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Natalie is different from the other kids in Dreenie's fifth-grade class. She comes to school in a wheelchair. She always wears a knitted hat. And she's allowed to bring her puppy to class. The kids in the class call Natalie "Bluish" because her skin is tinted blue from chemotherapy.
Dreenie is fascinated by Bluish, and a little scared of her, too. She watches Bluish and writes about her in her journal. Slowly, the two girls become good friends. But Dreenie still struggles with Bluish's illness. Bluish is weak and frail, but she also wants to be independent. How do you act around a girl like that?
"Readers will come to cherish Dreenie's openheartedness, just as Dreenie comes to cherish her newfound friend." (Publishers Weekly)
"Hamilton gets the way kids talk....She makes us 'stop and look.' Many readers will be caught by the jumpy, edgy story of sorrow and hope, of kids trying to be friends." (Booklist)
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- E. Beckstrom
For context, I am a 55-year-old man and this story made me tear up and made me laugh, and I smiled throughout. It is beautifully written and beautifully read. It's written for elementary aged kids, though I think any adult with heart and a sense of humor will thoroughly enjoy it. The story centers on a 10 year old girl, several other girls who become her close friends, their classmates, their teacher, and to some extent their parents. The parents are peripheral, as the story focuses on the kids' friendships, loyalty, compassion, as well as healthy ways of dealing with fear and pain, and turning shock and uncertainty into kindness. As such, it's a surprisingly thematically dense story, though it does not come off that way at all. Bluish is full of good lessons for all, but is also very entertaining.