By Sheila Sobel
Publisher: Merit Press
Genre: YA Fiction
April is alone in the world. When she was only a baby, her teenage mother took off and now, unbelievably, her dad has died. Nobody’s left to take April in except her mom’s sister, a free spirit who’s a chef in New Orleans–and someone who April’s never met. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, April is suddenly supposed to navigate a city that feels just like she feels, fighting back from impossibly bad breaks. But it’s Miles, a bayou boy, who really brings April into the heart of the Big Easy. He takes her to the cemetery where nineteenth-century voodoo queen Marie Laveau is buried, and there, April gets a shocking clue about her own past. Once she has a piece of the puzzle, she knows she will never give up. What she doesn’t know is that finding out the truth about her past and the key to her future could cost her everything–maybe even her life.
Color Blind is a story of a young girl that finds her life turned upside down at the sudden loss of her father. She also soon discovers that her family is hiding a secret. A secret that she hopes to uncover. The blurb promises mystery and hints at suspense. The cover art is simple and enticing with a befitting title.
Unfortunately, I found that there was very little mystery or suspense actually involved in this story. While the family history surrounding our protagonist April was the center of a looming secret, once revealed, everything began to slow down. What started off as a fast paced and promising read, began to come unhinged. For two main reasons the premise failed to succeed.
1). The mystery was exposed too early in the story, completely stripping away any sense of suspense. It is hard to push forward when the end results have already been unveiled.
2). As the family secret and history were uncovered, only the smallest amount of elaboration and details were provided. The history also began to feel repetitive. The same information was being recycled. The “secret” lost its excitment. April’s history is not pleasant. This could have been built upon and expanded, but it was not.
With stories centered around voodoo and “skeletons in the closet”, the possibilities seem to be endless. New Orleans is perfect for intriguing and unlimited world building. I was anticipating more of the unknown. I wanted dark and ominous. I wanted the rich history we have come to know of New Orleans. The construction and execution however, were very limited. I received neither.
The main protagonist was also major shortcoming for me. Understanding that she has suffered a large loss, I approached April with an open mind. In the beginning I easily excused the rude and reckless behavior as that of teenage angst and grief, but after a while it began to irritate and wear on me. I found myself unable to connect with her. In fact, several chapters in and I was growing to strongly dislike her. I also found myself losing interest due to the absence of development and growth among the supporting characters. There was no one for me to latch onto. I experienced no connection.
There was a love story happening within Color Blind, but it was your typical girl meets boy scenario. This was another aspect of the story that felt too cut and dry. There was no complexity happening. It did not feel like a contribution to the story, and I am not sure it was even necessary.
Color Blind missed the mark for me. There simply was not enough depth, and the story never seemed to truly evolve. It felt more like a middle grade read, which was not what I had hoped for. I feel like the marketing on this may need to be adjusted. The pace was slow, and this was 2 stars for me.