Shelly's Reviews > Ramona Blue

Ramona Blue by Julie   Murphy
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Nov 30, 2016

it was amazing
bookshelves: coming-of-age, lgbtqia, stand-alone, harper, diverse

Now that I've read Ramona Blue, I can tell you that my excitement for it was totally founded. Ramona is definitely a complicated individual, and reading her journey was intense. While the uproar about this novel focused on her sexuality, a big part of the novel is about Ramona figuring out her place within her family and how her future is impacted by her sister's pregnancy, as Ramona is determined to be there for her sister but feels the weight of all their financial burdens. I would classify this novel as a 'coming of age' one because Ramona has a lot of decisions about her future weighing on her and she is still attempting to just find her place in the world.

In terms of her relationship with her childhood friend, her feelings for Freddie confuse her and she questions her sexuality, and it's clear that she may eventually identify somewhere under the bisexual umbrella. There was some concern over the novel's original blurb, but rest assured that the trope of a lesbian "needing to find the right man to turn her straight" is not in this book.
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Before reading: I have pre-emptively given this book 5 stars because I see the GoodReads rating is so low. I’m aware that this book is being lowly rated for its potential queer representation and I’m going to speak about that for a bit. RAMONA BLUE is about Ramona, a lesbian teen who (based on the GoodReads description) discovers that perhaps she may have feelings for a boy she bonds with over a shared passion for swimming. Because sexuality is fluid, I do think readers deserve a chance to read the novel first (or at least a few pages of it) before deciding for themselves whether or not they view the representation as harmful. Not everyone will agree but I do think having different representations of sexuality will allow teens to find a place in literature for (literally) whatever they are going through. If you know me, you know I have spoken out against harmful representations about LGBT characters but I don’t think that will be the case with RAMONA BLUE (when I read it, I can update my review). For more thoughts on this (and probably better than I can say), please read Tristina Wright’s twitter thread as well as Hannah Moskowitz’s twitter thread (as linked by Tristina).
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Reading Progress

November 30, 2016 – Shelved
November 30, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
April 5, 2017 – Started Reading
April 7, 2017 – Shelved as: coming-of-age
April 7, 2017 – Shelved as: lgbtqia
April 7, 2017 – Shelved as: stand-alone
April 7, 2017 – Shelved as: harper
April 7, 2017 – Shelved as: diverse
April 7, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-21 of 21) (21 new)

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Raina Robertson Sexuality isn't "fluid" you faux-progressive homophobe. Lesbian sexuality is not fluid; lesbians like women. Gross


message 2: by Emma (new) - rated it 1 star

Emma I'm a lesbian. My sexuality isn't fluid. Also, unless you're a lesbian, shut up. We're allowed to be upset at things like this. Do you know how often lesbians get told we just need to find the "right guy"? Advertising the book in this way is harmful to lesbians, end of story.


Weezie To the two commenters above me: I do understand your concern at an obviously poorly worded synopsis but I don't understand why you feel the need to so violently disregard other people's view of sexuality and their sexuality in general. I'm glad you think your sexuality isn't fluid and that you've never doubted for even one second who you are as a sexual person but that's not the case for all of us. I identified as straight until I realized that I liked girls way back in the day. And thanks to people like you who feel it has to be one way or the other, I was forced to identify as a lesbian because while I liked boys on occasion, I preferred girls much much more. So for years and years, I identified as a lesbian. Until I fell madly in love with a boy. And again, because of people like you who feel it's all-or-nothing, I was forced to identify as straight. When that relationship ended, I was left confused and heartbroken not just because of the end of a relationship but because I had also fallen for another girl and I was terrified of having to come out again (because of people like you). But I did come back out and I was a lesbian once more only that's wasn't quite true because there was still that 2.5% chance that I would meet a boy I liked.

Do I understand that the narrative in this book could be harmful? Absolutely.
Do I think it's a poorly worded synopsis? 100%
Do I think you should hold your anger until the book is released and you've read it? YEP.

If people can go from feeling like they're straight to feeling like they're a lesbian, then they can go from feeling like they're a lesbian to feeling like they're bisexual. You. Don't. Get. To. Decide. Who. Someone. Loves.


message 4: by Bekka (new) - added it

Bekka Raina, Emma:

There was a time in my life I was SURE I was straight. There was also a time in my life I was SURE I was a lesbian. But now? I'm SURE I'm bisexual. Bisexuality, pansexuality, and sexual fluidity aren't homophobic. Your sexuality may never change, and I'm glad that you don't have to go through that confusion and self-doubt. But you're also not the only people in the world!


Dichotomy Girl Emma: do you know how often Bisexuals are told that their orientation doesn't really exist? that it's a phase or a transition? Or that their sexual orientation is the only one that's a choice? They may as well just start calling it the lg_t community, because the only time bisexuals are given a voice is when they are part of an approved same-sex relationship and can be conveniently labelled gay.

I think we can both agree that having your identity invalidated really sucks.


Ashley Sexuality isn't fluid for everyone. There is nothing progressive about your digusting ignorance. You're a homophobic bigot.


