Raw Blue is one of those books with a very apt title. It indeed is a raw book. It’s a book about finding yourself, dealing with or avoiding the past (whichever way you see it) and coming to terms with family differences. There’re a lot of reasons for Carly to be down but she has one escape: surfing.
Carly has dropped out of uni to spend her days surfing and her nights working as a cook in a Manly café. Surfing is the one thing she loves doing… and the only thing that helps her stop thinking about what happened two years ago at schoolies week.
And then Carly meets Ryan, a local at the break, fresh out of jail. When Ryan learns the truth, Carly has to decide. Will she let the past bury her? Or can she let go of her anger and shame, and find the courage to be happy?
For Carly, surfing is everything. She plans her life around surfing, and that includes her part-time job at the café where she works as a cook, even though she needs to earn the money to support herself. Cut off from her family because she dropped out of university, Carly is left to fend for herself. And fend for herself she does. Out on the water, she’s a loner. She doesn’t care much for interacting with other surfers. It’s easier not to care anyway since many guys look down on female surfers. The friends she does make, she doesn’t choose. But she feels safer this way, cut off from the world.
At first I didn’t really get Raw Blue. Trudging along Carly’s life was a little dreary. She was so negative and when she wasn’t negative, she was callous at best. She had little direction, so I didn’t even know where the book was supposed to go. In a way, it felt like Carly’s choice to distance herself from human contact extended to the reader as well. But as the plot unfolded, I started to see why she was the way she was and had she been any other way, I don’t think the story would’ve rang with such honesty and rawness.
In a way, I think Raw Blue is one of those books that had to be written because it portrays a side of life that isn’t always portrayed in books. Not with such heaviness. I liked that no part of the story was belittled or glossed over. There was no attempt to make things seem worse or better than they were. That’s something I appreciated because issues books often become all about the issue or try to gloss over the effort it takes to overcome such issues. Not Raw Blue. Raw Blue gives us a glimpse into Carly’s life, portraying both the highs and the lows, and anyone who’s looking for an NA book that isn’t purely preoccupied with sex and romance should definitely consider reading this book right here.