Shades of Blue by Joyce Scarbrough
Publisher: Blue Attitude Books
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (200 pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3 Stars
Review by: Astilbe
JoJo and Sam have been best friends since he moved in next door when they were five years old. JoJo has always liked the ways Sam is different from other boys, but now that they’re both 14, he’s changing in ways she’s not so sure she likes. Just when she thinks she’s getting used to his new muscles and the way other girls are looking at him, she sees the bruises on his back and knows his step-father is beating him. JoJo tries to get Sam to leave, but he says he can’t desert his mom and step-sister. He makes JoJo promise not to tell anyone or he’ll be sent away to live with his grandmother in Tennessee. When Sam’s mom witnesses the abuse for herself, she finally stops drinking and stands up for all of them, but that’s when Sam’s step-father turns deadly.
Not everyone is lucky enough to grow up in a happy and safe home.
The character development was strong overall, especially when it came to JoJo. She grew and changed in all kinds of unexpected ways. What I found most interesting about her is how she reacted to the often painful and difficult things that gave her the opportunity to evolve as a person. I learned a lot about her personality based on how she reacted to these situations, and it was thrilling to see how realistically and maturely she handled it all.
While I was a big fan of the beginning and middle of this book, the ending left something to be desired. A few of the characters made choices in those scenes that didn’t seem to fit with what I’d learned about their habits and personalities earlier on. I was curious to know why they acted the way they did, but the narrator never gave me satisfactory answers to my questions. Had this happened, I would have picked a much higher rating as I loved the premise of it and how everything had all unfolded up until that point.
One of the things I liked the most about the romance in this tale was how slowly and cautiously it developed. This was absolutely the right decision for the author to make due to how many serious issues the characters involved in it were currently dealing with. I enjoyed seeing how their relationship unfolded and rooted for the characters to end up together. They seemed like they’d make a great match because of how much they had in common and how well they got along together as friends.
I’d recommend Shades of Blue to anyone who is in the mood for a story about the tough stuff in life.