Monday 30 September 2013

Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar

Friday morning. I’m heading down to the break, feeling antsy because I slept in. I’d meant to surf early, but maybe it’s not such a bad thing. Getting there after nine means I’ll miss the pre-work crew. Instead, I’ll join the old boys, students and shift workers who have rearranged their lives to better suit their surfing.
Pages  - 280
Published by Catnip Publishing in August 2012
Goodreads Summary
Carly has dropped out of uni to spend her days surfing and her nights working as a cook in a Manly cafĂ©. 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?
It’s taken me a few weeks to get my head around writing this review. I was expecting to love this book to pieces. For ages everyone has told me that I must read Raw Blue as it was the best book they have ever read. So I was honestly expecting it to blow my mind. Unfortunately I didn’t get that feeling and still don’t get why everyone loved it so much. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy it and I gave it four stars as I felt it was extremely well written, with some heart wrenching characters. Yet it didn’t make me want to keep reading at all times. In fact it had the opposite effect, as the content often made me feel quite depressed and I had to swap over to  read something more lively. Perhaps you have to be in a certain frame of mind, to completely embrace this book.
I found the book a little slow to get into. The first few chapters didn’t feel like they were moving the story on and it took me a while to realise what was going on with Carly; why she acted and reacted the way she did.  I can understand the author wanted to show how Carly interacts with the world, so this pacing issue appears to be on purpose. Carly  had a very promising future and then suddenly she dropped out of her life completely. She was now existing in a robotic fashion, not allowing any of life to filter through to her.
As the book progresses, the people surrounding her begin to crack and pull down the wall she has built up around her. Loosening her hold on her emotion and feelings until the wall is knocked down completely and everything comes gushing out.
I felt angry for Carly. How could her own family and friends not see the change in her? How could they not realise that something was seriously wrong? It took a complete stranger to gain her confidence and  gently lead her out of the dark world she was living in.
Normally in a story like this, you would expect a really hot guy with absolutely no flaws to whip the battered protagonist off her feet; but there is no way you could describe Ryan as flawless. He has a past; a difficult one at that and if Carly really knew the truth to begin with, I would probably have  advised her to run the other way. However, Ryan shows he is mature enough to put his past behind him, intent on straightening his life out and he is prepared to build a life with Carly. He is sweet, gentle and very caring, refusing to let Carly walk away from  the tiny chance of happiness.
The story is very real and hard hitting at times. Issues that are raised will make you feel uncomfortable, but I do feel the author wrote about them in such a way that you didn’t feel overwhelmed by them. The writing feels grey and miserable in parts and you get a real sense of what it’s like for people who suffer with depression. This is very much a character driven plot  where we stand by and watch Carly take tentative steps back into the real world.
The book has a strong surfing theme, which I really enjoyed. I actually learnt quite a bit about surfing while reading it. The descriptions of the surf and the ocean easily transported you to the shores of Australia. Carly is drawn to Ryan through their passion of surfing – it is the bond that ties them together, helping Carly to smash through her past which holds her in a vice like grip.
I think you need to be in a certain frame of mind to get the best out of this book. You need to be prepared to be feel quite low at times as you accompany Carly through her emotional journey. If you enjoy  cross over, gritty and emotionally dark YA, then I would recommend this book to you.


  1. I've seen a lot of good reviews for Raw Blue as well so it's a shame you didn't like it as much as you'd hoped. Thanks for the review!

    1. It just wasn't for me I'm afraid, but others really enjoyed it.


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