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.
. . . 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.
Jess . . . grabs readers' attention and never lets it go.
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.
Deborah 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.
Ellis has done a first-rate job of putting friendship under a literary microscope.
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.
About 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.