Vince Ford's "A Handful of Blue ' is a short novel written specially for teenagers. Similar to many, other teen novels, the common themes in the Handful of Blue are survival, friendship, family, obstacles/difficulties, and often many unforeseen consequences for the characters to triumph over.
The main characters are Jeremy's family and his friend Eddie. Jeremy is a boy who is still trying to find his true self and what he could do to help his family. In this novel Jeremy performed couple of serious accidents, besides that he likes to go fishing and the usual work in the farm. Eddie is usually a cheerful person, but has yet to learn to speak at the right time which makes him a funnier character.
The tale is about a family who are at the moment experiencing extreme financial difficulties. Not only that, but it seemed that also mother nature seemed to intervene at every turn as summer had came earlier and drier than any in the Makorori Station could have anticipated or ever experienced.
The summer was so severe that the land had become arid, causing the grass to completely stop growing and in the process bring an end to the cattle's staple diet. Also, rumors of a cyclone building caused the people to be concerned and immediately tried to find out if this is true. Many did find out later on though, that it was the truth, which caused even more trouble for Makorori Station. There were some good outcomes that people presumed, one of them is the idea that the dreadful summer would finally end and hopefully some water would come out of the cyclone storms.
But now a new problem arises as they can't seem to manage their finances and including the drought, their cattle were not eating well, which usually cost more if they were fatter. And then things began a down-hill slope from there on as things went worst for Jeremy. Reported by his sister Tessa to his parents for something Jeremy did not purposely execute, he was unjustly grounded for a period of time, banned from fishing, and was set a set of chores to follow. Burning for vengeance as he swore he would get Tessa back, he didn't get his chance until the time when he was working in one of his chores. He saw Tessa's favorite pet as the perfect way to settle the scores, and so disposed of it in the simplest, convincing way that it was an accident. He never knew what hit him next. Somehow, some way, Tessa later on discovered that Herman her pet wasn't there, she caused Jeremy a run for his trouble as she told on their parents. He was also loathing yielding something that he treasured the most, which made it more unbearable.
Wasting very precious resources and damaging their car in a bizarre way were added to his records of strings of accidents, it was a nightmare for Jem. Soon after, a strange unlooked-for event occurred, as dozens of whales beached themselves. Immediately the conservation agents arrived, and tried their best to control the peculiar circumstance. Gathering volunteers, the agents taught what they can to take care of the whales, but the ever lingering danger of the building cyclone worried them. If by a chance it overruns the beach, then by no choice, the wellbeing of humans come first, and if it means disposing the whales before the cyclone, then so be it. Another twist took place, a chance to finally ease Jeremy's family's financial problems. Opportunities like these come only rarely and usually carry changes that could change one's life, but another obstacle lies in the way; they must not fail this, or otherwise all of Jem's family's hard working would be for nothing.
Some of the features I liked in this story were the heaps of twists and turn of events, each one as unsuspecting and unforeseen than the last one. Often there were some laughable pieces, because of the characters' queer way of thinking and their humorous actions. The plot was nicely written as the situations just gets thicker and thicker with each accident, and the characters doing things the hard way to get through their unhappiness and grief.
To conclude, this novel is fairly good, riveting plot, interesting events and often funny scenarios. Although, I do not think this is sort of ideal book for teenagers, who often go for more violence, adventure and mysteries. I neither hated it nor like it, although I admit though the novel was well-set out, and would rate it 6.5/10.