Published by Amulet on May 17, 2016
Seven Years after losing her mother to cancer, Blue riley thinks she’s conquered her personal demons. Then she encounters a beautiful stranger who offers Blue her heart’s desire: the chance to find her missing sister. The devil at the crossroads steals Blue’s voice—a legacy from her musically gifted mother—and leaves her with just six months to locate Cass and save both of their souls.
Blue sets off across the country with only her mother’s guitar and a pair of magical boots to guide her. Along the way she navigates chance encounters that force her to reevaluate her understanding of good and evil. And when the devil changes the terms of the deal, Blue must open her self to finding family in unexpected places.
Blue Riley’s sister Cass made a deal with the devil and now Blue has too—if she wins she gets to keep her soul and Cass does too. But the trick is she has to find Cass, who ran away two years ago, with nothing more than magic boots, which are less than forthcoming. Blue has been abandoned by all she loves: her mother to cancer, her mother’s partner, who helped raise her, when cancer came, and then Cass. The adventure Blue embarks on is more than slightly insane. There are more dangers than any parent would want their daughter to encounter, but there are also more kindnesses than expected. In her journey Blue nearly loses herself, but instead finds a new kind of family and a new kind of confidence.
Jennifer Mason-Black knows what she’s doing. This is a beautifully written book with an interesting, complicated, enjoyable story full of complex relationships and diverse people. Very little is black and white and it pushes you to reexamine your expectations. There is a nice folklore vibe running through it and lovely theme of loving people just how they are. If her brush strokes get a little heavy sometimes it’s forgivable from someone who’s prose is so poetic.
“I thought you’d be a man.” The words limped out, tiny and lifeless. She cleared her throat and tried again. “If, you know, you’re who I’m looking for.”
So close now that she could feel the woman’s breath hot on the side of her face. “Oh, I’m the one you’re looking for. Question is, should you be, Blue Riley?”
The woman’s hand moved to the neck of the guitar perched above Blue’s shoulder. She could feel the wood begin to heat under the stranger’s touch. More than heat—it vibrated, as if it were ready to play on its own.
The woman sighed. “She’s been in more hands than yours Bluebird.”
It wasn’t the wind that brought tears to her eyes. “That’s private, that name.”
“There’s nothing private when you wait for me at midnight at the crossroads, little girl. Your history isn’t more than a speck of dust on the here road. Can you play?”