Violets Are Blue Book Review

Violets are Blue 
By Barbara Dee
Expected publication: September 28, 2021 by Aladdin

Barbara Dee is amazing. She's not a middle schooler. I'm not a middle schooler. And yet. And yet. Violets Are Blue captures the experience of a seventh grader struggling with her parents' divorce, a budding friendship with the perkiest girl in school, and a non-romance with a boy in her class. To deal with the stress, she throws herself into special-effects makeup, which she learns from a YouTuber.

I could not put this down. There have been a few exceptional middle grade/middle school books that I've read recently. It Doesn't Take a Genius is one. This is another. What sets it apart is how perfectly it handles tough issues of addiction and bullying. The isolation Wren experiences is highlighted without causing her to be a pitiable character. There is substance to her and nuance to her relationships. This is no generic middle grader whose parents split. And that is how Dee shines. Her honest and raw stories tell universal truths through very specific stories.

Violets Are Blue is hard to read, but also something you can't look away from. Knowing from the synopsis that Wren's mother is struggling with an opioid addiction, it was clear from the outset what was going on. It's also easy to see how Wren could shrug off her mother's behavior. Everything her mom says is plausible. Plus, Wren is in seventh grade. Old enough to be responsible, yes, but she isn't actually her mother's keeper. Spoiler alert: Her mom gets the help she needs and Wren's relationships with family and friends smooth out.

I recommend Violets Are Blue. Period.

Also by Barbara Dee:
My Life in the Fish Tank (mental health) 

Maybe He Just Likes You (sexual harrassment)

Note: A review copy was provided upon request for the purpose of this honest review.