by Phoebe Stone
Intermediate Levine/Scholastic 350 pp.
6/13 978-0-545-44360-9 $16.99
e-book ed. 978-0-545-52070-6 $16.99
Romeo Blue is the best sort of sequel: one you didn’t know you wanted but are ever so grateful to have. Its predecessor, The Romeo and Juliet Code (rev. 3/11), ended with British ex-pat Flissy content in sleepy Bottlebay, Maine, with the Bathburns — matriarch The Gram; flighty and sweet Aunt Miami; hunky young Derek; and Uncle Gideon, whom she learned is her father. It’s now 1942, the Coast Guard is patrolling for U-boats, and there’s still no word from Winnie (her mother) or Danny (the man she thought was her dad), who are Allied spies stationed in France. Life goes on for Flissy and co., even in the midst of such uncertainty. Her love for Derek unabated, Flissy is stung when he takes someone else to a dance. A welcome visitor is her young friend Dimples, an evacuee from England whose guilelessness is a breath of fresh air for the secret-harboring Bathburns. Another surprise arrival (no spoilers here, but it’s a good one!) upends Flissy’s expectations in ways that are breathtakingly complex. Stone manages the cunning feat of writing in a style both lyrical and propulsive, with short chapters impelling readers ever onward as the multifaceted story unfolds. The end of the book brings some closure, although, just as with The Romeo and Juliet Code, not everything wraps up tidily. Some characters remain absent, and some are irrevocably changed, a reminder of the devastation wrought by war.
From the July/August 2013 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.