday Sermon (and I mean SERMON) instead.

One thing I did appreciate was the author pointed out that religious doesn't make everything peachy-keen-jelly-bean. You're going to have hard times no matter what. The idea is that religion can help you THROUGH things. And this was shown (again, in a predictable, cliche, way) when Kara and her friends helped each other through a tragedy.

But overall, I was kind of disappointed. It is a very simple read due to the simplicity of the writing. I read it in about an hour. It was definitely too preachy for my taste, but for people that have grown up with the 'You have to let Jesus into your heart" or you're looking for a religious awakening, and you want something that smacks you in the face, this might just be your kind of book. It wasn't AWFUL. It had enough to justify me grabbing the second book in the series. So sooner or later I'll let you know about Deep Green: Color Me Jealous. Hopefully it's a little more interesting. We'll see :]

So: Now for my overall rating. 1.5-2 out of 5. Not one that I'll be buying for my bookcase.

So that's it for this book review. Hopefully I've helped some people find a read they'll really enjoy or saved someone from a tragically disappointing tale. Check back for more, or send me in requests!

~Cholle

"Fudge, Pshaw, and Other Salty Expressions" - Bullwinkle, from the Adventures of Bullwinkle and Rocky Show





Live, let live, be happy.

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