Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Review: A Different Blue by Amy Harmon

Title: A Different Blue
Series: Standalone
Author: Amy Harmon
Release date: May 29, 2017 (Publisher re-release)
Cliffhanger: No
Rating: 5 stars

Blue Echohawk doesn't know who she is. She doesn't know her real name or when she was born. Abandoned at two and raised by a drifter, she didn't attend school until she was ten years old. At nineteen, when most kids her age are attending college or moving on with life, she is just a senior in high school. With no mother, no father, no faith, and no future, Blue Echohawk is a difficult student, to say the least. Tough, hard and overtly sexy, she is the complete opposite of the young British teacher who decides he is up for the challenge, and takes the troublemaker under his wing.

This is the story of a nobody who becomes somebody. It is the story of an unlikely friendship, where hope fosters healing and redemption becomes love. But falling in love can be hard when you don't know who you are. Falling in love with someone who knows exactly who they are and exactly why they can't love you back might be impossible.

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Can you imagine how lost you would feel to not know your own story? Where you came from, and who gave birth to you? Even the most basic DNA of our identity: your own true name and age? This was Blue Echohawk's reality. Jimmy Echohawk, the man who raised her, was a odd sort. Quiet and taciturn. He lived a simple life with her, on the road selling his wood carvings. And for a time, she was carefree and happy. But after he passed away when she was eleven, she went to live with her aunt Cheryl. And life as she knew it was gone. She became a self-destructive girl, void of hope or self respect.

Jimmy’s little blackbird died a slow and painful death. In her place I built a gaudy, colorful, blue bird. A loud, obnoxious peacock with bright feathers, who dressed to call attention to her beauty at every moment, and craved affection. But it was all just a bright disguise.

On the first day of her senior year in high school, she walked into her history class and met Mr. Wilson. He would come to be the first positive influence in her life since she was a little girl. He's only a few years older than her, but has so much knowledge to give. He saw the hardened, angry girl that she was and made it his mission to get her to open up. Their relationship was completely platonic. He started out as her teacher, her guide, someone she could depend on and trust. When she was at her lowest points and most joyful moments, it was Wilson that saw her through it all.

Blue and Wilson had a beautiful friendship. It brought tears to my eyes so many times to see how he gently nudged her into believing in herself again. She had been through so much hopelessness it makes you want to wrap your arms around her and make everything better. Her aunt did her best, but didn't give her the time of day. So when someone showed interest in her, treated her as if she had value and worth, she soaked it all up like a sponge.

Wilson was an exceptional man. I loved him so, so much. He was extremely wise, funny, giving, and wonderfully endearing in a nerdy sort of way. Growing up in a wealthy British family, he had many more advantages in life than she had. Yet he wasn't snobbish or self-entitled, quite the opposite. And he accepted Blue, scars and all.

“I keep wishing you had had a better life . . . a different life. But a different life would have made you a different Blue.” He looked at me then. “And that would be the biggest tragedy of all.”

Everyone has a story. Even if her beginning was blank, he helped her see that her future was wide open for her to shape. But just when she started to stretch her wings and fly, she suddenly plunged to the ground. Broken again. She had yet another setback, and my heart broke for her all over again. After graduating high school, Wilson offers her an apartment in his home so that she can get back on her feet and pursue her love of art. Blue made stunning sculptures that she carved out of trees and branches. It helped her to feel close to Jimmy and it was an outlet to express herself.


These are the themes of A Different Blue. There was so much to love about this book. I wouldn't even necessarily say that the romance is what you will focus on. It's pretty much secondary to Blue's own personal struggle to rip off the labels that have placed on her. Her triumph over the mystery of her past, and owning her true self. To see her growth from the brittle and sulky girl, to the strong woman who finally found peace really touched my heart. Both characters were far from perfect, and made human mistakes and decisions that we could all probably relate to. That's why I think I really identified with this story and it's uplifting message. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone looking for something with real depth and substance.

**This is a publisher re-release with a bonus epilogue and scene from Wilson's POV. I think the epilogue was a perfect conclusion that left me so satisfied. And I was pretty giddy over getting rare glimpse inside Wilson's head. HIGHLY recommend even for a re-read just to get these new additions to the story.


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