Violets are Blue by Barbara Dee

Violets are Blue by Barbara Dee. Aladdin, 2021. 9781534469181

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or starred review) 5

Format: Paperback ARC

Genre: Realistic fiction

What did you like about the book? Wren’s parents are divorced and she lives with her mother in a new town where they moved after a bullying incident in her last school. In her spare time, Wren is obsessed with watching YouTube makeup artists and creating special effects with makeup herself. Her new friend Poppy finds out about Wren’s skills and convinces her to do the makeup for her school’s production of Wicked. Being involved in the school musical keeps her busy–so busy that she doesn’t notice how her mom’s behavior is changing. Soon Wren discovers that her mother has been hiding dangerous secrets that could hurt them all. Barbara Dee is one of my top 10 favorite middle grade authors. She has an ability to capture the middle school experience better than almost anyone else. Voice is one of her strong suits and Violets features yet another strong first-person protagonist who readers will fall for. Tough topics are tackled here (opioid abuse, divorce, bullying), but they are handled with care and respect. Must read/must buy.

Anything you did not like about the book? No; it’s amazing, which I have come to expect from Barbara Dee. She’s a middle grade genius!

To whom would you recommend this book? This one is for students who like to explore serious topics when they read. Readalikes include Where we Used to Roam by Jenn Bishop and The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner.

Who should buy this book? All elementary and middle school libraries plus public libraries! It’s perfect for grades 4+.

Where would you shelve it? Realistic fiction

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes!

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Laura Gardner, Dartmouth Middle School, Dartmouth

Date of review: August 20, 2021

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