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

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  4,933 Ratings  ·  295 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, 307 pages
Published May 1st 1993 by Scholastic (first published 1983)
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Phillip Homecoming should come before Dicey's Song. A Solitary Blue is better understood if it is read after Dicey's Song. So, yes, it is best to read the…moreHomecoming should come before Dicey's Song. A Solitary Blue is better understood if it is read after Dicey's Song. So, yes, it is best to read the first three books in order. I have not read the rest, so I cannot answer for them.(less)

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Lisa Findley
Nov 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, reviewed
I was too bowled over by Dicey's Song to write much about it. I'm bowled over again, and I didn't think that was possible with a followup novel, so I'm going to try - probably unsuccessfully - to chronicle a little bit of Voigt's skill.

I suppose the place to start is the writing. It's spectacular because every single word is deliberate. When Voigt spends three paragraphs describing a room, it's not because she thinks she needs to elaborate on its setting. It's because she's allowing tension to b
Feb 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Lars Guthrie
Sep 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: series
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
Jan 28, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There’s a red “Scholastic” band at the bottom of the cover and a pretty silver coin that says “Newberry Honor Book” above that. You know what that means. Yes. Another young adult book. Kiss my ass; it’s what I wanted to read.

The book kicks off with Jeff’s mom, Melody, gone—having left a note to him about the work she has to do to save the world. Oh yes, hippy to the extreme. Then we meet Jeff’s dad and he was cold. I did not like him. Despite Melody’s abandonment, I wanted to meet her because s
Oct 10, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Elsa K
Jan 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another 4.5 stars. I didn't think I would enjoy this one as much as it focuses on Jeff Greene, a friend of the Tillermans. But I got so sucked into his story I didn't even miss the other characters! Can I just say Jeff's mom gives me the creeps? I enjoyed getting to see the Tillermans more in the end, but thought the story stood alone well without them. These are powerful stories and themes for young adults (and grown-ups too)!
Nov 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this is one of my favorite books of all time! I have read it over and over and never tire of it. I love the way Cynthia Voigt writes and enjoyed all the books in the Tillerman series!
Kimberly Lavoie
Jun 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Solitary Blue is quite possibly one of the saddest stories I have ever read. The writing is solid, and the characters evolve in such a way that the reader practically folds into themselves to keep up. It is really the story of human tenacity and resilience, and the fragility of love.
Sep 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Alex Larsen
May 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
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
Emily Anderer
After reading the other laudatory reviews for this book I feel a bit guilty for giving it only 3 stars. However, I just didn't find Melody to be a believable character. In the first half of the book I was very empathetic with Jeff, my heart aching for him, but the second summer in Charleston stretched my credulity too thin. I can't accept that Melody could spend two or three days with him in the entire summer and still conceive of herself as any kind of mother. Maybe I just have limited real-lif ...more
Jun 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Xan West
Jan 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essential-texts
This book reaches into my heart and holds. It always has, from the first time I read it, when I was quite young. It is the closest I have ever come to reading a character's POV and voice that matched who I was, and how I thought, and how I felt, as a child and I treasure it for that. I wouldn't call it my *favorite* book--it's too painful a read for that. But it is the book that reflects me the most, on the inside, as I was growing up, essential aspects of what my childhood was like and how I su ...more
May 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
I didn't like this book as much as the other books in the series. I don't know if it was because of the character shift or just because this one was so different. I thought it was interesting to focus on Jeff and his struggles, but there were times in the book that didn't hold my attention very much. I wanted more depth to this book. Maybe I just didn't care for it because the main character wasn't my favorite. I wouldn't recommend.

*Taken from my book reviews blog: http://reviewsatmse.blogspot.c
Jul 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2008
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
Apr 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this trilogy in 7th or 8th grade. I loved it then but I understand now. Voigt covers some difficult issues--mental illness, divorce, poverty, racial bias, for example--and lets the reader see inside characters as well as Wallace Stegner does--using simpler words. She "gets" people--all different kinds of people. You see the good, the bad, and the changes. Voigt's characters seemed so real to me she had me shifting allegiances throughout the book. Wow.
Katy Ann
Oct 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is very hard to write a review for this book. It is like writing a review of a point in my life or of a person you have been. This is the first book I read that really mattered. Not an escapist book but a book that reached down and saw me where I was in life and said "you are not alone." I have been Jeff and Dicey and part of me will always be them.
Dec 07, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newbery-honor
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.
Nov 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oct 21, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
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
Jul 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014, buildungsroman
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.
Jan 16, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
so far it's boring.
Emily Moore
I really wanted to like this book... It just could not retain my interest. Many of the characters annoyed me and I just couldn't get past the lack of luster in this novel.
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What's The Name o...: Boy visits mother in the south [s] 5 27 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.

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 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)
“He felt — washed clean, healed. He felt if he could just live here he would be all right. He felt as if he had never been alive before. He felt at ease with himself and as if he had come home to a place where he could be himself, without hiding anything, without pretending even to himself. He felt, thinking his way back up the beach, as if his brain had just woken up from some long sleep, and it wanted to run along beside the waves, to see how far and fast it could go.” 1 likes
“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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