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A Solitary Blue (Tillerman Family, #3)
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A Solitary Blue (Tillerman Cycle #3)

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  4,216 ratings  ·  246 reviews
No man is an island, but Jeff Green is trying to be one. He changed after his mother moved out. It was better that way--better not to feel, better not to care. Then, years later, Jeff's mother invited him to visit her. She seemed so warm and caring that he started to open up, to trust. He'd forgotten about the pain, but now he can't remember anything else.
Paperback, 304 pages
Published May 1st 1993 by Scholastic (first published 1983)
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Alice
From my back door I can see a pond. Sometimes a solitary blue heron will visit the pond, a reclusive bird that stalks along the edge of the water. If you approach the heron, it immediately takes flight. I find the bird fascinating. Now I realize that one of the reasons I find blue herons so fascinating is that I read this book 20 years ago.

Jeff Green is like the solitary blue heron. He was deserted at age 7 by his immature and manipulative mother, and left alone by his emotionally distant profes
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Lisa Findley
This is possibly my favorite book of the Tillerman Cycle. As ever, Cynthia Voigt's story and language are beautifully interdependent. Jeff's growth from terrified little boy to self-assured young man is by no means easy or without twists and turns, and he reaches that point after heartache and several reevalutations of himself and the other people in his life -- so it's like real life, something Voigt writes about with assurance.

I also like A Solitary Blue because I first read it when I was jus
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Leslie
A beautiful and sobering illustration of why isolation is so seductive in times of pain or brokenness; equally compelling in its call for healing through connections with others. This novel was probably the most genuine and nuanced piece of writing I read in my youth, and it taught me as much about character (both having it and lacking it) as any of the classics.
Josiah
Okay, after reading this book I was forced to come to the wonderful conclusion that Cynthia Voigt could do no wrong and she was, in all likelihood, a perfect author and perfect human.
Well, I nearly felt that way after reading through A Solitary Blue!
I never thought that any additional book in The Tillerman Cycle could surpass Dicey's Song, and perhaps this one did not surpass it, but it did come shockingly close.
In my thinking, this is one of the fullest and most richly resonant novels abou
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Lars Guthrie
The third in the Tillerman Cycle and the third I've revisited in audio. It looks like there are no more in audio, which is disappointing.

It's the first in the Tillerman Cycle to turn its focus away from Dicey Tillerman and her family, and previews the way Voigt will interweave the different stories, for it is here we find the beginnings of a concrete 'Dicey's Song.'

That's not the only connection to the first two books, but this one is a far more stand-alone project. It tells Jeff Greene's story.
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Cherie
I really did like this story. After-the-fact, it turned out to be a re-read for me. This story starts out with a shock and breaks your heart with wave after wave of uNina Gina be happenings, for me at least. I could not believe a mother could do what she does to her son in this story.

The young man and his father in this story really wrapped themselves around my heart. It was so sad in the beginning. It took a long time, but the story unfolded so wonderfully, and the characters grew into such won
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Alex Larsen
Jeff was abandoned by his beloved mother when he was only seven years old, and spent his life with his father whom he calls the Professor. The Professor is aloof and for most of his life Jeff is left on his own, until one summer his mother invites him to come stay with her. He falls in love with mother all over again, but when he goes to visit her again the following summer things change. Jeff then has to come to term with his mother's abandonment and rebuild his relationship with his father. Al ...more
Pam
Be warned, this is not a happy book. But it does give you something to think about and appreciate.

