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Published by Amy Harmon on March 29, 2013
Genres: Romance, College, New Adult, PNR
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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.
“I’m nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us
Don’t tell – they’d banish us,
Stunningly beautiful. Amy Harmon brings us a heartwarming, lovely story of redemption, forgiveness, and healing with A Different Blue. I absolutely adore her writing style. It is slow, yet not boring, sweet, yet not achingly so, it is strong and powerful and emotive. The first work of hers I read was Making Faces, which is one of my all-time favorite books. So, it is no wonder really, that I would love this just the same. I just regret not having read it sooner.
First, the research necessary to write this book is astounding. I feel like I had a history lesson. I mean, I learned more in this book than I think I did my entire high school career. I wish I had had a high school history teacher like Mr. Wilson. I certainly would have liked it, let alone remembered some of it. I wish my kids could have a high school history teacher like Mr. Wilson. I would love to send this to history teachers everywhere and tell them, “This is how to teach history!” 😉 Then, there’s the Native American and wood carving information. Wow, all of that in and of itself makes this book amazing!
Blue Echohawk, at age 2…ish, is found by Jimmy Echohawk, in the seat of his car. Abandoned, alone, with no note, no identification. Jimmy doesn’t go to the police, doesn’t try to find her parents, he takes the child and raises her as his own. Jimmy is a drifter. A kind-hearted, loving drifter. He raises Blue with the love of any parent. They have a bond as tight as any parent/child bond and love as strong as one. He teaches her how to make carvings out of wood. Teaches her his Native American stories. He makes her toys from wood, feeds and clothes her. He gives her a good life. And then at age 10, due to circumstances beyond their control, she has to go live with his sister, Cheryl. Heartbreaking.
Skip ahead nine years, and Blue is in her senior year of High School. She has not lived a good life with Cheryl. She hasn’t been shown love, she was not taught anything good. She has not formed a parent/child bond with her. Instead, for nine years she has felt alone. All alone. She doesn’t know what her name is. Who her parents are or what her birthdate is. She doesn’t know anything about herself. She is strong despite her circumstances and has survived a life that many couldn’t. Her coping mechanisms may be questionable, but they have worked for her up until the day Mr. Wilson, her history teacher, forced her to examine her story.
“What we believe affects our choices, our actions, and subsequently, our lives….As the writer of your own history, what you believe influences the paths you take.”
When Mr. Wilson told the class to begin writing their story, she, of course, struggled because she didn’t know WHO she was, she didn’t have a “family”. But, she knew WHAT she was. And, what Blue believed, was that she was trash. She had been discarded as a child and had been living her teenage years promiscuously just to get some kind of attention. So, she didn’t see any value in herself.
“Once upon a time…there was a little blackbird, pushed from the nest. Unwanted. Discarded.”
Ya, that gutted me!
Wilson often quotes poetry and books in class. Many resonate with her and help reframe her thinking. He also makes her think about him, a lot. After all, he is a handsome, 22-year-old male and she is 19 or 20 (she doesn’t really know). He is also, a brilliant, kind, gentle, caring, amazing human being. Once she graduates, the dynamics between them change and he struggles ethically with changing their friendship into anything more. He becomes the support system she has been missing for nine years.
“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.”
As their relationship grows and changes so does Blue. Her transformation is a joy to watch. But she can’t help but feel unworthy of Wilson, who is after all from a wealthy, English family. He has history. He has his own insecurities and issues though and we learn about them.
“Girls like you never noticed guys like me.”
“You’re wrong about one thing, though. Girls like me notice guys like you. We just don’t think we deserve them.”
I loved the slow build of their relationship. There is NO INSTA-LOVE here. There is mutual respect. Friendship. Kindness. Humanity. Because of that, I think that is why Blue was able to find herself. With his support, she was able to develop a sense of identity. She didn’t find it in him. He helped her find the answers she needed and supported her when the times were as hard as answers she received, and the consequences to choices she made seemed unbearable. He helped her write her history, and forge her future.
Blue’s story began as,
“Once upon a time…there was a little blackbird, pushed from the nest. Unwanted. Discarded.
But through redemption, resolution, and revelations, Blue’s story transformed just like the wood on the branches she carved.
“Once upon a time there was a little blackbird who was placed in a nest. Wanted. Cherished. Unafraid.”