Violets Are Blue

violets are blue barbara dee

Being twelve really shouldn't be this hard.

Parents fighting - father leaves.    Queen bee bully girl at school declares you are toxic and no one in the entire seventh grade will be your friend.  Kinda lonely that.  Mom has to leave her job and now they are moving to a whole new life.  Dad is remarrying the woman he met at a conference and they are expecting twins.

That's where twelve-year old Wren is when she starts over at a new school.  One thing hasn't changed though and that's watching Cat FX makeup videos.  Cat FX doesn't do routine make up.  She does special effects and Wren loves it.  She practices and escapes into another world of pigment and foundation and eyeliner. It's amazing how you can transform your world with a little make up magic.

Turns out this school is different.  Wren makes a friend, Poppy, and Poppy talks Wren into joining the tech crew for the school play.  Wren can do makeup for the cast.  And there's a boy... a boy named Kai...who doesn't have many friends.  Wren remembers being the pariah at the old school so she does her best to be friendly to Kai when he talks to her.  But does he want something more?

Every girl needs her mom.  Every seventh grade girl has ups and downs with friends and wonders about having a crush or not having a crush.  Wren's mom works really long hours at the hospital.  Wren's mom stops leaving notes.  Wren's mom isn't showing up for work.

Really, twelve shouldn't be this hard.  But for Wren and plenty of other kids it is just that hard.  So come along with Wren and watch her find her way.  Come along with Wren and see if you can pick up the clues.  Come along with Wren when twelve just gets to be harder than it should ever be.

From the bird's eye view of a twelve year old girl, Wren, this is a challenging story that offers a glimpse into opioid addiction, trust, family, dysfunctional parents, and kids who are trying to figure out who they are, what they want to be and how to navigate the world of middle school friendships and relationships.  Nothing easy about that.

A slow spiral down into pain. Wrenching.

304 pages                                978-1534469181                        Ages 9-13

Keywords:  middle school, girls and women, dysfunctional family, drug abuse, opioid addiction, mother/daughter, trust, finding yourself, identity, Comic Con, relationships, 9 year old, 10 year old, 11 year old, 12 year old, 13 year old

Recommended by: Barb Langridge,


From the author of the acclaimed My Life in the Fish Tank and Maybe He Just Likes You comes a moving and relatable middle grade novel about secrets, family, and the power of forgiveness.

Twelve-year-old Wren loves makeup—special effect makeup, to be exact. When she is experimenting with new looks, Wren can create a different version of herself. A girl who isn’t in a sort-of-best friendship with someone who seems like she hates her. A girl whose parents aren’t divorced and doesn’t have to learn to like her new stepmom.

So, when Wren and her mom move to a new town for a fresh start, she is cautiously optimistic. And things seem to fall into place when Wren meets potential friends and gets selected as the makeup artist for her school’s upcoming production of Wicked.

Only, Wren’s mom isn’t doing so well. She’s taking a lot of naps, starts snapping at Wren for no reason, and always seems to be sick. And what’s worse, Wren keeps getting hints that things aren’t going well at her new job at the hospital, where her mom is a nurse. And after an opening night disaster leads to a heartbreaking discovery, Wren realizes that her mother has a serious problem—a problem that can’t be wiped away or covered up.

After all the progress she’s made, can Wren start over again with her devastating new normal? And will she ever be able to heal the broken trust with her mom?---from the publisher



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