Devil and the Bluebird by Jennifer Mason-Black


Hardcover, 336 pages
Published May 17th 2016 by Amulet Books
Source: Library

  1. I didn’t specifically plan to read Devil and the Bluebird specifically for performing arts month.
  2. That was just a happy accident.
  3. Blue Riley’s sister runs away to make it big in her musical career and when months pass without any news from her, Blue decides she needs to make a deal with the devil.
  4. I don’t know how Blue’s mind works but this is a work of fiction so let’s suspend our disbelief.
  5. With her dead mother’s guitar slung over her shoulder, Blue waits at a crossroads for the devil.
  6. Who appears. And Blue says something, “I thought you’d be a man.”
  7. Heh. No lie, so did I. But the Devil is a woman in red (both the dress and the lipstick unless I’m remembering wrongly).
  8. Blue makes a deal. The Devil will help her find her sister (she has a deadline, two or three weeks, or something)…okay that’s a bit too positive. The Devil gives Blue’s boots some magic so they always point towards her sister or something like that. Here, read the synopsis:
    Blue Riley has wrestled with her own demons ever since the loss of her mother to cancer. But when she encounters a beautiful devil at her town crossroads, it’s her runaway sister’s soul she fights to save. The devil steals Blue’s voice—inherited from her musically gifted mother—in exchange for a single shot at finding Cass.Armed with her mother’s guitar, a knapsack of cherished mementos, and a pair of magical boots, Blue journeys west in search of her sister. When the devil changes the terms of their deal, Blue must reevaluate her understanding of good and evil and open herself to finding family in unexpected places.
  9. Okay. So there you have it, the synopsis.
  10. Devil and the Bluebird is a strange mix of magic and reality. The novel deals with really heavy themes like death and grief and human trafficking and bigots but it doesn’t try to swallow the sky by which I mean it isn’t didactic and explores the themes in its narrative instead of having expository asides for them.
  11. Wow, that didn’t make sense at all.
  12. Lack of sleep, sorry.
  13. I love how diverse this book is in various ways. Blue had two moms (though I don’t know if Blue would call her mother’s partner mom) and there is a section where Blue explores her relationship with Trish who meant so much to her but who disappeared when her mom got sick.
  14. There’s also a trans character that I absolutely love.
  15. Blue has a POC love interest and well…read the book to find out more.
  16. Blue goes on a hero’s journey to find her sister and ends up finding herself along the way.
  17. This would make a great movie, you know? One of those human dramas that make you feel hopeful in the end.
  18. As for the performance aspect of it, Devil and the Bluebird focuses on Blue’s eventual emergence form the cocoon she has wrapped herself tightly in.
  19. The magical aspects of the novel do not detract from the story. Rather they give the story a surreality that gives the narrative an extra, and welcome, depth.
  20. This is very much a crossover novel and adults will enjoy the layered and complex narrative that is largely character based.
  21. The plot is not the strongest part of the novel but when you have characters like Blue, Trish, and others, you can’t complain.
  22. I very much recommend Devil and the Bluebird.
  23. And oh yes, the devil herself is explored in some (though not complete) detail. I won’t say more.
  24. You should read this.

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