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Blue Plate Special

4.11  ·  Rating Details  ·  660 Ratings  ·  118 Reviews
Doomed loves, failed families, nixed dreamssomeone else's leftovers are heaped on our plates the day we come into this world.

Big Macs and pop tunes mask the emptiness as Madeline watches her mom drink away their welfare checks. Until the day Tad, a quirky McDonald's counter boy, asks Madeline out for a date, and she gets her first taste of normal. But with a life thats any
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 23rd 2009 by Chronicle Books (first published September 1st 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,903)
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3.5 stars

Blue Plate Special is the story of three women in one family. The format alternates between each women's POV during their teen years. The snapshot of their teen years each covers pivotal moments which shaped their future. All three of them explore love and losing their virginity.

Madeline's teen story is set in 1977,
Madeline's daughter, Desiree, in 1993 and
Desiree's daughter (Madeline's granddaughter) Ariel, is in 2009.

Desiree's thread of the story is told in verse, which I loved (
Feb 24, 2010 Kate rated it it was amazing
I wasn't sure what to expect when I started reading BLUE PLATE SPECIAL. After the first chapter, I had pretty much decided that I was reading a typical, if particularly well-written, teen problem novel. But this book is just so much more than that. Much more.

It's tough to review without giving any spoilers, and the last thing I want to do is spoil this journey for anyone. What I will say is that it's three stories (two written in prose and one in verse, and all with distinct voices) woven togeth
Kimberly Bower (gladeslibrarian)
You've heard the old adage "you can choose your friends but you can't choose your family," right? Well, that's the premise behind Michelle D. Kwasney's young adult novel, Blue Plate Special. The title comes from the name of a special low-cost meal that could be ordered from a small town diner as early as the 1920s. This no-substitutions meat and veggie combo plate is sort of like your family - you get what you get.

Three teens, Madeline, Desiree and Ariel, are all good girls. Each lives in a dif
Amanda Snow
Jan 21, 2010 Amanda Snow rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
I gave my favorites of 2009 earlier this month, listing Blue Plate Special by Michelle D. Kwasney in one of the YA spots. Honestly, I've been really thinking about this review, because I can't say enough wonderful things about this gem of a book, without sounding somewhat ridiculous and overly sappy. Truth be told, I really AM ridiculously sappy and gushy about Blue Plate Special. So here I am...doing my best to express my love for this book:

Jacket description:
"Doomed loves, failed families, nix
I was pleasantly surprised about this book. I didn't really enjoy the cover very much and usually if I don't like the cover I don't want to read the book. Yes I'm one of those readers that judges a book by its cover. I really liked how the 3 characters in the book are intertwined with each other. I loved the simplicity of it and how it was hidden until (either you guessed it early on) or the book told you itself. I literally could not put the book down when I got about a little less than half wa ...more
Sep 13, 2009 Ariel rated it really liked it
What an incredible book.
Blue Plate Special is the story of three teenage women, Madeline, Desiree and Ariel, in three different time periods. The narrative alternates between each of the women, so that each story, and the ways in which the women are connected, is drawn out slowly. In the end, all of the strands overlap to create one narrative that takes place over three generations. I had a strong suspicion about how the narratives overlap, which was confirmed, which is satisfying in its own ri
Nov 01, 2009 Alea rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-for-review
Blue Plate Special is best if you go into it knowing nothing more than what you read on the jacket flap. It will reveal itself to you bit by bit until you are left sitting there stunned and extremely impressed, at least I think so. Unfortunately for me I knew a bit more than what the jacket tells you but it didn't matter. It just gave me a few more clues to work with. I was still very very impressed with Kwasney's ability to weave these three stories together. It's heartbreaking, honest, raw and ...more
Bri  Ahearn
Oct 22, 2009 Bri Ahearn rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Baylee Welch
Feb 27, 2015 Baylee Welch rated it it was amazing
I decided to read this book since I couldn't find anything else. I just picked at random, but I'm very glad I read it. This is the story of a family, 3 generations, and it covers the 3 generations of girls in their teenage years. Madeline is an overweight high school student who often gets bullied, doesn't have any friends, and also has an alcoholic mother. Madeline later becomes the grandmother. Her daughter, Desiree is raped by her mothers boyfriend, and later, becomes pregnant. Since her moth ...more
Cathy Nelson
Jan 17, 2016 Cathy Nelson rated it really liked it
Oh wow. I love when stories start off with totally unrelated characters and the story magically winds them together. This book ranks right up their with Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak for me. Teens, rape, teen pregnancy...a must read for teens!! What better way to teach our girls how to handle these sticky situations than to let them read it in a book like this--a story that ultimately has such a good message!!
Andi (A Literal Hottie)
Aug 08, 2013 Andi (A Literal Hottie) rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of coming of age
Recommended to Andi by: Amazon
Shelves: coming-of-age, 2013
I was hooked in the first chapter and enjoyed reading this sad story until the very end. I bought this book from a kindle recommendation, I think it was 2.99 and all I needed to see was that it was told from the POV of 3 different 15 yr old girls...that's all I needed to know, so glad I took a chance
May 02, 2015 Kayla rated it really liked it
I wasn't prepared for how much I loved this book. I couldn't put it down. You seem to forget that people have their own lives, and they had lives before you knew them. I have had problems with my mom since I was born, and I couldn't help but think how our story somewhat resembled the stories in this book. As a mom I try to do everything I can for my daughter, so I was kind of...shocked and sick at how some of these mother's acted towards their daughter, but a t the same time its like been there ...more
Mar 29, 2015 Jessica rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-stars
This book wasn't even predictable, per say. The thing is that in the beginning, I had trouble figuring out how the three girls' stories correlated to one another. Each had different problems, different families, and even different decades. None of their individual plot points lined up.

