Publisher: Viking (Penguin)
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Challenge: YA/MG Fantasy
Seventeen-year-old Imogene's tough, rebellious nature has caused her more harm than good - so when her family moves to Newford, she decides to reinvent herself. She won't lose her punk/thrift-shop look, but she'll try to avoid the gangs, work a little harder at school, and maybe even stay out of trouble for a change.I love this book! Thank you, Magaly, for putting me on to Charles de Lint - you can bet I'm going to look up his other titles now!
Her first friend at Redding High, Maxine, is her exact opposite. Everyone considers Maxine a straight-A loser, but as Imogene soon learns, it's really Maxine's mother whose rules make it impossible for her to speak up for her true self. Oddly, the friendship works. Imogene helps Maxine loosen up, and in turn Maxine keeps Imogene in line.
But trouble shows up anyway. Imogene catches the eye of Redding's bullies, as well as the school's resident teenage ghost. Then she gets on the wrong side of a gang of malicious fairies. When her imaginary childhood friend, Pelly, actually manifests, Imogene realizes that the impossible is all to real. And it's dangerous. If she wants to survive high school - not to mention stay alive - she has to fall back on the skills she picked up running with a gang. Even with Maxine and some unexpected allies by her side, will she be able to make it?
There are so many great things about The Blue Girl, and as I think about them, I'm realizing that a lot of what I like is because it's a refreshing change from the typical fantasy/paranormal books I've been reading lately. All the best YA fantasy now features lots of violence, a strong romance, usually a love triangle of sorts, and lots of violence. And also lots of violence. And while that's great, it was a nice change of pace to read a book that doesn't follow those guidelines.
Imogene and Maxine's friendship is front and center, and their romance are fringe plotlines. I love the way their friendship starts, the way it develops, the way it subtly changes each one of them. They're actually not all that different, but on the surface they are, so it makes for great dialogue and parlay.
The bulk of the plot is Imogene and Maxine, and Adrian and Pelly as well, trying to figure out what's going on and what they can do about it. The action, basically, is driven by wit - the battlefield is the library and the internet! I love how Charles manages to build excitement and suspense when most of what is happening is research. The action itself is mostly low-key, but there's a real scare factor throughout the whole book!