Our LGBTQ+ Book Club pick a few months ago was Ramona Blue. It’s been on my shelf for a few months now and i had been very excited about getting around to it, luckily so was everyone at book club! I’ve also had Dumplin’ on my shelves for a while, maybe this was the push i need to read everything else Julie has written.
I’ll start off by saying i really, really enjoyed this book. I’ve toyed a lot between ratings and ways to tell people how much i actually liked this book. I didn’t ‘adore it’ i didn’t just ‘like’ it either. I definitely really enjoyed it. The story follows Ramona Blue and her family as they struggle to keep their heads above water in their trailer, filled with her dad, sister and now her sisters new boyfriend. Among all this, Ramona is dealing with the moving of her summer fling, and potentially liking boys when she thought she was a lesbian. There are certain things i definitely related to in this book. And overall, Ramona is probably one of the most relatable characters i’ve come across for myself.
For me, the sexuality aspect was very well written. It had the right amount of feeling like you stand out in a small place (i definitely did growing up) and having found those friends who love and support you without question of sexuality. I completely related to Ramona in this way, and it was nice not to see the homophobia focused on so much but Ramona just living her life.
Now, when Freddie is introduced and the focus shifts to Ramona worrying about liking a boy, this rang true to me in so many ways. In the last year, i started dating a boy, when before all i had dated was girls. I felt her panic and confusion so much, and the way she handled it was pretty much as i had done. I honestly felt like this book was written for me in this aspect. In all honesty, i probably panicked way more than Ramona did, but that’s a personal thing i guess.
I loved the characters in this, so much. The friendship group was wonderful, each person had their own personalities, although a little cliche – but it all worked. There were obviously a few characters that i didn’t completely click with, but i think that’s similar with any kind of book.
There were a few things that i disliked about this book, or more so things that niggled at me and stopped me giving it a full five stars. Although i loved the characters, the story and the fact that it covered so many bases (diversity, class, LGBTQ+), there were some off points that probably lacked a little knowledge for me. For example i didn’t see the relationship between Ramona and Hattie (her older sister) being so close for me. Hattie seemed frustrating and a lot younger than Ramona in parts. Some parts like this bothered me slightly, but it’s nothing that i’ll let spoil the excellent writing style, breezy story and wonderful insight in to the life of an LGBTQ+.
More than anything, I would want to say thank you to Julie Murphy for a character who i connect with on every single level, and for a book that has not only described my sexuality and the life i currently lead, but my fear of moving away, leaving people and pretty much everything else that Ramona goes through.