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Number of Pages: 288
Vendor: David C. Cook
Publication Date: 2008
|Dimensions: 8.25 X 5.5 (inches)|
"Sacred's not a word I've ever much liked. But maybe some things, and some places, just are. And maybe the Blue Hole was one of those things."
Shelby (nicknamed Turtle) never had any female friends. But when a mysterious girl from Sri Lanka moved to town in the summer of 1979, Turtle invited her to a secret haven: the Blue Hole. Turtle had no idea how much that simple gesture would affect the rest of her life, or the lives of those she loved.
In a time when America was technically well beyond the Civil Rights era, there were those in Turtle's small Appalachian town who rejected the presence of someone different. And in just one summer-in a collision of love, hate, jealousy, beauty, and a sacred, muddy swimming hole-nothing and everything changed.
Karen RWAGender: Female5 Stars Out Of 5A moving coming of age storyNovember 2, 2017Karen RWAGender: FemaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5A moving coming of age story that will leave readers with much to think about.
Told in retrospect, from the first person viewpoint of a woman recalling a pivotal summertime when her small world in the North Carolina mountains lost its sense of peace, and the 'blue hole' swimming spot became a crucible for friendship, justice, and mercy.
Told in the Southern style of mountain raised teenagers, the story lulled me into feeling like I was there, jumping into the back of a pickup with the 'mangy pack' on a hot day in 1979. It was an interesting, well drawn set of characters, full of the hopefulness of life, yet finding the truth of things the hard way. Fell a little in love with 'Jimbo'' like Turtle did, as his kindness and sincerity was shown in "...always digging out room for a chance that somebody could change." Felt sad for Sanna as she realizes America--at least in that corner of it--isn't the end of the rainbow that her father hoped for.
The series of events built up the tension so well, it was liking watching a show where you knew that something awful would happen, but couldn't look away until it was over. The main theme of the destructiveness and evil of prejudice is sadly still one our country struggles with. Also the courage it takes to stand up against it is hard sometimes, but not doing anything is like agreeing with it. It felt like a story from the 50's, not in my lifetime, but unfortunately is based on real incidents of the late 70's.
"...maybe we were all fools...for believing that love makes you better, and bigger, and braver--but not safe." But that the unsafe is worth it.
Readers who enjoy stories with realism, social issues, and a redemptive theme will want to dive into this moving tale. It had me reaching for the tissues more than once.
(Contains some language and adult subject matter.) 4.5 stars
(An ebook was provided by NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.)
Sufficient in JesusAge: 18-24Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5A Mangy Pack of kids, and a hot summer.....June 20, 2014Sufficient in JesusAge: 18-24Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5This is the story of a Turtle in a swimming hole. Except Turtle is a girl, and the swimming hole is The Blue Hole.
The Blue Hole was the center of Shelby Lenoir's life that summer, in 1979.
This is one of those books... like Karl Marlantes' Matterhorn... that I have a love/hate relationship with. I love it because the redemptive storytelling is just so right, and I hate it because what happens in the story is just so wrong. Be prepared to mourn if you read either book, to mourn innocence lost and pain endured and eyes opened to this strange world where beauty and beloved people and heart-beating, breathing life coexist with cruelty and emptiness and various forms of death.
Oh what a fine book this is. Strong, bold writing and a passel of teenage characters that I quickly loved for their heart, honesty, awkwardness, and uncertainties. I think stories about teenagers have a great advantage- kids just are what they are. Maybe it's because they're allowed to openly try to find themselves, maybe it's because they have less practice building false selves.
They were just kids, a Mangy Pack at that, spending the long Carolina days doing hard work at their Big Dog Lawn and Garden company. They sweated under the Appalachian sun, serenaded by eight-tracks of Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross, then they headed for the Blue Hole.
There was Turtle, who often didn't feel like a girl and who had all boys for friends. Boys like her brother Emerson, who hid John Donne and Julian of Norwich in his Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. Boy's like James Beauregard Riggs, whose grin and creative use of language lit up the whole Ridge. Boys like her cousin L.J who was convinced that his superior intelligence precluded his actually belonging to his own parents. Even boys like Bobby Welper, with a home life that made him the focus of prayer lists and gossips, a boy will would drift with whichever tide is strongest.
And then there's Sanna. The new girl, who will make them all ask questions that never before entered their minds, and who will turn their most familiar places and faces into something completely different from what they'd ever seen before. Sanna, with the brown skin and black eyes and tentative English, whose hands form a map to show where she came from, Sri Lanka.
So read this book, and laugh at the start, at the humor and fun and games that a Mangy Pack of kids can dream up, and learn in the middle, as they begin to accept Sanna, and hurt at the end when you find yourself saying "No, No, No...."
Because the good is so good and the bad is so bad and like the opening pages tell us, "My home is a beautiful place, a terribly beautiful place, that gives birth to traitors and cowards and heroes, sometimes all in one skin. And I never say why- because I don't know- I long like I do to go back."
DaveNew YorkAge: Over 65Gender: male4 Stars Out Of 5Interesting EndingMarch 14, 2013DaveNew YorkAge: Over 65Gender: maleQuality: 4Value: 5Meets Expectations: 4The reviews said the topic changed their lives for ever. It certainly did just that.
Kathie M Bader5 Stars Out Of 5September 25, 2009Kathie M BaderRecently read this in our book club and needless to say it was unannimously loved and made for a very deep and lively discussion. Touching relationships, innocence, deep bonds, everything that makes a great book. Story was very well done. By all means put in on your list for a unforgettable read.
Sharon K. Souza5 Stars Out Of 5September 23, 2008Sharon K. SouzaBlue Hole Back Home is one of the best novels I've read this year. The story is riveting, but the characters are what I so love about this book. They draw you in and compel you to keep turning the page, even when you want to slow down and savor every word. This is a story that takes you back to your own carefree days of early adolescence, and the moment the innocence gave way to the reality that the world isn't always a safe and inviting place. I can't wait for more from Joy Jordan Lake!