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True Blue   [Paperback]

Deborah Ellis
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 14.95
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Book Description

Oct. 1 2011
A person doesn't have to do anything important to get recognition anymore; it's enough to know someone who does. Parasitic fame. Casey was more than just a dependable camp counselor dedicated to her little buddies in Cabin Three. She was a brilliant student looking forward to a scholarship and a future career in entomology. Casey wasn't the kind of girl who would be stuck in a town like Galloway the rest of her life. She was really going places. And nobody knew this better than Jess, Casey's best friend. So how could a girl like Casey be arrested for the murder of a young camper under her care... Jess believes her friend is innocent and that the real killer will be caught; but in the meantime, she finds herself the reluctant center of attention. After all, she was also a counselor in Cabin Three. Jess must know something...right? Readers will readily sympathize with Jess, whose life begins to spin out of control. But award-winning author Deborah Ellis brings much more to the character of her complex and troubled narrator, who may not be entirely reliable. As the events surrounding the final weeks of August are slowly unveiled, readers will begin to question the very nature of friendship and how one finds the moral courage to be loyal, no matter what the consequences.

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True Blue   + No Ordinary Day
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Review

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.

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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay, but I prefer her more non-fiction novels... Jan. 21 2013
By Louise Jolly TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Story Description:

Pajama Press|October 1, 2011|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-9869495-0-0

A person doesn't have to do anything important to get recognition anymore; it's enough to know someone who does. Parasitic fame, Casey was more than just a dependable camp counselor dedicated to her little buddies in Cabin Three. She was a brilliant student looking forward to a scholarship and a future career in entomology. Casey wasn't the kind of girl who would be stuck in a town like Galloway the rest of her life. She was really going places. And nobody knew this better than Jess, Casey's best friend. So how could a girl like Casey be arrested for the murder of a young camper under her care...Jess believes her friend is innocent and that the real killer will be caught, but in the meantime, she finds herself the reluctant center of attention. After all, she was also a counselor in Cabin Three. Jess must know something...right? Readers will be readily sympathize with Jess, whose life begins to spin out of control. But award-winning author Deborah Ellis brings much more to the character of her complex and troubled narrator, who may not be entirely reliable. As the events surrounding the final weeks of August are slowly unveiled, readers will begin to question the very nature of friendship and how one finds the moral courage to be loyal, no matter what the consequences.

My Review:

This is the synopsis from the back cover of the book:

"When Casey is arrested for murder, best friend Jess tries to convince police investigators they've made a terrible mistake. After all, she and Casey were camp counselors together and both responsible for little Stephanie, who disappeared under their watch.
Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Friend In Need Oct. 12 2011
Format:Library Binding
True Blue by Deborah Ellis

Deborah Ellis is the award-winning, internationally acclaimed author of many books set in developing countries, which focus on the plight of teens struggling to live in those countries. This new book, published by the charming new publisher Pajama Press, is a departure for Ellis, a mystery set against the backdrop of themes that are as strong as any in her other work. Ellis never takes the easy road. She confronts issues that kids face every day. How do you stay loyal to your friend when everyone else is against her and your continued association will brand you with the same iron? It's a dilemma that teens face all the time as they must decide whether to choose the road that guarantees acceptance or stick to what they know is right and risk being alone.

High school friends Casey and Jess are finishing the summer holidays with a stint as counselors at a nearby children's camp. Among their charges is the spoilt and obstinate Stephanie, a child unwilling to participate in any activities and who is always disappearing. So, on the last day, when Stephanie goes missing yet again, no one is particularly alarmed. All that changes, however, when her murdered body is discovered in a hollow tree in the woods. And, due to circumstantial evidence, Casey becomes the prime suspect and Jess's loyalty is put to the test.

