Friday, March 18, 2011

BR: Raw Blue

by Kirsty Eagar

Book of the Month for March :)

Despite being in possession of excellent procrastination skills, I knew there was no way I could put off writing this review because I desperately wanted to convey that resonating echo that’s still swirling around in my brain— the feeling that Raw Blue gave me.

Summary (goodreads):

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. Then she meets Ryan and 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?

My Expectations: I've seen it on numerous Aussi best-of lists, and with a subject matter that's so 'my style', I fully expected to love it.
Delivery: Oh gosh, LOVED IT! And I'm so happy about this.
Put-down-ability: 1/10, I was only gonna read a few chapters then go do schoolwork... I read the whole book.

My Thoughts

Raw Blue was amazing. I’m not even sure to start off this review, but how about just saying that it is So. Australian. Which is just cruel because it makes me want to go to Australia SO BAD and watch hot boys surf. The diction and slang is so lovely and different, but it doesn’t end there. The descriptions of the waves and the breaks were exquisite and might I also add: the surf culture in this novel is excitingly awesome.

This novel is an example of a perfectly executed character-driven story. Carly is a rape survivor, there really isn’t a euphemism for that. She’s broken and fragile, and spends her days surfing and cooking and little else, scared of the world and hating people. Her narration easily drew me into her lonely world, yet the way she juxtaposed the darkness with the beauty of the waves kept me from sinking into despair. Her innate strength isn’t obvious at the beginning, but what I loved most was her subtle growth and development throughout the novel. It wasn’t boom-realization-instant-change, it was small things and small actions that built up, without you even realizing it. Carly’s characterization is the biggest strength of Raw Blue, and I couldn’t help but fall completely in love with her.

Eagar manages to keep Carly’s voice raw and honest, which quite frankly is always preferable in my mind. The author doesn’t shelter us from Carly’s pain and emotional turmoil, but the feelings are also not overdone; everything is balanced. The writing in the novel is extremely strong as Eagar writes with a defined, confident, and haunting style.

And of course, how can I not talk about Ryan? This is a boy worthy of a thousand swoons, he has his moments yes, he’s kinda realistic. There isn’t an instant smouldering connection between him and Carly, but rather a simple curiosity that blossoms into something else. I adored the fact that Ryan wasn’t the most eloquent with words, yet when he says something like “how good is this” my heart just melts. *sigh* And he’s all mine* ;-)

As Carly’s voice carries a raw energy, Eagar’s secondary characters bring colour and sparkle. Seriously, they are gorgeously well-rounded; from the d-bag Shane and the old crows at the break, to the quirky, Dutch, salsa-dancing roommate… Marty, Emilio, the crew at the Café…. and of course, Danny, the precious boy with synaesthesia (he relates things to colours) who was my third favourite character… Danny, you rock. I wish I could just squeeze him. I adored Carly’s endearing friendship with the younger boy.

Raw Blue is on the mature side of the YA spectrum, but don’t let this fact stop you from giving it a go. It truly is a powerful and intensely beautiful story of a girl, set on the crystalline beaches of Australia.

Rating in HP Terms: Outstanding!
Recommended for: People who like good books, contemporary fans, fans of gritty novels.
Acknowledgements: 3/5

9.2/10 – because It. Was. Fantastic. The writing, characters, plot, setting, imagery… everything was pure gold and why this isn’t published in North America yet is beyond me. If you ever get a chance, don’t miss out on this one, it is gourmet.

Lastly, if this review (or these other ones from Bibliophile Brouhaha, Forever Young Adult, and Steph Su ) doesn’t convince you, let me try one more time. There are hot surfer boys. There. Sold, eh?

PS- Melina Marchetta mentioned at as a favourite of hers in 2009... need any more incentive?

*isn’t it obvious in a 4-way fight between Linds, Nic, Missie, and me… I’m the winner? Always? xD

source: blog tour from Linds at bibliophile brouhaha, thank you!!!

Raw Blue is released only in e-book format in North America, let's help change this by spreading the word.


  1. Great review! Raw Blue's been on my TBR list for ages - probably time to bump it up some.

    Also? I live in Australia and have NEVER seen a hot boy surfing. I really need to rectify that...:P

  2. Skye.. that is a TRAVESTY! and it kind of shatters my poor delusions about Australia a bit.. xD hahaha thanks for the comment :)

  3. I totally agree with this review! Raw Blue was AMAZING and I am so confused as to why it hasn't been picked up in international markets, as well.

    Maybe the voice is too Australian (I loved the whole Sydney vibe, but that might be because I live here/could be inaccessible to some segments of international readers?).

    Either way, this book is so fantastic, and so is this review :D

  4. LOL! Nu-uh I would SO win that fight mate ~runs off with Ryan~

    Brilliant review! I am so glad you loved this novel. To me it is reading perfection. I constantly pick it up and re-read my favourite parts.

    As to seeing hot guys surfing in Australia. I must say I have seen quite a few in my time. Have you booked your flight yet? xD

  5. DUDE you have so won me over with your awesome review!!

  6. This review. JUST. ARGH> It rocks! I am SO pumped that Linds organised the book tour and that everyone loves it as much as the Aussies.

    "This is a boy worthy of a thousand swoons" I KNOW I KNOW!!!!

  7. Skye! No hot surfer boys!??? I am coming over there to see for myself! :P
    Can't wait to read this, Audrey.

  8. Vee- Yes yes yes! I actually adored the Australian tone to it all, but I can see some international pubs having skeptism... :( Thankss :)

    Nic- hahahah..... not gonna happen! Thank you! And OMG, my hopes are restored!!! I will be on the NEXT FLIGHT THERE.... *licks lips in a non-creepy manner8*... who am I kiddin #IamSuchACreeper

    Aly- YAYYYY :)

    Nomes- I know! She's just so amazing, I'm so glad I got a chance to read it :) ANd YESYESYES! Ryan <3

    Yahong- LOL We should go to Australia together and swoon at hot surfer boys... :p

  9. Honestly this doesn't seem like the kind of book that would appeal to me at first glance, but what an excellent review!!! I really want to give it a try now =)

  10. oh my gosh, Audrey - I am THRILLED that you connected with this book! I adore this book, and I am so happy you are helping spread the word about it! Wonderful review - I will link to it on my Raw Blue page very soon!

  11. ***Actually, Ryan is mine, mate.

    I'm loving this review Audrey. You have brought the story back to life for me. And, I'm thinking I need to own a copy.

    "Carly’s characterization is the biggest strength of Raw Blue" <--- I completely agree with this %100. It still amazes me how much I wanted to dive into the book and fight off everyone who even dared to look at Carly the wrong way. And Danny... so so precious.

    And Ryan! *melts*

    I've never wanted to move to Australia as bad as I did after reading BR.

  12. I would never have given this book a second glance after reading the description, but now I think I need to add this to my want list! You're review of it was great. I've never read an Australian book before, and know I'm kinda wondering why I haven't! I LOVE their accents.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and following! :)

    I really liked Glimmerglass, and I hear the second one is better (I feel like Glimmerglass needs a little bit more to it, so I hope so!). Have you read the Fever series by Karen Moning? So good! It's not young adult, and there are some pretty sexual scenes, but I loved that series!


  13. this sounds really awesome!! i hadn't seen it before!

  14. can always use some good eye candy even If I have to imagine them from a description. Thanks for the review.

    visiting via bookblogs.


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