Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Touch Blue

"Touch blue and your wish will come true."

Tess Brooks believes in luck. She stands on the pier waiting for her new foster brother, Aaron, to step off the ferry at Bethsaida island thinking about luck. Luck that Aaron will like her family. Luck that school won't be closed. But then she spots Aaron and his red hair that shines out of the crowd like a beacon. Her heart sags; everyone knows it's unlucky to ride a boat with a red-head.

This is the setup for the story where Aaron has to learn to live with his third foster family. He distrusts them when he hears that the islanders have taken on several foster kids to increase their numbers which will save the island's school from closing. Eben, the bully, blurts out this truth to Aaron in a malicious and mean-spirited way. When Aaron threatens to run away and find his birth Mom, Tess concocts a plan to get her to the island to hear Aaron play his trumpet in a talent show.

The writing in this novel is beautiful and succinct, drawing the senses into what it smells and feels like living in a fishing village on an island. The author does a marvelous job creating the setting.

The color blue symbolizes luck and freedom. Tess discovers that it isn't luck but letting others choose their destiny and giving them the freedom to do so is what matters. Aaron has no freedom and has been manipulated by the state and foster families since he was a young boy. No one seems to be working in his best interests and he is like the blue lobster that Tess has caught that swims in circles in the bucket searching for a way out that doesn't exist. His life has been a series of unlucky circumstances. He has to learn how to find happiness within. Just like Tess does. Tess figures this out at the climax when she tells Aaron  to be happy and to stay on the island only because he wants to and not to save the school. She also learns that even though she is disappointed with her best friend, Amy, who has not written much since moving off the island to the mainland, it doesn't mean that Tess can't write to her.

This story is rich and multi-layered. The use of music ties in with the theme as well as references to the main characters in The Great Gilly Hopkins and Anne of Green Gables. A fantastic book! Based on a true story, you can follow the links on the discussion guide.

Reading Level 3.6

:-) :-) :-) :-) :-) 5 Smileys

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