Title: Beautiful Blue World
Author: Suzanne LaFleur
Published by: Wendy Lamb Books (2016)
My Rating: ★★★★★
Summary from Goodreads:
Sofarende is at war. For twelve-year-old Mathilde, it means food shortages, feuding neighbors, and bombings. Even so, as long as she and her best friend, Megs, are together, they'll be all right.
But the army is recruiting children, and paying families well for their service. If Megs takes the test, Mathilde knows she will pass. Megs hopes the army is the way to save her family. Mathilde fears it might separate them forever.
A reimagining of war, where even kindness can be a weapon, and children have the power to see what adults cannot.
What is there to say about this book? It was breathtaking. The relationships and characterization were absolutely phenomenal, rich, deep, and full of life and animation. Mathilde was such a great character to lead this book, Megs a great companion and all the others great tag-alongs. *MINOR SPOILERS*
Cons: I didn’t like how the story tied together. It ended well and all—actually the ending was pretty awesome—but the story as a whole didn’t match up one hundred percent. Maybe this is just something I’m not seeing, but it seemed like the book was divided into two sections—part one, which focused on everything in the blurb: war, friendship, love, etc; and then part two, which was completely unexpected and almost unrelated to anything in the previous part. None of the friendship themes really were completely transferred into the second part; it seemed like two individual plots merged together. Yes, they flowed together well, but I can’t say it wasn’t choppy at times. Now understand I am saying this from an objective point of view; I loved the book and both parts whether choppy or not, but coming from an objective standpoint it didn’t work as well.
And again, it’s also very likely once the second book comes out this will all make a lot more sense. Essentially I didn’t understand how all the plotline in the second half fit into the plotline of the first half. The ending was awesome, though. Cleverly done, clear and concise but also super cliffhangery. I’m satisfied, but I’d also take more.
Pros: Putting aside the two-halfs dilemma, I loved each part in its own way. Megs’ and Mathilde’s friendship was beautiful. So beautiful. I don’t usually cry easily over books, but Beautiful Blue World had me shedding beautiful blue tears.
The second half of the book, which was provoked from a twist I certainly didn’t see coming, took on its own story, plot, and shape. Putting aside the fact the idea, to me, lacked tangible orginality—personally it reminded me too much of The Ability, though I doubt it was intentional—and the fact it didn’t line up with the first half, I did like the things portrayed during this part of the book.
I’ve said a lot about different halves and parts, and I'm till trying to grasp what was off about them to put into words because they both were beautiful, but together it was—mismatched. I think this could have been avoided by lengthening the book; draw this book out a little more and it works wonderfully. It was just a bit too short to fully envelop all the concepts. I guess the main thing that bugged me was that the blurb was so misleading. It got me thinking the whole story would be about friendship when really the blurb could summarize about the first fifty pages and that’s it. The rest was scattered and totally different. So my assumptions and expectations were set at the wrong level. Not at a higher or lower, because quality-wise this book met my standards.
Also I want to know what the whole sub-idea of “It’s easy to love those you care about, but not so easy to love those you don’t know” was exactly portraying. It’s a great theme, but putting it with this book makes it look like the whole friendship between Megs and Mathilde is meaningless because Mathilde should have been caring about others. It’s supposed to be a heartfelt novel about friendship power, not about how said friendship shouldn’t have such power. I was very confused.
Bottom line, I wish this novel could have had more length to develop these key aspects.
All things aside, I did absolutely love this novel. Just because I love it so much is why I want to know why I love it, and what I don’t about it, and that’s where these cons came from. I wanted to objectively analyze this book and this is what I came up with; however, don’t let that make you think I didn’t like it. I LOVED THIS BOOK TO TEARS. I’ll definitely be re-reading it soon to see if I can find answers to these questions I have. I’d definitely recommend it.
Side note: I hated the line about no such thing as heaven. I get what it’s supposed to be saying, but it was unnecessary.