But their stories are connected, and they're connected in a way that you'd never believe if I told you. Plus, it's kind of hard to explain. Which is why I won't explain it - go pick up a copy of Blue Plate Special
May 29, 2014 Chantel rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Teen Girls
I don't remember how I first learned of this book. I might have simply been browsing through new additions on my library's e-books through Overdrive page. Anyway, it has been on my to-read list for at least a few months and I finally got a chance to download it. Once I started the book, I kept with it and found it was a fast read and enjoyable. I did figure out one major thing early on but I don't think it spoiled the three girl's storylines for me. Kwasney's writing engages the senses and invit ...more
Jan 28, 2010 Rosa rated it really liked it
This was an amazing read. In the 1970's Madeline spends all of her time taking care of her alcoholic mother, making no life of her own until it is almost too late. In 1999 Desiree's mother ignores her, unless it's to criticize. When she is raped by her mother's boyfriend, everyone's life is forever changed. Ariel is being raised by her mother. Ariel's boyfriend Shane wants just a little bit too much from her. The chapters alternate in each young woman's voice and Desiree's story is written in a ...more
Diane Ferbrache
Jan 24, 2010 Diane Ferbrache rated it really liked it
Shelves: washyarg
Three girls in three time periods deal with life and love. Madeline (1977) is the unpopular “fat” girl with the drunk, neglectful mother suddenly finds herself befriended by the cheerleader she admires. When a boy shows interest, she loses weight and falls in love. Desiree (1993) writes in poetry about her abusive stepfather, her overbearing mother, and the boy who loves her more than anything. Ariel (2009) has a father in prison, a mother who adores her, and a controlling boyfriend. The reader ...more
Apr 05, 2010 Christian rated it really liked it
Shelves: ir-reading-books
The Blue Plate Special by Michelle D. Kwasney, is and excellent story about three girls.
Madeline, Desiree, and Ariel are all living hard lives they have had to grow up faster then other girls their ages. Madeline has issues with her weight and her alcoholic mother, she lives a life where the mother and daughter roles are reversed. Desiree has a neglectful mother, but also has the unwanted attention from her mothers boyfriend who is a little to nice to her. Ariel is dealing with her grandmother’
Sep 01, 2010 McKenzie rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
Blue Plate Special is one of those stories that really gets to you. It starts as just another teenagers with problems book, but Michelle weaves together intrigue, wit, and awkwardness into a classic coming of age story that defies preset standards.

Madeline, Desiree, and Ariel. All young girls with their whole lives ahead of them, stuck in problem situations. All are connected, but none know it just quite yet. As time flashes from one point of view to the next, each young woman offers a glimpse
Steph Bowe
Oct 15, 2009 Steph Bowe rated it it was amazing
This novel is told from the perspectives of three very different teenage girls - Madeline in the 1970s, Desiree in the 1990s, and Ariel in the 2000s. I found that each of their perspectives were brilliantly written, and each of their stories moving. I especially loved the sparse verse that is used in telling Desiree's story, and all of the music references used to ground the reader in the era of each of the girl's stories. Though it may seem as if chapters jumping between three different girls a ...more
Three girls, three generations, three stories of life, loss, and finding your way in a complicated world.

Madeline’s mother is an alcoholic. Madeline takes care of herself, her mother, and the house. Overweight and underappreciated, everything changes for Madeline when she meets Tad.