Shelly Hi all! Thanks for taking the time to read my review and comment.

To address some comments on here: sexuality is fluid for a lot of people under the LGBTQ+ umbrella, to ignore that would be ignoring lots of people's experiences. I'm not going to argue about the "falling for the right guy trope" because it is harmful, and this synopsis is worded problematically, but the author has stated she's re-writing it to be clearer that the main character will realize she's bi. Labels can change and are not fixed; this novel gives room to a teen character to explore her identity. If this novel does turn out to be offensive, I will be the first one calling it out. I do take LGBT+ representation very seriously and I think that it's important to realize that this novel only represents one bi experience, it doesn't stand for all experiences.


message 8: by Emma (new) - rated it 1 star

Emma the problem isn't that some people change labels as they find themselves, the problem is that this book uses a harmful lesbian trope to explore the topic. and again, if you're not a lesbian, don't tell us not to be upset about a book promoting stereotypes that harm us.


message 9: by Angie (new) - added it

Angie Honestly you biphobic lesbians just need to take five steps back. Unless you've somehow magically read the book, you have no idea what tropes are or are not used. The author - who didn't write the blurb - has stated it's worded badly. Maybe find something that's ACTUALLY problematic to attack.


message 10: by Bekka (new) - added it

Bekka What you're not realizing is that this is more than a "harmful trope." This is LIFE for a shit load of bisexuals. That's the real fucking problem here. You guys continue to ignore that the BISEXUAL author has conceded to the poor word choice made by the publishers and is, right now, writing a new blurb for the book to make it clearer.

There's nothing homophobic about not being a lesbian, no matter how many times you try to say there is.


message 11: by Rachael (new) - added it

Rachael Emma wrote: "the problem isn't that some people change labels as they find themselves, the problem is that this book uses a harmful lesbian trope to explore the topic. and again, if you're not a lesbian, don't ..."

No one is trying to diminish how harmful that trope is to lesbians but there is a difference between magic-cock-makes-gay-girl straight and someone realizing they are bisexual and experiencing things with both genders. I would recommend reading the novel and seeing how the relationships are portrayed before you start attacking it. Representation is extremely important and there are more than two sexualities in life that deserves good representation.


La La Rachael wrote: "Emma wrote: "the problem isn't that some people change labels as they find themselves, the problem is that this book uses a harmful lesbian trope to explore the topic. and again, if you're not a le..."

Amen, Rachael, amen.


message 13: by Julia (new) - added it

Julia she might be bisexual. the book might be about bisexuality - not many books are. let's not judge a book by it's blurb shall we.


Lilian Halcombe Even the research that came up with the whole idea that sexuality is fluid found that people do not change sexual orientation and lesbians involved in the research were the least fluid of all those interviewed.


message 15: by Haley (new)

Haley Hughes I thought I was a lesbian at 16. It's not a finding the right guy issue it's a youth and discovery issue. it should be okay for their to be books about queer girls who are still discovering who they are.


message 16: by Rachael (new) - added it

Rachael Lilian wrote: "Even the research that came up with the whole idea that sexuality is fluid found that people do not change sexual orientation and lesbians involved in the research were the least fluid of all those..."

OKAY BUT NOBODY IS TALKING ABOUT LESBIANS BECOMING MAGICALLY NON-LESBIAN. Did the caps help at all? Because I know this must be really hard to wrap your itty bitty head around but, and you can quote me on this, bisexuality is a sexual orientation and is just as valid as being a lesbian. Clearly, you are going to hate on this book no matter what anyone says but you should really step back and evaluate and maybe don't interject yourself into peoples' reviews.


message 17: by Bekka (new) - added it

Bekka Lilian wrote: "Even the research that came up with the whole idea that sexuality is fluid found that people do not change sexual orientation and lesbians involved in the research were the least fluid of all those..."

Maybe you're right. Maybe sexuality isn't fluid. I'm pretty SOLIDLY bisexual. Just like millions of other people and apparently the main character of this book AND ITS AUTHOR TOO.


message 18: by Allie (new) - rated it 1 star

Allie Ryan I'm bisexual and I find this book to be disgustingly homophobic. Sexuality isn't fluid among lesbians (or gay men, and or straights).


message 19: by Bekka (new) - added it

Bekka Well then hey, one less bi for you to worry about!


Rebeca I think that this book is not about how a lesbian girl turns into straight for a boy.

This book is about a bi+ person who thinks they are settle with their label in the lgbt community to realise that maybe MAYBE they were wrong.

There's tons of cases about bi+ people who have thought they were gay to then realise that they weren't. Or bi+ people who have realise that they are gay.

And that's completely ok, because yes, sexuality is not fluid. But a person can change the label they use after experiencing different things.

I thought I was straight until I kissed a girl and then fell in love with her. And it wasn't my sexuality changing, it was my knowledge about it.


message 21: by Sam (new) - added it

Sam Why is it fine for there to be books that exist in which there are ppl who seem straight and then they meet that one person and realise they're gay? Why can't there be a book where someone seems gay and meets the one person who makes them realise they're bi(I would say is more likely)/straight?


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