Tuesday, June 2, 2020

"The Truth According to Blue"

After training as an opera singer, Eve Yohalem moved into the literary world first as an editorial assistant, then as the publisher of a website, then as an author of two books for young readers. She lives in New York with her husband, their two children, and pets.

Yohalem applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, The Truth According to Blue, and reported the following:
Page 69 of The Truth According to Blue opens in the middle of a fight:
“I’m looking for the Golden Lion payroll. But you can’t help me.”

“Why not?”

“You don’t know anything about sailing or looking for wrecks.” Which was my nice way of saying You’ll get in my way and take all the credit.

“I learn fast.”

I could tell Jules wasn’t going to give in, but I held back from telling her about Pop Pop and the real reason I didn’t want her with me. It felt too private. “Why do you even want to come, anyway? It’s just lying on a rubber doughnut with your face in a bucket in the same patch of water, day after day after day.”

Jules crossed her arms in front of her chest. “Well, I’m obviously not here because of your thrilling company. Do I have to spell it out? You’re the only person I know, and even being with you is better than being with her.”

Which, when you think about it, could have been a gigantic compliment—being with me was better than being with Anna Bowdin, a famous movie star. Except that since Jules hated Anna with the molten blaze of a thousand volcanoes, it was actually a gigantic insult.”

“No,” I said. “You can’t come with me.”

Jules raised her eyebrows. “You really want me to tell my dad you refuse to hang out with me anymore?”
It turns out the test works! Page 69 gives readers a pretty good idea of what the book is about: Thirteen-year-old Blue Broen is hunting for sunken treasure as a tribute to her late grandfather. And Jules Buttersby, the spoiled daughter of a vacationing movie star, insists on tagging along. A few important details are missing, though. Like Blue’s beloved diabetic alert dog, Otis, who’s specially trained to smell changes in Blue’s blood sugar and who goes everywhere Blue goes. And the fact that the treasure hunt is a secret, even from Blue’s parents, and that a billionaire documentarian is hunting for the treasure too. Readers also don’t learn much about Jules here. Yes, she’s spoiled and manipulative and she hates her father’s girlfriend. But she’s also smart, loyal, and hardworking, and growing up in her father’s shadow isn’t easy. Eventually Blue and Jules realize they’re both looking for the same thing: a sense of self that’s separate from Blue’s disease and Jules’s famous parent. But that comes much later in the story. For now, they’re stuck with each other and not happy about it.
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--Marshal Zeringue