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Twice-Lived Summer of Bluebell Jones Paperback – 2 Aug 2012
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Right from the very first page as we are introduced to Bluebell Jones, I was immediately drawn into the story. It's Bluebell's 13th birthday, and she's rushing through a fairground, holding her birthday cake. And as she passes she witnesses this absolutely tragic, life-changing event. And this book is all about choices, starting with this first huge choice of whether or not Bluebell will allow her fear and the emotion of witnessing this event change her, make her afraid and less confident.
Things get complicated on a completely different level when, while blowing out her birthday candles, Bluebell makes a wish and before her, her future self appears in the form of beautiful, confident, older Red. Who seems to know just what Bluebell should say and do in order for this summer to be the best ever. She gives her the inside information on a cool crowd of teenagers who become her close circle of friends. But things aren't always as they seem. What wish did Red make to end up reliving a summer she's already known?
I love how this book manages to deal with so many things in such a short period of time. I loved the importance of family and friendship in this novel. Blue makes some lovely friends in Fozzie and Dan and especially Merlin, the mysterious magician. But she also has this amazing family, with an older sister and parents who are loveable and supportive (with excellent taste in music!)
But it's also about Bluebell's journey to being confident and taking chances. I loved seeing her breaking out of her shell as the presence of Red seems to make things easier for Blue to do things she wouldn't normally. I loved the subtle message about being comfortable with who you are and knowing what's important in your life.
This book is utterly wonderful. I finished it past my bedtime, and just lay there, with tears trickling down my face remembering the odd beauty of the words I'd just read and wanting to hold onto the feelings that came with reading this book for as long as possible. Now, even days after finishing it, my mind will sometimes wonder back to Bluebell's story and tears will come to my eyes. I really can't recommend this book enough.
The Twice-Lived Summer of Bluebell Jones contains all the heart, humour and huggable characters of Susie Day's other books, but it also has a darker edge. It becomes gradually obvious that Red is keeping a secret from Blue, and that it's something serious. The suspense builds up as the story unfolds, to the point where I found this book impossible to put down and I read it all in one sitting. Towards the end, I was biting my nails, and the final pages... oh, they took my breath away!
The relationships in the book, both old and new, are wonderful. Blue has a great and loving family, and I particularly enjoyed reading about her parents' band and her confident sister Tiger, who represents for Blue everything a teenager is supposed to be. There's great humour too, for example in Blue's wry observations about the Bluebell-themed presents she gets every year. I loved seeing Blue make friends with her summer gang, especially the fun Fozzie and the mysterious Merlin. The resort of Penkerry also deserves an honourable mention. It really comes to life as a Welsh seaside town.
The Twice-Lived Summer of Bluebell Jones is brilliantly told, fantastically thought-provoking and perfectly heart-breaking.
...one...two... one ...two...
I can hear it all now.
Susie Day captures it all, those endless sunny evenings, that feeling that life goes on forever...
And for Bluebell it does; she lives so totally in the moment that she even fails to ask her new found 'friend' the wish girl, Red, exactly why she is there, exactly how come all this is happening. Prehaps she should have.
I'm not going to tell you more. If you want to find out you'll have to read it.
And when you do it'll be a story you will never forget.
The Twice-Lived Summer of Bluebell Jones is a superb book, beautifully crafted and laced with wonderful humour. The characters are unforgettable - Blue's pregnant drummer Mum, her firecracker older sister Tiger, Merlin the top-hatted boy... There's a vibrancy, warmth and originality that I loved.
It's an intelligent and emotional read from page one, a book about living life that stays with you long, long after the story is finished, and its powerful conclusion has to be THE ABSOLUTELY BEST book ending I've read all year!
Most recent customer reviews
I loved this book especially the ending. I read it whilst I was on holiday and found it a very feel good book with a fantastic...Read more