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Silhouetted by the Blue

3.68  ·  Rating Details  ·  314 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
Seventh-grader Serena Shaw is trying to keep up at school while rehearsing for the lead role in the spring musical and dealing with a father so "blue" he is nearly catatonic. With the aid of a not-so-secret admirer as well as a growing sense of self-confidence, she faces the challenges of caring for herself and her ball-of-charm younger brother, all while attempting to lea ...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published July 19th 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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Community Reviews

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Jul 10, 2012 Kia rated it liked it
Silhouetted was a touching read. It made me cry. I know what its like to feel blue. I have listened to my students talk about losing a loved one as well, and know that after a huge loss things change. Many times the person can feel as if there is no one to talk to or that people feel like they will catch the "dead mom" cooties.
The novel had many realistic moments. However, I don't like that the friendship with Elijah was pushed into a romantic relationship. I felt like she should have developed
Nov 20, 2014 Lesley rated it really liked it
A great book about an Issue (actually, more than one Issue) that really shows how Issues (in this case, a mother's death and a father's downward spiral into depression) affect every aspect of a girl's life (relationships with friends and with her little brother, her role in the school musical) while keeping those aspects realistically relevant. It felt like a real slice of a girl's life at a moment of crisis. I especially appreciated how she didn't react to everything perfectly--she lashed out a ...more
Apr 13, 2015 Eden rated it liked it
Serena's mother died more than a year ago, but things are still tough, especially with Serena's father still feeling blue. Serena's got a lot of responsibility put on her now having to take care of herself, the house and her younger brother. Now she's got the lead in the school play she wanted. But she doesn't know how she'll manage everything and keep up with school work and practice for the play.

Serena needs help, but doesn't know who she can turn to.

I read this because in 2013 I read anothe
Jan 02, 2012 Jamie rated it liked it
I'm a little torn about this one. It's a strong tale, with believable characters. I loved Serena, she is strong and weak at the same time and I think child readers would root for her and be glad they are not her at the same time. Sometimes I think the dialog was reaching too hard to be "on point" but I'd like to know what kids would think - I think the author got it pretty close.
Susan Dove Lempke
May 12, 2011 Susan Dove Lempke rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
A 7th grade girl tries to keep things together at home as her father is incapacitated by depression. The main character has a tart, down-to-earth personality that keeps the book from being gloomy. There's much to like but the ending is a little too tidy.
Dec 02, 2015 Brynn rated it really liked it
Serena’s mother died more than a year ago. Since then, Serena has been able to move on just as her mother would have wanted her to do, but her father never quite got out of his blue. In this standout novel, Silhouetted by the Blue by Traci L. Jones, the reader gets a glimpse at what life would be like to have a deceased parent and an unresponsive one. This book was full of emotion and made me never want to put it down.
Serena, at first glance, looks like your normal middle school girl. Though i
Serena is a 7th grader who has a lot on her plate. She's trying out for the lead in her school play, The Wiz, and of course, trying to keep up with all the school work. But, there's more than that, she is acting as mom to her little brother, and coping with her dad who is suffering from depression. Serena's mom was killed in a car crash the year before, and her dad can't deal with his sorrow, to the point where he is ignoring his family. I like Serena, she is a great character, but as you read t ...more
Oct 28, 2011 Doret rated it really liked it
Serena will be starring in the school play The Wiz even though she's only in the 7th grade. She lives with her dad and younger brother Henry. Serena's dad has a very bad case of the blues forcing Serena to take on more responsibilities at home. Living by the code of what happens at home is no one's business, everything soon becomes too much for Serena.

I loved Serena's voice and this story. This is the first YA novel I've come across that truly explores the topic of depression. The author handles
Katrina Burchett
Jul 30, 2011 Katrina Burchett rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
Serena Shaw is a seventh grader. It's been over a year since her mother died and her dad is suffering from depression or - as she calls it - the blue. She'd like to spend time with friends and focus on her lead role in the school play, but most of her time is spent taking care of her little brother and her dad (as best she can). She makes meals for the family, and she does the grocery shopping and the laundry. All she wants to do is live her life under normal circumstances and go for her dreams. ...more
A simply told but profoundly touching tale of a girl (7th grade) who is trying to hold her family together after her mom's death & her dad's fall into severe depression. Serena just wants a normal world, but instead she has to take care of her little brother & maintain her household, cooking, cleaning, laundry & all of it. When she gets cast as the star of the school play it all becomes too much, especially as Dad gets worse, not better. He spends weeks wearing the same pajamas & ...more
 Imani ♥ ☮
Overall, I thought that this book was pretty cute. Pretty being the operative word. After reading Jones' other novel, Finding My Place, I thought that I was done with trying to read her work. I'm not saying that this was a very excellent book or anything, because it wasn't. It was just a nice, short read that kept my interest until the end. Although, if I am to be honest, the ending kind of sucked.

This is the story of a seventh grader named Serena.(Her age kind of threw me off, but whatever. Bec
Oct 06, 2011 Ian rated it really liked it
Shelves: realistic
Ever since their mother died in a car accident, Henry and Serena's life has been going downhill. It's not necessarily dealing with the grief, but more their father's reaction to it - he has what Serena refers to as "the blue," or severe depression so crippling that he cannot take care of himself or his children, much less get out of bed. Meanwhile, Serena keeps plugging along. Her grades may not be the best, but she just scored the coveted lead role of Dorothy in her middle school's production o ...more
Jul 10, 2013 Marcia rated it liked it
I liked this book, but it wasn't my ultimate favorite. I read it for the MO Truman Awards I probably would not have picked it up otherwise. This will be a good book for my MS students since it is a modern story and unfortunately a few of my students can relate to the frustration she is feeling when everything starts falling apart. As I was reading, I wished I could reach inside the book to help her. I wanted to yell at her dad to snap out of it and be there for his kids...they needed him. I am g ...more
Abby Johnson
Sep 30, 2012 Abby Johnson rated it really liked it
"Take care of my boys, baby girl. Take care of them till I get home." That's what Serena's mom told her before she left on a business trip... but she was in a car accident and never came home. Now Serena's trying to deal with her grief while she keeps up with everything else - taking care of her little brother and a dad who won't get out of bed, schoolwork (her grades are slipping), play practice (Serena's playing the lead), grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning...