Jeff's mom left when he was seven. Afraid his dad would leave too if everything wasn't just right, Jeff goes out of his way to make sure the home runs smoothly and his father, the professor, isn't interrupted or inconvenienced. If isn't until he get so sick he almost dies that his father realizes how much he's been holding in and contacts his mother. He spends a glorious summer with her and his gran
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Kathy
This is a review tainted with my love and hate of this novel. At times I couldn't put it down and others I couldn't put it down quick enough and was reluctant to pick it up again. I really liked all the characters in this book except two, and the storyover all was great. The antagonist, Jeff's mom Melody, was a full-blowen narcissistic and manipulative witch like an evil stepmother of a fairytale. It made the end rather predictable and seemed over the top. The other character I didn't like was n ...more
Desaree
A Solitary Blue was definitely one of my favorite books that i have read this year. It was a simple but outspoken story. I liked how some things in the book i could relate to in real life. I noticed how similar the main character's relationship with his father was like my mom and my grandfather's relationship. There were many of the same characteristics of their relationships witch drew me in even more into the story. My feelings about different characters changed as the story went on as well as ...more
Sandy
I usually do not like sad books but it got-- not necessarily happy but satisfying-- by the end. I enjoyed watching him and also his father grow. His father was not a very likable character at the beginning but by the end of the book you can see how much he loves his son and despite his difficulties in communicating it, you can tell he is trying.
Falina
I loved this book - the writing style, the characters, the complexity and depth - everything about it. I didn't recognize the name of the author when I began reading and didn't realize until 2/3 of the way through the book that it intersects with Dicey's Song, which I read years ago and also loved. I prefer standalone books and don't like feeling compelled to read books because they are part of a series, so I'm glad I didn't know about the connection. A Solitary Blue is excellent and is complete ...more
Colin
This was not a book I read in childhood, but re-reading the first two in this series, which were childhood faves and are still really great, made me want to read this series all the way through.
Voigt is really good at writing about children and abandonment, and also about the complexities of family. I felt so sorry for Jeff, the narrator, but then felt really proud of him when he comes into his own by the end of the book. I was totally invested. And of course, even though it's pretty rare to fi
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Emily
Since Cynthia Voight's books are not in my usual genre, I've been trying to figure out why I like them so much. I figured out that one reason is because her books are so well written that you have to read every word. I was trying to finish this book quickly, because I had a book club on it, but skimming it really didn't work. Everything in there was important to the story and to the development of the characters. I really loved seeing Jeff overcome the major challenges he faced as a child and tu ...more
Jodie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Robert Thompson
A Solitary Blue
by Cynthia Voigt

I picked the story A Solitary Blue by Cynthia Voigt because it looks interesting. I had a friend recommend this book to me. So I went to the library and checked the book out then started reading it.
A Solitary Blue is about Jeff Green and his difficult life through his seventh and eighteen years. His mother Melody leaves him, and his father the professor, she leaves them both with a little note to read. The professor knowing how Melody is stays expressionless unlike
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James Vachowski
So you think you know what it means to be lonely? Let me introduce you to Jeff Greene, a boy who was raised by his father after his mother ran off. Jeff’s dad is a college professor who has very little time to spend with his son, so he leaves the household chores to a series of graduate students. With his mother gone, Jeff spends his days dreaming of her…until one summer, she invites him to visit her in Charleston, South Carolina. Over the course of the next few years, Jeff gradually explores hi ...more
Jen
I wrote this after reading the first 100 pages.

As a rule, I avoid novels with wide-eyed young beautiful innocent pure-hearted flower-child types, because (1) fetishizing innocence tends toward creepiness regardless of the character's age and (2) these characters tend to be such dunderheaded idiots I find it difficult to read their stories without throwing the books across the room every few pages. However, Voigt's own beautiful flower child is so obviously dunderheaded that I thought at first A
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SadieSparrow
This is not the kind of book I usually pick up, sort of a character study type book about a person dealing with family issues..and yet I am so glad I did pick this one up and read it. I couldn't put it down till I finished it and knew that Jeff, the main character, was safe and well and whole in the end with his loving dad and friends around him..
Reading this book I realized I was truly reading a classic, for the story came alive inside me and didn't let me go.
I love this young man Jeff! Even t
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Julie
This may be more 4.5 than 5, only because I think some younger readers will find it a little slow to get off the ground but my 11 year old just started and she likes it so far and I loved it. In fact, I think its overall rating is too low, so let’s just go with 5.

I love the idea of taking the Dicey books and exploring some of the side characters more fully and it looks like that is what the rest of the Tillerman books do, starting with a closer look at Jeff Greene in A Solitary Blue. I thought
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Anne Slater
Set outside Baltimore, in the Chesapeake Bay area in a pre-electronic age, this book is a story of parental incompetence, love, betrayal, and growth, written from the perspective of the young son.

Peripheral to but definitely part of the Tillerman Family cycle of YA novels, it is at once painful and charming to read. Whereas the Tillermans are four children who live in a warmly supportive home with their grandmother, the young man who is the focus (I read this earlier this week and can't remember
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Bayla
Buzzwords: Abandonment, family, knowing yourself/understanding people, nature, friendship, respect/love, being alone

