Meg Allison's Reviews > Bluefish

Bluefish by Pat Schmatz
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's review
Jun 03, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: vermont-dcf-2012-13, young-adult
Read from May 31 to June 03, 2012

Gritty and real. Bluefish started slow for me, but by the middle of the story, Schmatz had me hooked. With a slow and steady hand, she reeled me into her coming of age story and its satisfying ending. She leaves us with a glimpse into the future, leaving much to our imagination. Just like her characters, details are sharp, but the big picture is hazy and mysterious, leaving the readers (and her characters) not inside a black and white tale, but one full of possibilities.

Having read Bluefish on the tails of two other 2012-13 DCF nominated books - Okay for Now and Close to Famous - I was struck by some striking similarities. Alcoholism, for starters, and how it can ruin lives. Both Travis and Velvetta in Bluefish and Doug in Okay for Now have alcoholic parental figures to contend with in. Both Foster in Close to Famous and Travis are illiterate, and through the care and attention of some special adults in their lives, learn to start to read. Both Foster and Travis have their talents - in the pastry arts and forestry, respectfully - and illuminate the struggle of young adults that who essentially have to raise themselves because their home situations are full of uncertainty and neglect. Instead, they are independent and resilient young adults without chips on their shoulders, and with much to share with their young readers both about hard knocks & hope.
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