Gayle Francis Moffet's Reviews > Blue Thread

Blue Thread by Ruth Tenzer Feldman
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's review
Oct 29, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 2012, january-2012, fiction, ya-lit
Read in January, 2012

"Blue Thread" is a historical YA novel with a smattering of science fiction. Miriam is a 16-year-old Jewish girl in Portland, OR on the eve of the 1912 state vote for women's suffrage. Her parents are old-fashioned in their ideas and their goals for their daughter, and their continued attempts to make her conform to their way of thinking is weakened not only by the suffragettes Miriam meets, but also by a time-traveler who comes and asks for her assistance. You see, Miriam comes from a long line of Miriams who have traveled back and forth over the "olam" and helped ancient women fight for justice.

It sounds like an odd combination of storylines--young woman trying to be modern mixed with the 1912 vote and some Biblical events--but Feldman knows what she's doing. She keeps the focus on Miriam, and Miriam is exactly where the focus should be. She's a smart young woman who knows what she wants. She's skeptical and hard-working, and she wants to do what's right. She also makes mistakes, overstepping the boundaries she knows are in place and spending some time just trying to keep her head above water. She is, in essence, a teenager who is trying to find her place, and that makes her very engaging. You want Miriam to win; not just because she's fighting a fight that makes sense (for women to have equal rights), but because she's doing it while also trying to love her parents and get them to understand her.

Miriam's parents, it should be noted, are a very interesting couple. There's a dark cloud over the family due to a tragedy, and it helps readers understand why Miriam's parents are as worried and strict as they are. They obviously love their daughter, but they're scared at the same time. They are also behind the times in their thinking, and they will resonate for a lot of teenagers as parents who are trying hard but just don't understand.

One of the great things about "Blue Thread" is that it's a very good YA book. There's conflict and strife and some nerve-wracking parts, but there's not a lot of darkness. There are a lot of YA novels out right now that are exceptionally dark for the genre ("Hunger Games") and other long-standing YA novels that have always caused controversy because of their themes and tone ("The Chocolate War"). "Blue Thread" is a YA novel that I think most any parent can hand to their child. Miriam is smart and capable, and while what she does is shocking for her time, there's nothing truly awful in Miriam's world. The injustices around her were injustices that existed and ones that can be easily discussed between parents and children and teachers and students. "Blue Thread" is a book that encourages young people to take a stand and work for what's right, and that's always a valuable lesson.

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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Gayle Francis Moffet A strong first novel from Feldman, with an interesting main character, a reason for her to both have issues with her parents (they want to marry her off; she'd rather work in the family print shop), and have issues with the world around her (1912 Oregon did not allow women to vote, and the suffragette movement was strong).

Miriam is a 16-year-old girl from a well-to-do family who learns (partly through time travel) that justice is a necessity and that you have to fight to make the world fair. Miriam meets a time-travelling woman who informs Miriam that she is from a long line of women named Miriam who have helped this same woman time and again in Biblical times. Miriam ends up travelling to the days of Moses to help a young woman and her sisters keep the land from their father, who had no sons.

The historical setting (in 1912) and the Biblical setting work together surprisingly well. In helping women bring justice to Biblical times, Miriam learns the importance of justice in her own time. Seeing a young woman find reason to join the suffragette movement is an interesting journey, if not a bit weird because the Portland setting means every few pages I was suddenly realizing I knew the places, had been to some of them. That's never happened with me for a book before.

Blue Thread is also a good book because it's a good YA book. Nothing Miriam does is scandalous by current standards (though definitely to those around her a few times). The book is filled with hope and determination. I recently read Hunger Games and was slightly shocked at the level of darkness in it. Blue Thread is a more classical YA novel, concentrating on a smart, capable teenager figuring out who they are in a world that is unfair but not dangerous. I really enjoyed Hunger Games, but it was nice to read the YA I remember from growing up, the YA that I think most any parent can hand to their kid and feel comfortable knowing that the conversations coming from it will be conversations they can handle.

Blue Thread isn't due for release until early February, but keep an eye out for it. It's a good read.

message 2: by Lana (new) - added it

Lana Del Slay Is it available for pre-order? Sounds like my cup of tea.

Gayle Francis Moffet Powell's has it listed, so you may see if you can grab it from them.

It also looks like it's available on Amazon, but Powell's is local. :)

message 4: by Lana (new) - added it

Lana Del Slay Bookmarked for a rainy-day purchase. Ta!

Gayle Francis Moffet Well, you're ordering from Portland, so it's a perfect time to purchase. (rim shot)

message 6: by Lana (new) - added it

Lana Del Slay I love you and your sense of humour. <3

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