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Fade to BlueReview - Fade to Blue
by Sean Beaudoin
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2009
Review by Natalie Kelley-Wilson
Oct 26th 2010 (Volume 14, Issue 43)

Entertainment is pretty much the whole purpose of this work.  There are various themes which seem to be a mixture of Geek and Gothic genres, and the work combines regular fiction with comic book fiction, but though the story is complicated and explores the main character's paranoia, it doesn't seem to be trying explore the themes in any sort of depth. The story has all the ingredients for entertainment though, with a story that combines science fiction and mystery elements and uses some entertaining word play.

Young adults with an interest in Geek culture (references to binary, programming and virtual reality), Gothic fiction (dark character struggling with paranoid issues), science fiction and graphic novels are the primary audience for this work. The audience needs to be discerning enough to follow a complicated and convoluted plot wherein the sanity of the main character is questionable throughout the majority of the work. Older teens will probably enjoy this work the most.

The book is written with simple language but complicated themes that don't all seem to make sense. Some of the wordplay used seems to be clever in a juvenile way; for example the coach who harasses the main character is named "Coach Dhushbak". The adults are either complicit in the main character's problems and rightful cause for her paranoia, or useless to come to her aid. There is a recurring theme of popsicles and an ice cream truck, but it doesn't seem to mean anything except to work as a construct to hint at the connection between two characters who seem to be otherwise unrelated.

Though it was a quick read, I found myself wondering what exactly the point of it was. The idea of virtual reality is always interesting, however Tad Williams' Otherland series and Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash do a much better job of exploring the idea. The use of a graphic novel section within the novel is unique and interesting, but that section seemed complicated and unclear, and didn't seem to add that much to the work as a whole. The idea behind the story is interesting, and it certainly does get the reader thinking. I for one was wondering what in the world could be going on for most of the book! It is difficult to tell what is the real world and what is the virtual world for many parts of the book.  The ending of the book seemed a little weak. I think it was intended to be thought-provoking and the method could be successful with a better explored plot; perhaps the author intends to write a sequel? It is possible that I was not "discerning enough to follow a complicated and convoluted plot",  but I prefer to believe that the plot was simply very confusing. That said, I don't think it was a bad book by any means. I simply believe that I might be too old and not "Geeky" or "Gothic" enough to fit the intended audience.

 

© 2010 Natalie Kelley-Wilson

 

Natalie Kelley-Wilson graduated from Allegheny College with a BA in English Lit. and from Clarion University with a Masters in Library Science. Currently she works at her town's public library and the county historical society. Email: nataliekelleywilson82@gmail.com


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