Author: Kirsty Eagar
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
Published: June 29, 2009
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Source: Tour/Bibliophile Brouhaha
Carly has dropped out of uni to spend her days surfing and her nights working as a cook in a Manly café. Surfing is the one thing she loves doing ... and the only thing that helps her stop thinking about what happened two years ago.
Then she meets Ryan and Carly has to decide ... Will she let the past bury her? Or can she let go of her anger and shame, and find the courage to be happy?
Carly believes that if there's a black sheep in her family, she fits the bill. She followed her family's path until she decided to do something fun one night and everything changed. She lost the love of her father, lost her faith in herself and found her feet ripped out from under her with one horrific act that haunts her every day. She hides from reality in a bubble of surfing and cooking, but she knows the darkness of her past is lurking under the surface, just waiting to leer its ugly head. And above all else, there's a chance she might be falling for Ryan, but can she put the past behind her and learn to love herself and find the faith to trust again?
Remember how I said contemporary fiction wasn't my thing? After reading Raw Blue, I can honestly say that this is the epitome of what the genre should be. I've read a lot of books, but Raw Blue is in a league of its own. Raw and real, Kirsty Eagar bottled heartache and let it spill over into the pages of her book, letting the words spin a story that's mesmerizing, heartbreaking and wholeheartedly touching. Raw Blue is definitely a tearjerker, but not in the melodramatic way where the girl is trying to decide between two boys or find the perfect summer love. It's the story of an internal struggle that becomes external as the main character, Carly, tries to piece her life back together.
At first, I had no idea what happened to Carly, so while I could relate to her confusion and self-induced isolation, I wasn't sure I could put myself in her shoes. I could, however, feel her peace that she feels with the ocean, which definitely made Raw Blue that much more real for me. Carly doesn't know who did those things to her that night, but she does remember what happened, and so she built armour around herself. Ryan isn't your glittering love interest, but he's solid, and real and he has a past of his own. The fact that he was flawed and wanted to know Carly on her terms made him the ultimate YA love interest. Raw Blue delicately walked a fine line between character and plot-driven, and it did it well. It was equal parts, and it led to an ending that was fitting, but made me long for more.
I've heard a lot of good things about Raw Blue, but it's so much better to have read it myself. I give it a firm 5 out of 5, hands down, and I have to say it's probably the best contemporary fiction I've ever read. I would recommend this to all fans of YA, as well as adult readers, especially those who enjoy the contemporary genre.