The Blue Girl by Charles de Lint

Just finished reading Charles de Lint’s Blue Girl.  A story of Imogene who has recently moved to Newford with her mother and brother Jared.  Imogene has decided to reinvent herself anew.  No more running wild or courting the attention of local gangs!  She’s going to study, make friends, attend school and keep a low profile – well as low as you can keep when your taste runs to thrift shop punk!

As we all know, the best laid plans, etc, etc.  Imogene is not going to be able to keep off the radar of the local bullies – unfortunately she is also going to be unable to keep off the radar of the local gang of mischievous and sometimes malevolent fairies and unfortunately their notice is going to attract the attention of something much more dangerous.

I’ve been wanting to read some Charles de Lint for a while now – he seems to be one of these revered authors and as far as I can tell has done wonders for the world of urban fantasy.  He’s based quite a few stories in the make believe town of Newford, the Blue Girl being one of his more recent creations and an instalment suitable for the YA market.  (And for the purpose of clarity – no bad language, over the top violence or graphic sex).

This is a lovely book to read.  It’s told from the different point of view of three individuals.  Imogene, her smart but geeky, newly acquired, best friend Maxine and Adrian – the school’s resident ghost.  I don’t think there’s anything particularly new or remarkably original about these three characters.  We’ve certainly seen the punk outcast in similar novels not to mention geeky kids getting bullied in high school, even Adrian isn’t exactly a new concept, but they make for very easy reading and are well written.  I couldn’t help liking Imogene. I liked her sense of individuality.  She has courage in the face of scary things that lurk in the shadows and she’s not afraid to stand up to the school bullies.  At first you could be forgiven for thinking that her and Maxine are a bit of a strange combo but they fit well together.  Imogene is ready for a new friend who will accept her as she is and not ask to many questions about her past and Maxine is also glad to have a friend who sees beneath the staid outfits chosen for her by an overprotective mother.

There’s the usual school ‘feeling’ about the novel but this is then accompanied by fey, creatures of the shadows – that really do lurk anywhere dark (including under the bed), -portals between closets and real ‘imaginary’ best friends not to mention other strange beings that live amongst us without our knowledge.  Put simply it’s a world that most of us can’t or won’t see.  We live our existences blissfully unaware of their presence and the hidden dangers that they sometimes bring.  This alternate universe plays a different tune to ours with strange ideas of right and wrong and strict codes to abide by.

I suppose reading quite a lot of urban fantasy this first foray into Newford didn’t really bring anything new for me to experience.  But, what I particularly liked about it was that the story isn’t all wrapped up in a school romance – which was a really refreshing change.  No love triangles, not dripping in teenage angst and, major bonus, a standalone to boot.  On top of that Charles de Lint has a lovely writing style that is simple but engaging.

There was a lot in here that put me in mind of different fairytales or previous stories and I think CdL acknowledges this on occasion – for example he mentions the fairytale of the Elves and the Shoe maker and this story gives that a bit of a new twist.

On the whole a very enjoyable read and even though these books are not that easy to come by I will certainly return to the world of Newford.  If you enjoy this you might also want to check out some Holly Black or Melissa Marr.

Also – totally fickle I know – but I do love this cover!

The Blue Girl

The Blue Girl


12 Responses to “The Blue Girl by Charles de Lint”

  1. Grace

    Oooh, a Charles de Lint novel that I haven’t read yet! I love the Newford series; his characters are so engaging. Every time I read a story set in Newford I wish that I could move there.

  2. lynnsbooks

    You’ll have to tell me which ones you recommend. These are tricky to get hold off and there’s only a very short range at the library – I bought this one but I think there was only one other Charles de Lint on the shelf! The Library have The Trader and another couple and that’s all.
    Let me know.

    Lynn 😀

    • Grace

      “Forests of the Heart” is my favorite thus far. 🙂

      • lynnsbooks

        Looks good. Definitely not in my bookshop or library – should be able to order off line though.
        Lynn 😀

  3. "Auntie"

    WOW! I’ve read this a while ago! Ahead of you. How about that? -gigggggles-


    • lynnsbooks

      I know – I’m such a slacker – what did you think? Have you read any of the other Newford novels? I’m quite interested in picking up some of the others if I can get hold of them.

      Lynn 😀

  4. Genki Jason

    I bought The Onion Girl by Charles de Lint in a discount books shop years ago but I still haven’t read it. I’ll have to give it a go now.

    • lynnsbooks

      Oh, I want to read the Onion Girl – it’s another from Newford. Apparently there are quite a few stories set in that particular town.
      You’ll have to let me know if you enjoy it!
      Lynn 😀

  5. Carl V.

    Big fan of Charles de Lint and I too love the cover on this one. I haven’t read it yet, which is something I can say about many of the Newford books. I’ve read several but de Lint has been so prolific that I have several more to read. And I must say that does not disappoint me in the least.

    • lynnsbooks

      He’s a lovely story teller and Imogene is a good character to read. I will definitely read some more of his Newford Books. I wouldn’t mind trying to start from the beginning really but his books are very difficult to get hold of over here.
      Lynn 😀

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