Title: Silhouetted by the Blue
Author: Traci Jones
Recommended for: 5th grade & up
Call Number/Link: Teen Fiction Jones, T. or J Jon
Synopsis: Seventh-grader Serena Shaw is trying to keep up at school while rehearsing for the lead role in the spring musical and dealing with a father so “blue” he is nearly catatonic. With the aid of a not-so-secret admirer as well as a growing sense of self-confidence, she faces the challenges of caring for herself and her ball-of-charm younger brother, all while attempting to lead the life of a normal pre-teen. .
I picked this book up thinking it was a new title, but in reality it was once that had been reprinted/repackaged for YA. However, I’m glad it was otherwise I may not have discovered it. It’s a fast read and would be PERFECT for those tweens/younger teens looking for something that edgier/issue novels, but not ready for the YA edgy stuff. Serena has a lot on her plate. She’s trying to deal with her mother’s death & taking care of her brother as her dad falls deeper and deeper into depression. This book handles mental illness so well. It shows how medication doesn’t “numb/kill the spirit” but can help a person function as normal. There is no shame in being depressed or needing the medication. In fact, Serena begs him several times to go to the doctor so that he could return to his old self. This is a stark difference how many YA books have been handling mental illness lately (thank goodness!)
How to sell/quick spiel: Serena Shaw just wants to be a normal 7th grader. She wants her biggest worry to be about starring in her schools musical and flirting with cute boys. Instead, she has to deal with all the normal teen worries and taking care of her brother as their father feels deeper and deeper into depression over their mother’s death. Serena may be pretending that everything is okay, but she knows that the blue is desperately taking over their lives. Can she find help in time before it’s too late or will the blue destroy what little normalcy is left of her life.