Monday, April 28, 2014

Review: The Blue-Haired Boy by Courtney C. Stevens

The Blue-Haired Boy by Courtney C. Stevens
HarperTeen, available now
Reviewed by: Honorary Sis Sarah P.
The Sisters Say: An exciting, well-crafted short story

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.

HarperTeen Impulse is a digital imprint focused on young adult short stories and novellas, with new releases the first Tuesday of each month.

There's a lot to get excited about in this short prequel to Ms. Steven's debut. I reviewed Faking Normal when it came earlier this year. And I had some issues with the plot. But this quirky prequel was fantastic.

Now, I'm always a little in awe of people who write short stories. Without the length of a novel to flesh out themes and surprises, crafting a poignant short work seems tricky. But Stevens has done it here, serving up plot, emotion and a twist in 8 short chapters. The entire story lives inside a single day in Bodee Lennox's (the brightly-dyed boy from Faking Normal) life. And what a day!

Funny, weird, random and sad. This little story is all those things, and all in under an hour. And I'm loving the idea behind HarperImpulse and these shorts. This one is $0.99. (A quick search of "HarperTeen Impulse" on Amazon turns up titles at $1.99, too.) There isn't always time to dig into a novel. And if a story is as high-quality as this one, then sign me up.