"A solitary blue heron stood at its edge, half-hidden in the pale marsh grass. The heron's legs were like stilts under its clumsy body. Its dusky feathers hung shaggy, ungroomed. It was perfectly motionless. Its long beak pointed down from a head both unnoble and unbeautiful. Its beak aimed down into the still, dark water. The heron occupied its own insignificant corner of the land
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Cheryl
I think that this book is really good, I really like this book because of the description inside that give you the imaginations in this book, and the stories happened in the book are also very interesting and exciting, that makes you wanted to read more to find out what is happening. I liked this book by how it uses the descriptions of scenes in the book, giving you the scene in your mind of what he was at and looking at. What I didn't like about the book is sometimes the stories jumped too quic ...more
Wendy
A lovely and very fast-moving book (especially for such quiet, non-dynamic characters and plot). I was disappointed, at first, when I found out that this wasn't about Dicey, but I think I liked it better than either Homecoming or Dicey's Song. Have you read this, Kathleen? I think you'd be interested in the parts that take place in the south.
Weathervane
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer
How can you put down a book when it starts off with a note written from mom explaining why she has to abandon her 2nd grade son... Eventually the book does join the Tillermans, but it is a haunting truth of what some of our children are dealing with...
Yolanda Chapa
This book is a "coming to age" story. It's light, you can feel empathy -but not sympathy, the Tillermans wouldn't allow it. Certainly is a book that portray us different kinds of people, and a unique way to understand them.
Sarah
After I finished this book last night, I realized that I had read it before but I didn't remember the story until it was over. Funny how one can do that with books.
Aside from that, I really enjoyed this companion book of Homecoming and Dicey's Song. I'm impressed with Cynthia Voigt as an author: she took a side character in Dicey's Song and create a whole backstory that stayed true to the character she introduced in Dicey's Song. I think that takes talent.
I enjoyed the story and the struggle Je
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Kristina
The guy on the cover isn't half as hot as I imagined whatshisname to be.
Claire
When I was growing up, I owned four of the seven Tillerman books, and I adored them all. (There were several rereads involved!) I saw this title in the library and thought I should finish off the series. It is a good book, but it didn't grip me the way the ones narrated by Dicey or Mina did. This book has a male narrator, so it might appeal to a boy more than the other books that I would recommend to girls. I'm not sure I would recommend this book to a reluctant reader. The flowery prose is beau ...more
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What's The Name o...: Boy visits mother in the south [s] 5 26 Aug 18, 2014 10:08PM  
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Cynthia Voigt is an American author of books for young adults dealing with various topics such as adventure, mystery, racism and child abuse.


Awards:
Angus and Sadie: the Sequoyah Book Award (given by readers in Oklahoma), 2008
The Katahdin Award, for lifetime achievement, 2003
The Anne V. Zarrow Award, for lifetime achievement, 2003
The Margaret Edwards Award, for a body of work, 1995
Jackaroo: Ratte
...more
More about Cynthia Voigt...

Other Books in the Series

Tillerman Cycle (7 books)
  • Homecoming (Tillerman Cycle, #1)
  • Dicey's Song (Tillerman Cycle, #2)
  • The Runner (Tillerman Cycle, #4)
  • Come a Stranger (Tillerman Cycle, #5)
  • Sons from Afar (Tillerman Cycle, #6)
  • Seventeen Against the Dealer (Tillerman Cycle, #7)
Homecoming (Tillerman Cycle, #1) Dicey's Song (Tillerman Cycle, #2) Jackaroo (Tales of the Kingdom, #1) Izzy, Willy-Nilly On Fortune's Wheel (Tales of the Kingdom, #2)

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“It wasn't the worst time when Melody left me," the Professor said. "The worst time was the years before. Because I didn't know I couldn't hate anybody that much; it was like she'd stuck a sword into me, one of those Japanese samurai swords, do you know the kind I mean? Heavy and razor sharp-and she'd stuck it in me and then she was...pushing it around." His hand rested on his stomach, remembering. "I couldn't get free from the feelings. I didn't know how frightened I could be, all the time. But whenever we had to go out together, she'd smile at me and talk to me and listen and look at me the way she did-and I wanted to hit her," he said, his voice low and ashamed.
Jeff let his head down to rest on his fists.
"When I found out how many lies she was telling me, I finally realized that she had always lied to me. About my lectures. About boyfriends; and even after she knew I knew, she'd still lie about it. I hated her. Or the bills she ran up, without asking, without telling; then she'd say she'd taken care of them but she just-ignore them. I know I looked all right to other people-maybe more of a dry stick than usual, maybe even more of boring than usual-but inside I was knotted up, all the time, because I hated her so much, and I hated myself, and I was scared."
Jeff looked up at his father.
"I didn't think she'd do that to you, Jeff," the Professor said. "But she did, didn't she."
Jeff nodded. He knew he was crying, but he didn't know what to do about it. Neither did the Professor. He just sat and waited, until Jeff got up to blow his nose.
"It was the lies," the Professor said. "They were what really scared me. Even now, if I think about her-and the kinds of things she says....I don't know what she told you, but I never was sorry I'd married her or loved her because of you. You always made a difference, made a real difference, from the very beginning. I always knew that, inside me, but I didn't bother to learn how to show you. I'm sorry, Jeff, I should have taken the trouble.”
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