March 7, 2014

Title: The Blue-Haired Boy

Companion: Short story prequel to Faking Normal

Author: Courtney C. Stevens ♥ @Quartland

Published: March 4, 2013

Publisher: HarperTEEN Impulse

Pages: 71

Genre(s): Young Adult ♥ Contemporary

Source: purchased

Summary from Goodreads: Set before the events of Courtney C. Stevens’s debut novel, Faking Normal, this digital short story focuses on Bodee Lennox, otherwise known as the Kool-Aid Kid.

Bodee Lennox has secrets. About where he got the four-inch scar on his leg. About the bruises on his back. About what it’s really like to live in the Lennox household. These are things he doesn’t share with anyone . . . until he meets Gerry, a girl with bright-green hair and a smile the size of Alaska. When Gerry falls out of a bus in Rickman, Tennessee, and lands at Bodee’s feet, she gives Bodee two things he desperately needs: a friend and a chance to leave Rickman behind, even if it’s just for a few hours.

He joins Gerry on her epic bus trip for as far as his money will take him. And by the end of the day, more of Bodee has changed than just the color of his hair.

Average Goodreads Rating (as of 03/06/2014): 4.44

  • Christina thought this was the perfect glimpse inside Bodee’s head. It goes on her Top Shelf!

Initial Thoughts & Rating:
All the stars! I want to crawl inside this book and cuddle the author’s pretty words and broken characters. I just want to scoop everyone up and carry them around in my pocket for safe keeping. I need more books from Courtney, and just as soon as I can get my hands on them.

She can’t hear the jackhammers pounding on the cement of my quiet personality or the chains of fear breaking in my head, but I can. This is my chance to change. Gerry is a girl who can face-plant and come up laughing, and I’m a guy who needs a how-to manual on that.

Dad’ll kill me if he finds out.

But I’ll die here if I don’t go.
~
quote taken from the ebook of The Blue-Haired Boy, pg. 12

♥ My Thoughts: The Blue-haired Boy is a prequel to one of my favorite reads of 2013, Faking Normal (you can see my 5-star review of it here), though it was only recently published on February 25, 2014. This short story is told through the POV of Bodee Lennox, who we know as the Koolaid Kid from Faking Normal, that helps Alexi Littrell through a very difficult time in her life as he works out his own issues. But this particular book is his story before Lex really knew he existed; about he learned to do his own brave thing that put him on the path to being the beautifully broken, yet strong hero we needed him to be for her. For him, that journey all starts with a purchased bus ticket out of Rickman, Tennessee and a seat beside a girl named Gerry, whose hair is the color of Mountain Dew and has a smile the size of Alaska.

I can’t imagine it’s an easy task to pack a fifty-four page book with as much emotion as Courtney Stevens did with The Blue-Haired Boy. Perhaps I was able to automatically feel so much for Bodee because I already knew a majority of his story from Faking Normal, but I don’t think that’s the only reason. Stevens has a given talent for interweaving dialogue and character interactions and turn of phrases so that they reach right inside your chest and give your heart a vigorous tug. Words as beautiful as hers have the power to strengthen you and break your heart simultaneously. It’s a gorgeous sort of pain.

Finally. Gerry leans back to look at me. “You’re maybe… the perfect guy. If only I were straight.”

Straight or not, I am the least perfect guy. She stops me from shaking my head. Physically stops me.

“No. I mean it,” she says. “You are the guy who gets on buses to figure things out. You listen more than you talk. You… you hold on to broken girls after everyone else lets go.” She flares her nostrils and adds, “In a bus bathroom. That says something about you. And I think someday that’s going to make all the difference.”

“To me or to someone else?” I ask.

Gerry smiles. “Both.”

But more than the strong feelings this short story awoke in me, I appreciated the opportunity to discover how Bodee came to be the Koolaid Kid and the girl that made it possible. Surprisingly enough, I felt like I had a pretty firm grasp on who Gerry was, how she hid the loss of her love behind crazy antics like traveling across the country on a bus, writing postcards to someone that’s no longer alive, and dyeing her hair crazy colors because it helped her express the emotions she kept locked inside her heart. I like how she got Bodee, but still made him talk because she felt like it was something he needed to do even though she was a complete stranger. My only real complaint (and it’s not a complaint at all, not really) is that this short story was over way too soon. I wanted more time with this girl whose beliefs in love made me question my own. I wanted more time to know her and Lewis. I wanted to read more of her influencing Bodee with her positive approach to life because of full spirit and captivating energy. I wouldn’t be opposed at all to Gerry having her own book. (HINT HINT!)

 Rec it? Yes. I’m not sure it would be something everyone would love without the full understanding of Bodee’s circumstances in Faking Normal, but this was perfect to me. I’m so thankful for this brief glimpse inside his head and the hints we got about how things came to be in the next leg of his journey that lead to Lex. I still want to keep him in my pocket.

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