Sixteen year-old Desiree has a mother who simply doesn’t care. She calls her daughter a slut, and doesn’t believe anything Desiree says. When her mother’s boyfriend rapes her, Desiree turns to the one person in her l
Christian Montalvo
May 27, 2010 Christian Montalvo rated it really liked it
Shelves: ir-reading-books
The Blue Plate Special by Michelle D. Kwasney, is and excellent story about three girls.
Madeline, Desiree, and Ariel are all living hard lives they have had to grow up faster then other girls their ages. Madeline has issues with her weight and her alcoholic mother, she lives a life where the mother and daughter roles are reversed. Desiree has a neglectful mother, but also has the unwanted attention from her mothers boyfriend who is a little to nice to her. Ariel is dealing with her grandmother’
Lisa Gibson
Jan 01, 2011 Lisa Gibson rated it really liked it
This wound up being my final book of the year. This little gem was number 100. I saw this on a list for teens, made by teens, for my library (I try to keep up with what they're talking about). I enjoyed this book a great deal.

One of the girls sections was even written in free verse. You know that's been my thing lately. Anyway, for all of their differences, these girls had undercurrents of similarities. You know we're all more alike than we realize. They were all very different people though. T
Oct 07, 2014 Emma rated it it was ok
Shelves: amazon-vine
1977. Elmira, New York: All Madeline wants to do is forget her life. She'd give anything to be like the popular cheerleaders at her high school. But she isn't. She's fat and homely. Her mother is a drunk. Music is the only thing that keeps her sane and food is the only thing that helps her forget how how empty she feels and how starved she is for just a little bit of affection. Living on Welfare, Madeline tries to keep her head down, hide her savings and look toward graduating and getting the he ...more
Holly Lee (Bellas Novella)
Jan 17, 2010 Holly Lee (Bellas Novella) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: amazon-vine, 2009
This book was downright amazing. I wasn't exactly drawn to this based on the cover or the title, but the reviews I was reading made it sound good, so I decided to read it and see what all the fuss was about.

The book is centered around 3 girls, each struggling in their own ways. We read a chapter about Madeline, then one about Desiree, and then one about Ariel. Always in that order, each chapter is relatively short, and usually leaves a bit of a cliffhanger at the end. Because of the many questio
blue plate special by Michelle D. Kwasney

I'm still trying to decide exactly how I feel about this book. If I took anything away from this novel, it would be an appreciation of family. The girls in this book all have horrific experiences that no one should have to go through. blue plate special was a difficult book to read because of all the pain the girls endure. The title and the book’s cover don’t really give you any idea of what the book is about, but at the end, you find that they do tie in
Kim Baccellia
Jun 28, 2009 Kim Baccellia rated it really liked it
Three generations of girls, all tied together into one novel.

Madeline's the fat girl at school and has to deal with a drunk mother. No one pays any attention to her until that one day at McDonalds. Tad seems to like her regardless of her weight.

Desiree's mother is always nagging on her about how slutty she looks. Larry, her mother's boyfriend, seems to be the only one who 'gets' her until one day his interest goes too far.

Ariel's father is in prison and her mother works all the time. Her boyfri
Big Joe's Books
Sep 05, 2014 Big Joe's Books rated it really liked it
Don't give up on this book. It is a little confusing as to where the story/plot is heading but trust me it is well worth it in the end.
The story revolves around three women, set at three different eras.
Madeline, Desiree, and Ariel. which is funny cause MDA is a strong hallucinogenic drug and this story is one great acid like trip.
The story is told alternating between the three women, so that each story, and the ways in which the women are connected blend into a wild little mind f*ck, when we fin
Katrina Ly
Oct 24, 2013 Katrina Ly rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most real, poignant book I have ever read. It is definitely not for the faint-hearted. However, if you're up for a unique, interesting read that offers a new perspective of the world and deals with real issues in a realistic manner, this is, my friend, your soul mate. I absolutely loved this read, and I'm pretty sure there are not a lot of books, quite like this one, out there. I love how it wasn't afraid to show its protagonists in a negative light, yet ended with such hope. ...more
Tabitha Olson
May 09, 2010 Tabitha Olson rated it really liked it
This is a quieter book than some of the other YA available, and at first glance, it doesn't differentiate itself from the rest. But if you stick with it, you will be pleasantly surprised.

I am fascinated with many of the themes and concepts introduced in this story. And I love how these three girls tell their stories in a way that gives the reader so much more insight than you get in most novels. When I started to see the connection between these girls, the geek in me got all excited about the po
Becca Westerheide
Feb 06, 2014 Becca Westerheide rated it it was amazing
This book is different in a great way. It tells the story of grandmother, mother, and granddaughter and the struggles they all went through during their teenage years of life. It shows how the struggles of the grandmother are similar to those of her daughter and her granddaughter. I would absolutely recommend this book to everyone.
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