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young adult book reviews & more

Fade to Blue by Sean Beaudoin

Fade to BlueOn Sophie Blue’s last birthday, her dad disappeared. Since that day, she’s worn all black. Now, her birthday is approaching again, and Sophie thinks she might be losing her mind. She keeps having these weird dreams that she’s going to get run over by an ice cream truck with tinted windows, and there’s one just like it that keeps circling her house, which also keeps getting broken into. Then there’s this whole thing about a lab and an evil Nurse. Of course, no one but Sophie seems to know about these things, but Sophie knows that they must be real. Her attempt to find out the truth will be a hilarious and strangely dangerous romp through a world she never knew existed.

If the summary to Fade to Blue sounds confusing, it’s with good reason; the story itself is very convoluted. The book starts with a bunch of separate narratives, but most importantly Sophie’s and Kenny Fade’s. This is interesting and easy enough to follow—until the reader finds out that one of these characters isn’t quite real. Then Beaudoin proceeds to reveal a series of strange new developments in the story, each of which is more twisted than the last. The effect is startling; though most readers will be thoroughly baffled, they will still want to read on to see if they can figure out the rest of the story. I am sorry to say that I was unable to do this. Beaudoin’s writing, particularly toward the end of this novel, reminds me of a TV show’s season finale just before cancellation in the sense that writers try to cram the answer to almost every plotline; the result is that while the story undoubtedly comes to a close, too many details are neglected in the process. This is what happened with Fade to Blue, and though I was very impressed with the start of the story and Beaudoin’s ideas for the Virtuality, I was disappointed that this wasn’t done is a clearer manner.

Fade to Blue may appeal to fans of The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty and The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series by Michael Scott.

Rating: 2.75

Review copy from publisher Little, Brown

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