Ramona Blue review: thoughts from a bisexual reviewer

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ramona blue.pngRamona Blue

by Julie Murphy

read in June 2017

format: hardcover

This review contains minor spoilers!

When the blurb of Ramona Blue was released, it caused a lot of controversy. Just have a look at the reviews on this website. I for one was very excited to read a book about a girl who thought she was a lesbian, but later learnt she was bi. Unfortunately, that’s not what Ramona Blue is about. Though this is written by a bisexual author and she says on social media that Ramona is bisexual, it is never once stated in the book that she is. That’s my main issue with this book and I’ll get into that later.

Let’s start with the things I did like. I love how the author mentioned every character’s skin colour. Often, authors only mention the skin colours of characters that aren’t white, so this was a nice change. Among the cast of characters, there’s a lot of diversity: gay, biracial, a character with two moms, etc. And I really appreciated Freddie telling Ramona how sneaking onto private property isn’t fun when you’re a black kid, because that’s how you get shot.

Unfortunately, I have many issues with this book. I don’t speak for all bisexuals, but I want to be honest and share how much this book has hurt me. If other bisexuals did enjoy this book, that’s totally fine. I just didn’t.

It honestly baffles me that this book is written by a bisexual woman, because throughout the book, I had the feeling as if it wasn’t considered a valid sexuality. As if Ramona was now straight and no longer gay, or that she was still a lesbian, but her boyfriend was an exception. The author has shared on social media that this character is indeed bisexual, so why wasn’t that included in the book? Why do I have to read this “I don’t like labels” bullshit instead? At one point, the phrase “Even straight people are a little bit gay” is used. That’s so biphobic! BI PEOPLE EXIST! That sentence went unchallenged, so I can only assume the author agrees with that.

Freddie is very ignorant when it comes to Ramona’s sexuality. She sometimes gets a bit annoyed with him, but overall, she always feels as if she was the one who shouldn’t have snapped and “at least he’s trying”. Reading this book was therefore very hard for me. I understand why the author would include homophobia because it does exist, but for it to go unchallenged… That’s not okay.

Therefore, I couldn’t excuse the things Freddie said and did. Because Ramona didn’t call him out, he didn’t exactly change. Naturally, I couldn’t root for their relationship, which is a huge part of what this story is about. Am I supposed to excuse his homophobia because he doesn’t have any gay friends? Hell no.

Freddie was the one who initiated the first kiss with Ramona. As far as he knew, she was a lesbian. Of course sexuality can be fluid, but it should’ve been her who took that first step, not him. She told him she was gay, yet he still kissed her. Do I have to point out how wrong that is?

Obviously, I wasn’t a fan of Freddie. Which sucks, because I liked him at first. But I just can’t excuse his behaviour. Like Ramona told him months ago that she didn’t want to get a senior page in the yearbook, so he bought it for her as a surprise. He’s pushing her to do things she doesn’t want to do, but she thought it was sweet and kind. She lets him get away with everything!

Moving on from their relationship, I have some other issues as well. As a Young Adult author, I believe you are responsible for teenagers. It’s good that Freddie used a condom and the sex was definitely consensual, but he went in there without any “prep” beforehand and I just cringed.

Furthermore, the word “crazy” is used an awful lot and at one point, Ramona says “I’m a human being. I think about sex”. I found that quite acephobic.

A common theme in many books is a character who doesn’t want to go to college, but does go in the end because “it’s the only way to turn their lives around”. I find that harmful, because not everyone gets a scholarship, because it doesn’t work out for everybody. You are not a failure if you decide not to go to college, so we should see this more often in fiction!

I have even more issues with this book, but I’ll end this here. I’m so very disappointed in this book and I know people will disagree with me, but I cannot help how I feel. I never expected a bisexual author to make me feel so invalid, but here we are…

Unfortunately, reading Ramona Blue was a hurtful experience, so I wouldn’t recommend it. Yes, this book has received positive reviews, but I wouldn’t want anyone to get hurt like I did.


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15 thoughts on “Ramona Blue review: thoughts from a bisexual reviewer

  1. anjulietepohe says:

    I’m so sorry you had to read this. It sounds good in places, but definitely harmful for young bisexuals still figuring things out.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. unplottablegirl says:

    thanks for writing this thoughtful review! not the first i’m hearing abt the problems in this book, either. when it first got criticism from lesbian readers on GR, so many ppl rushed to defend it without reading it first, claiming it’s bi rep… but if it’s not on the page then i don’t consider it bi rep at all, and i’m glad i didn’t pick it up expecting that. 😐 (lol sorry if i sound annoyed, i just remember a FLOOD of ppl on twitter rallying behind this “bi book” and i just! i feel so misled!!)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. jamishelves says:

    I’m bi too and I’ve been so wary of going into this book because I’ve been hearing stuff like this about it. I think I should just take it off my TBR because it doesn’t sound like it’s gonna make me feel good 😦 Such a shame because there is such a massive lack of bi books in ya

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kourtni @ Kourtni Reads says:

    I’m sorry this ended up being so hurtful for you 😦 I’m bi too and was really looking forward to reading this. I still plan on reading it soon (especially since I bought it already), but I definitely appreciate the heads-up on some of the biphobic elements. Thanks for your review ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Catherine Stanley says:

    I actually enjoyed this book a lot I just have problems with the fact that she said she was a lesbian and she didn’t see boys in her future in the beginning to falling in love with Freddie half way through. It kind of just makes lesbianism look like a phase. But I guess this book is based off of the authors personal experience with her sexuality. It probably would’ve been better if it started out with her questioning her sexuality. But I’m asexual and I didn’t find the everyone thinks about sex part offensive, but that’s just me.


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