Myself in Blue by Renata Barcelos

myself in blue

Release date: June 2014

Synopsis via Goodreads:

Romance, redemption, and psychedelic rock in 1989.

Sunday Morning is nineteen and recently diagnosed with osteosarcoma. She finds it fair: a deathly cancer to pay for her sins.

The fourth of five daughters, Sunday could never overcome the jealousy she felt for her sisters, especially the youngest and her Rett Syndrome with all the attention she required. She knows her resentment and rebellion as a wayward teen brought tragedy to her family, but never learned exactly the extent. Self-exiled in Brazil living a hard life of penitence for five years, she finally feels it’s possible to come back and try to mend things.

Scott Goodwin writes bestseller biographies and always dreamed of writing about his idol, Grandma’s Eye’s vocalist, Iris Morning. The singer and her husband, Douglas Oshiro, have been reclusive since 1984, when their famous psychedelic rock band announced a surprising halt. Scott is thrilled when Iris finally agrees to let him write the book and even more so when she explains why. She hopes the bio will help finding her daughter Sunday and rebuild her shattered family.

It is Sunday, however, who finds Scott. Still too mortified to face her family, she offers her story to Scott in exchange for inside information about them. Scott has no idea how intensely the deal will change their lives when he agrees.

Through her own family’s history, from the first Oshiros and Mornings, WWII impact on her ancestors and the struggle to form the band despite Iris’ abusive stepfather–the chain of events that led to the band’s success, the birth of a new generation, and the night that changed everything–Scott will try to show Sunday that nobody is perfect, and perhaps everything happens for a reason.

Sunday and Scott may not have much time, with her diagnosis and the fact that she doesn’t feel worthy of redemption, but he will not give up easily. Scott has become Sunday’s only link to the past, and perhaps her only chance to have a future.

 
Renata F. BarcelosAbout the Author
Renata F. Barcelos lives in Brazil with her teenager daughter, Maria, constantly complaining about the heat and dreaming of moving somewhere snowy.
She has a Law Degree, but promises never to use it. She prefers to study and teach languages and to write. Facing a three-hour daily commute, Renata uses this time to listen to audiobook after audiobook, plot, and write. Sometimes she hurts herself walking and writing at the same time—forgetting to look where she’s going.
Her characters usually don’t respect her wishes, taking the stories to places she never imagined they could go; she loves it when that happens. Renata is always working on a new novel, and so far has three published books: Mean, My Sore Hush-a-Bye and Merge.
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Excerpt
“You know, being an immigrant runaway doesn’t pay as much as you’d think. I’m broke. All I had I used to buy my ticket home and some food. I’ve been around, trying to learn more about them, trying to see how things are.” She points over her shoulder to the back seat, where I left some older notes I didn’t need today. “So, you’re writing my mother’s biography?”
I only nod, with the increasing feeling that I’m inside a novel making me slightly dizzy.
“Would you like to have my point of view on it?”
“What?”
“My side, you know. What it was like being their kid, where I’ve been, things like that.”
When an offer is too good to be true, and too unexpected, one might feel like they are falling into a trap, but I still cannot stop myself from agreeing enthusiastically.
“Yes, of course!”
She nods solemnly, as if we’ve just sealed a deal.
“Okay, you can have it. But only if you agree to help me, to tell me how things are now, and if you don’t tell Mama I’m back. Not yet, at least.”
“What? I can’t do that!”
“That’s the only way. I need more inside info before deciding to reveal myself, and that’s where you come in. I’m really not ready to face Mama yet.”
“Come on, Sunday, be reasonable. You need a place to stay, you need your family! Your mother is really worried about you, and I don’t want to betray her confidence by hiding something so huge from her.”
“If you disagree I’ll go away and you’ll never hear from me again. I can do that, I have experience.”
It’s a difficult promise to make. I feel like I am deceiving Iris in an unforgivable way, and I’m not sure I’ll be able to live with that. But on the other hand, what choice do I have? I can’t leave Iris’ daughter on the street, in this condition. And I can’t simply go inside and announce that I found Sunday and then lost her again because I disagreed with playing on her terms.
It sounds like something Iris would not only understand but approve, and I imagine her telling me; do what Sunday says and keep her close. Try and convince her to go back to her family.
“Why did you decide to come back now?” I ask, afraid that I already know the answer. Iris told me Sunday needed her more than ever. That she felt as though her girl was in trouble. It isn’t difficult to see. “You’re sick, aren’t you?”
She nods slowly and swallows something, probably tears, before speaking.
“Actually, not sick. Wait. What’s your name again? You know mine but I never got yours.”
“Scott. Scott Goodwin.”
“Well, Scott, not just sick. Dying might be a better word.”
I stare at her, blood thumping in my ears.
“I’m dying, Scott.”
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Ani’s Review
This book was a love story. And not just one love story either. There were stories of lovers, soul mates, as well as brotherly and familial love but mostly it was a story about loving yourself. Loving yourself enough to forgive yourself for your many sins. As a child, Sunday Morning made some very bad decisions and had to live with them for five years without having a sounding board or anyone to really confide in. She so wanted to be the perfect kid but allowed herself to be bad and mostly enjoyed it until her bad decisions hurt her family. After that, she ran from the destruction she thought she caused. In the end, she was a victim that never had anyone tell her that’s what she was. Her perfect family was not perfect, at least not for her.
I had a few issues with this book but overall really liked it. It was interesting to hear from a 20 year old looking back at her childhood and coming to terms with the truth of her life as opposed to what she assumed was reality. Some of the dialogue was a bit forced  and the thoughts the characters shared was maybe too detailed but you were never uncertain about their point of view. In the end, I was actually hoping for a more tragic story otherwise a realistic book like this doesn’t quite add up. However, I really do love a happy ending so I can’t complain! Those of you who enjoy realistic, clean, new adult/ young adult stories should like this one. Especially if you grew up in the 80’s.

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