By Author / Illustrator
Lori Ann Stephens
Suspense & Thrillers
14-year-old Bluebonnet Andrews is on the run across the Republic of Texas. An accident with a gun killed her best friend but everyone in the town of Blessing thinks it was murder. Even her father - the town's drunken deputy - believes she did it. Now, she has no choice but to run. In Texas, murder is punishable by death. There's no one to help her. Her father is incapable and her mother left the state on the last flight to America before the secession. Blue doesn't know where she is but she's determined to track her down. First she has to get across the lawless Republic and over the wall that keeps everyone in.
On the road she meets Jet, a pregnant young woman of Latin American heritage. Jet is secretive about her past but she's just as determined as Blue to get out of Texas before she's caught and arrested. Together, the two form an unlikely kinship as they make their way past marauding motorcycle gangs, the ever watchful Texas Rangers, and armed strangers intent on abducting them - or worse. When Blue and Jet finally reach the wall, will they be able to cross the border, or will they be shot down in cold blood like the thousands who have gone before them? Some things are worth dying for.
Imagine a world where everyone wears a gun, by law, even children. This is the everyday life for 14-year-old Bluebonnet Andrews, living in the independent Republic of Texas. Her father is the deputy, but he is also an alcoholic, a reality Blue deals with all by herself. She has not seen or heard from her mother since she was a young child.
In typical teenage style, Blue is starting to question her life and the society she lives in and abides by. A tragic accident which leaves her former best friend dead from a shot fired by Blue's gun sees her in jail, where a chance encounter with another suspected felon, Jet, proves fortuitous. Blue decides the best she can do is go on the run with the aim of leaving Texas - a crime punishable by death.
As she sets out, she encounters Jet - now also on the run and trying to exit Texas - and the two girls set out on a thrilling but fraught journey together. With frequent threats from Mother, the marauding motorbike gang and extensive corruption within the legal departments trying to track them down, there are a lot of tense moments throughout the book. It contains some graphic violence and resultant injury.
This is a hauntingly well written novel; Lori Ann Stephens has an individual style which makes it a compulsive read. It is most definitely an older reader's book with topics such as gun control, abortion, rape and LGBT, but fundamentally women's rights woven throughout.
334 pages / Reviewed by Sharon Bolton, school librarian
Suggested Reading Age 14+