Armed with her mother's guitar, a knapsack of cherished mementos, and a pair of magical boots, Blue journeys west in search of her sister. When the devil changes the terms of their deal, Blue must reevaluate her understanding of good and evil and open herself up to finding family in unexpected places. In Devil and the Bluebird, Jennifer Mason-Black delivers a captivating depiction of loss and hope.
- ISBN-13: 9781419720000
- ISBN-10: 1419720007
- Publisher: Amulet Books
- Publish Date: May 2016
- Page Count: 336
- Reading Level: Ages 14-17
- Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.9 x 1.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-02-29
- Reviewer: Staff
In an exquisitely crafted celebration of music and magic, a young woman ventures across a haunted, unpredictable, and occasionally wonderful America to find her missing sister, who vanished after making a deal with the Devil. In order to save her sister’s soul, 17-year-old Blue Riley likewise makes a wager: the Devil gives her six months to locate Cass or both sisters’ souls are lost. Blue forfeits her voice as part of the bargain, and so, armed only with a guitar and a pair of enchanted boots, she sets out, encountering a diverse range of people, both helpful and dangerous. But the Devil moves in mysterious ways and constantly changes the rules, forcing Blue to keep moving and to think on her feet. As Blue encounters the ghosts of the road and of her past, she gradually comes to understand herself and her complicated, fractured family. First-time novelist Mason-Black delivers a subtle, delicate tale reminiscent of the work of Charles de Lint, a magical realist journey of self-discovery and hidden depths, with fascinating characters and a captivating narrative. Ages 13–up. Agent: Alice Speilburg, Speilburg Literary Agency. (May)
Making the ultimate deal
In a sort of modern retelling of the Faustian myth that legendary blues guitarist Robert Johnson achieved his success by selling his soul to the devil at the crossroads, Devil and the Bluebird follows the winding and heart-wrenching path of one young girl who’s trying to save her sister’s soul.
Blue Riley is willing to give up anything to find her missing older sister, Cass, who left to chase dreams of musical fame not long after their mother died of cancer. Blue finds the devil down at the nearby crossroads and bargains her soul to try to save her sister’s. She gives up her voice as collateral and gets only six months and a pair of vaguely magical boots in exchange.
Throughout her journey to find Cass, Blue meets all sorts of gifted and seedy characters. And as the devil changes the terms of their deal, she must re-evaluate her understanding of good and evil, all while hoping that a bluebird has a chance in hell of defeating the devil.
Debut author Jennifer Mason-Black’s prose is fittingly lyrical, and her narrative always takes the most devilish of turns.
Justin Barisich is a freelancer, satirist, poet and performer living in Atlanta. More of his writing can be found at littlewritingman.com.