About the book
Raw Blue is a stand-alone contemporary YA novel by Australian author Kirsty Eagar. It was published by Catnip on 1st August and the book is 288 pages long.
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 at schoolies week.
And then Carly meets Ryan, a local at the break, fresh out of jail. When Ryan learns the truth, 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?
(Taken from Goodreads.com)
What I thought
Reading this book came from a strong recommendation that I couldn't ignore. I had heard great things about this book and I couldn't wait to read it. So, the synopsis from Goodreads is slightly confusing as it uses Australian lingo but basically, Carly goes off to uni, something bad happens and then she runs away to live elsewhere to try to escape her problems. From the synopsis, this is a book that doesn't actually sound that amazing. In fact, I probably wouldn't have read it if I hadn't been told how good it was.
Something that I really loved about this book was how real Carly's life was. Although she is struggling with things that happened in the past, she has to get on with life no matter how she is feeling. She has a job and has to go to work even when she doesn't want to as she is supporting herself and has rent and bills to pay. I could relate to Carly in this way as I know what it feels like to go through something so bad but have to get on with life anyway. I could understand how she was feeling about not wanting to get up and do things sometimes and I could sympathise with her because she had to do these things anyway.
Another thing that I loved about Carly was her passion for surfing. This comes across in a really strong way straight away in this book and while it may seem stereotypical or clichéd for us reading this book over here in the UK, it does give an interesting insight into the Australian way of life. I get so bored of reading books set in America so this change of scenery was really refreshing and interesting for me. I loved all of the surfing talk and the new and different words that I had never heard before. I did have to re-read a few lines throughout the book now and again though because of this but I didn't mind that at all.
In the middle of Carly trying to get on with her life, Ryan turns up. He's fresh out of jail and a bit older than Carly but the two have surfing in common and something throws the two of them together. While Carly and Ryan get to know each other, things that bother Carly are brought into the forefront of the story and we get to really see how she feels. She can't tell Ryan about her problems straight off, even though he is more than honest with her about being to prison and what it was for. Their relationship is real and wonderful to read about as Ryan is able to slowly wear down Carly's guards which she works so hard to keep up. Slowly, another side of Carly came to the surface and she became a new and different person.
There are some very serious issues brought up in Raw Blue which are very hard hitting. However, the issues raised are done in a very respectful and not over the top way. I don't want to say what these things are as it gives away a large amount of the plot but I was pleased with the way in which the subject was approached. Nothing ever seemed intrusive or out of place and certain parts of this book were beautifully written. The whole plot touched me and made this a book that I will remember for a long time. No wonder it was so highly recommended!!