Summary: Everywhere Blue
When Madrigal’s (Maddie) older brother, Strum, goes missing from his college campus, her musical family loses its harmony. Her French mother is distraught — broken for the first time as Maddie has never seen her. Her piano playing father doesn’t even touch his instrument, and her fiery sister retreats into a rebellious funk, drinking and partying, even though she’s only 16. Maddie tries to keep everything together: focus on her oboe lessons and compulsive counting that calms her mind. But when her parents leave to look for Strum and Maddie is left with Aria, things seem hopeless.
Maddie continues trying to manage school work, friendships, practicing her instrument, and maybe joining a new eco club at school. Eventually, though, with all leads looking dead-ended, Maddie just might have what it takes to find Strum. But can she find her way to him?
I didn’t know what to expect going into this book, but it draws you in quickly — albeit on a bit of a melancholic note. Maddie is a fascinating character with a vast internal world. I enjoyed living in her mind and watching her process her brother’s disappearance and her family’s near-disintegration, while coming of age in her own way, finding her voice, managing her triggers, and trying to reach her music goals.
The verse format also works brilliantly with this story, as does the huge musical influence that runs throughout. Maddie’s siblings, and Maddie herself, all have musical names. Her mom is a voice coach and her dad also teaches music. As the story progresses though, the author peels back the family’s cover story and we see that each child has their struggles, especially where the parents’ passion for music — and their desire for their kids to feel the same passion — is concerned.
Maddie also obviously struggles with anxiety and manifestations of obsessive compulsive disorder, although not diagnosed in the book. We see her mental health struggles as well as her coping strategies. Finally, there’s no way I could talk about this book without mentioning the strong environmental theme. Strum was passionate about climate change, much to his father’s chagrin. Eventually, Maddie’s involvement in advocating for the planet might be what draws her closer to finding Strum.
Overall: Everywhere Blue
Everywhere Blue is a poignant, moving middle grade verse novel about family, mental health, music, and caring for the environment. This debut novel is excellently written, suspense-filled, and highly engaging. While the topic of a missing teen may be triggering for some, the author handles the theme sensitively, focusing on Maddie’s challenges and the changes in her family. If you enjoy verse novels or books about music, you will adore this novel!
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I received an eARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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