Serena's dad has "had the blue"
May 08, 2012 Tina rated it really liked it
7th grader Serena Shaw is struggling with responsibilities that no middle schooler should have to face after the sudden death of her mother following a car crash. Serena has no choice but to step up and care for herself and her younger brother as their father spirals further into a debilitating depression. Serena more is added to her plate when she earns the lead role in the school’s production of The Wiz which could earn the school a much needed grant for the theatre department to continue. Kee ...more
Apr 23, 2013 Rachel rated it it was amazing
Serena Shaw. Seventh-grader. Older sister. Horrible at math. Even more horrible at Spanish. Made for a pair of ruby red slippers in her school’s musical production of The Wiz. That is, if she can get to practice on time, keep her singing voice strong, finish her homework, clean the house, do the laundry, make dinner and make sure her little brother Henry is taken care of. See, since Serena’s mom died a year ago, her dad has had a serious case of “the blue.” He cries all the time, refuses to work ...more
Mrs.  Heckman
Jan 22, 2016 Mrs. Heckman rated it really liked it
This was a fabulous book for middle school students. Serious content but written well for the age group. Many times as adults I think we discount all of the issues that may be going on at home that our students are dealing with. Serena gives a strength and hope, Henry provides the resilience of youth, and Serena's father the reality of a family coping with death and depression.
Faith Faith
Mar 25, 2015 Faith Faith rated it it was amazing
I think it has been a great experience book reading this book because;themes
Favorite inspiration stuff that I might use in my writing
"you do not feel embarrassed about anything instead it is as if a great weight has been lifted off ur heart and you also don't have to face problems all alone anymore"

Kaitlin Gelina
Mar 02, 2014 Kaitlin Gelina rated it it was amazing
It was such an inspiration to see her take care of herself her younger brother and her dad. If my mom died I wouldn't be able to take care of my family and handle school and do a play and be the star of that play I just couldn't do that It was such an inspiration to read this book.
Serena is an extremely talented singer and lands the lead role in the school musical even though she is still a 7th grader. However, she is struggling to balance a lot of other things, including a younger brother who needs to be picked up from school daily, missing her mom who died in a car accident 18 months ago, and a dad who is suffering from severe depression. Serena needs help, but doesn't know how to ask for it. A touching and realistic account of how lives can be affected by depression an ...more
Mackenzie Macklin Mcmillan
Nov 11, 2013 Mackenzie Macklin Mcmillan rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed how the author made Serena's life very realistic. I felt bad for Serena when she felt all alone the person who would talk to her about her mothers death would only talk about it, Henry was too young to understand, her friends weren't very supportive, her dad had terrible depression, her uncle didn't understand until he got there to see it for himself, and her grandma was too old to help. The lesson in this book to me is be appreciative of what you have because one minute its the ...more
Laura Landis
Jun 14, 2014 Laura Landis rated it liked it
A sweet story, beautifully sad with a hope filled finish.
I agree with the reviews that mentioned this was simply told and a little too tidy. Overally, it was a nice story about a girl whose mother was killed in a car accident and her father is battling depression. She is left to care for her younger brother and live her life in the face of her father's ever more alarming symptoms.

The main character is charming and I felt for her as I was reading. What could be a very depressing read was relatively uplifting.

Depression. Death. Suicide.
**bonus points fo
Andrew Burden
Mar 17, 2014 Andrew Burden rated it it was amazing
Simple but remarkably tender and moving. A poignant reminder to me, as a teacher, to look beyond what I see in a classroom for the real stories students are living.
Apr 16, 2015 Belle rated it really liked it
Mar 26, 2015 Drea rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-read-2015
Fast read about a 7th grade who lost her mom and is trying to deal with her father's depression. Very realistic. Like how depressed can affect the person and all that surround them & that medication is not the enemy.
Oct 07, 2012 Lisa rated it it was amazing
It was just such a realistic story to me, and it kept me reading when I picked it up. I think kids would really get into the realism as well. A lot of students don't like all the fantasy in stories, they want to read something they can relate to, or that is just plain "real". And this book is perfect for those kids.

You can read the rest of my review HERE
Stephanie Folarin
Shockingly fantastic book. Heavy content but very important for young adults to think through such topics.
Jan 31, 2012 Meredith rated it it was ok
Shelves: childrens-lit
Blech. An issue book. Not helped by the fact that it kept referencing the Outsiders, one of my favorite books of all time. You look especially bad compared to The Outsiders, book. Also, I'm not sure what age group this is supposed to be for. The protagonist is in 7th grade, but it's definitely written more like a teen book. On the bright side, the issues in the book are important. And it only took me about 2 hours to read it.
Nov 07, 2013 Kendall rated it really liked it
3.75 stars; 2013-4 Truman list. Although the book was profoundly sad, I found it to be a really accurate depiction of a parent who's depressed. As a former caregiver of siblings because of an unavailable parent, I related to the protagonist's day-to-day struggles and found the plot both moving and realistic. I plan to check out Traci Jones' other books...she is a great writer I had not heard of until now.
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