Thank you NetGalley and Amulet Books for providing an e-Arc in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: May 17th, 2016
Synopsis: Blue Riley has wrestled with her own demons ever since the loss of her mother to cancer. But when she encounters a beautiful devil at her town’s crossroads, it’s her runaway sister’s soul she fights to save. The devil steals Blues voice–inherited from her musically gifted mother–in exchange for a single shot at finding Cass.
Armed with her mother’s guitar, a knapsack of cherished mementos, and a pair of magical books, Blue journeys west in search of her sister. When the devil changes the terms of their deal, Blue must reevaluate her understanding of good and evil and open herself to finding family in unexpected places.
I have to admit that when I requested Devil And The Bluebird, it was because the synopsis with it’s mention of crossroad demons reminded me of the tv show Supernatural, which if you’ve been following me you might have noticed my slight, ahem, obsession. For those of you not familiar with crossroads demon folklore, these are the demons you can make a supernatural deal with. Unfortunately it also involves the giving up of your soul, and in Supernatural when your contract is up, you’re brutally killed by Hellhounds, who then drag your soul to Hell. Nasty huh? So, in this instance 17-year-old Blue is desperately trying to save her sister Cass who disappeared after making a deal with a devil. Blue makes a bargain: the demon gives her six months to find Cass and if Blue fails then she can collect both sisters’ souls. Of course, as is often the case with demons, this one pulls a sneaky trick on Blue. While Blue sets off on her journey with her guitar and a pair of magical boots, she does so without her voice. Yep. No singing, no talking, nada.
Naturally the devil has other tricks up her sleeves as well, but I’m going to let you discover them on your own if you choose to read this. Blue is a picture-perfect tragically flawed character. She’s smart, loyal and stubbornly determined. She has more love in her heart than she realizes. Mourning her mother deeply, Blue will do whatever it takes to reunite with her sister which gets her into some pretty awful situations. As she makes friends and allies on her journey, she also learns some of different types of evil that are out there, and I’m not talking about the paranormal kind. Throughout the book Mason-Black does a beautiful job with Blue’s voice which rings with clarity and sincerity. The secondary characters, of which there are quite a few, are richly drawn. Each one, no matter how brief their role, is a fully realized person. I fully believed that all these characters who walk in and out of Blue’s life, also have lives of their own. While some of them show that greed, selfishness, indifference and cruelty can take many forms, they also show the same for kindness, compassion and love. It’s these last three that allow Blue to continue on her quest. Alongside the paranormal elements that are in the story, there are also many real-life issues explored including: loss of a parent, teen runaways, transgender teens, drug abuse, homelessness, domestic abuse, and sex trafficking. It amazes me that the author was able to include all of this in a 336 page novel without once slowing the pace down. Devil And The Bluebird is a lyrical and poignant debut that despite its touching on some of the uglier parts of life, still manages to be a beautiful redemption tale. Because of the mature themes I recommend this to older teens and adults. I also think it would be a perfect novel for a book discussion group. And now for some reason I’m feeling an overwhelming need to binge- watch the Winchesters.