The gripping suspense and surprise ending will leave readers demanding that Deborah Ellis write another mystery.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay, but I prefer her more non-fiction novels... Jan. 21 2013
By Louise Jolly - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Library Binding
Story Description:

Pajama Press|October 1, 2011|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-9869495-0-0

A person doesn't have to do anything important to get recognition anymore; it's enough to know someone who does. Parasitic fame, Casey was more than just a dependable camp counselor dedicated to her little buddies in Cabin Three. She was a brilliant student looking forward to a scholarship and a future career in entomology. Casey wasn't the kind of girl who would be stuck in a town like Galloway the rest of her life. She was really going places. And nobody knew this better than Jess, Casey's best friend. So how could a girl like Casey be arrested for the murder of a young camper under her care...Jess believes her friend is innocent and that the real killer will be caught, but in the meantime, she finds herself the reluctant center of attention. After all, she was also a counselor in Cabin Three. Jess must know something...right? Readers will be readily sympathize with Jess, whose life begins to spin out of control. But award-winning author Deborah Ellis brings much more to the character of her complex and troubled narrator, who may not be entirely reliable. As the events surrounding the final weeks of August are slowly unveiled, readers will begin to question the very nature of friendship and how one finds the moral courage to be loyal, no matter what the consequences.

My Review:

This is the synopsis from the back cover of the book:

"When Casey is arrested for murder, best friend Jess tries to convince police investigators they've made a terrible mistake. After all, she and Casey were camp counselors together and both responsible for little Stephanie, who disappeared under their watch. But even though Jess has told the investigators everything she knows, they aren't satisfied. She's getting sick of their questions; even Casey's lawyer won't leave her alone. Jess has to wait for the middle of the night before she can find a little peace, riding her bike aimlessly through the darkened streets of their small town - planning her next move.

In a fresh departure from her novels set in developing countries award-winning author Deborah Ellis brilliantly recreates the inner world of an emotionally confused teen who struggles to find the moral courage to remain loyal to a friend in need."

I enjoyed this novel, however, I prefer Ms. Ellis' other books that are more non-fiction.
4.0 out of 5 stars True Blue Oct. 21 2012
By Melinda Rench - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Library Binding
True Blue was a book that kept me turning the pages. The narrator, Jess, tells the story of the aftermath of the murder of little Stephanie and the arrest of her best friend, Casey. As the town turns against Casey and her family, Jess is torn between loyalty to her friend and the possibility of joining the popular group at school. At the end of each chapter, Jess's handwritten diary adds an additional layer to the story. As it unfolds, the reader begins to wonder just what version of the story is the truth. The fact that Jess seems as if SHE could be the guilty one made the story even more interesting.

This is a book that makes the reader consider truth, loyalty, the power of friendship, and the destructive nature of mental illness. Teens who enjoy realistic fiction with a bit of mystery will surely enjoy True Blue.
5.0 out of 5 stars Friends for Life? March 5 2012
By Monica Kulling - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Library Binding
In Deborah Ellis's TRUE BLUE, high school friends Casey and Jess are finishing the summer holidays with a stint as counselors at a nearby children's camp. Among their charges is the spoilt and obstinate Stephanie, a child unwilling to participate in any activities and who is always disappearing. So, on the last day, when Stephanie goes missing yet again, no one is particularly alarmed. All that changes, however, when her murdered body is discovered in a hollow tree in the woods, and because of Casey's off-the-cuff comment and other circumstantial evidence, she becomes the prime suspect and Jess's loyalty is put to the test.

Deborah Ellis is the internationally acclaimed author of many books set in developing countries that focus on the plight of teens struggling to live in those countries. This new book, published by the charming new publisher Pajama Press, is a departure for Ellis -- a mystery set against the backdrop of themes that are as strong as any in her other work. Ellis never takes the easy road. She confronts issues that kids face every day. How do you stay loyal to your friend when everyone else is against her and your continued association will brand you with the same iron? It's a dilemma that teens face all the time as they must decide whether to choose the road that guarantees acceptance or stick to what they know is right and risk being alone.

TRUE BLUE is gripping and suspenseful, and its surprise ending will leave readers demanding that Deborah Ellis write another mystery.
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