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Blue    by Lou Aronica order for
by Lou Aronica
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Fiction Studio, 2011 (2011)
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* * *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Blue by Lou Aronica is an extraordinary fantasy firmly rooted in the real world. It is a complex tale of struggles and hope, in which a father and daughter must save the fantasy world they created, while saving themselves in the process.

Ever since the divorce, Chris Astor's daughter Becky has drifted farther and farther away from him. Once they were close, so close that it made Becky's mother Polly a little bit jealous. When Becky was very young, she had to undergo treatments for leukemia. In order to help her sleep at night, Chris created the world of Tamarisk and they would tell each other stories about Meia, princess of Tamarisk, building an elaborate fantasy that continued long after Becky went into remission.

For four years now, neither has spoken of Tamarisk. Then Meia comes to Becky one night while she is sleeping at her dad's, and tells her how to cross the bridge into Tamarisk. Once Becky learns of a terrible blight which is turning the blue plants of Tamarisk grey, she is willing to do whatever it takes to help, ignoring the signs that something similar might be happening within her own body.

Despite being a fantasy, Blue is highly realistic. If you disregard the trips to Tamarisk, an admitted fantasy land, this is at its root a story about a father and daughter rekindling a lost relationship in a way that only they can understand. Aronica has crafted characters who seem so real, the reader immediately empathizes with them. The world of Tamarisk appeals to any adult, like Chris, who still wishes magic did exist somewhere and shows young adults that it is not necessary to completely put away childhood fantasies in order to grow up.

Aside from the great characters, Aronica has shown true genius by paralleling the plight of Tamarisk with Becky's sickness. But Tamarisk is so much more; it is a symbol that stands for many things and every reader will take away their own unique interpretation. It takes a true master to create a world such as this. Blue is the perfect read for anyone who wants to believe that magic does exist. Lou Aronica has created not only a highly detailed fantasy world but a real one with people to whom readers can easily relate.

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