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Best Books 2011!

It's been more than a year since Somewhere in Blue hit the bookshelves and honours are still rolling in. In July 2011, Somewhere in Blue was chosen as one of the best books of 2011 by the Canadian Children's Book Centre's annual publication, Best Books for Kids & Teens 2011. It was also one of the few young adult titles awarded a red star, which signifies a title of exceptional calibre. Look for the publication on newstands -- it's an excellent reference tool for parents.

Somewhere in Blue was also selected for the 2012 New York State Reading Association's Charlotte Award Committee's "Suggested Reading List."

Another big vote of confidence has come from the Ontario Library Association. Somewhere in Blue was named to its Young Adult Best Bets List of 2010. Only 10 books are given this honour by the OLA's Canadian Materials Committee. Books are judged on both their literary merit and their appeal for young adults. Their words: "A beautifully written story about the healing power of love and friendship." Check out this site for more details.

I was honoured to be the guest speaker at Kappa Kappa Gamma's Initiation Banquet, held at the University Women's Club by the Toronto Alumnae Association. It has been exactly 30 years since I was initiated into this wonderful women's fraternity, and I so enjoyed meeting the many young, bright university students (was I ever that young?) as well as the vibrant alumnae. I shared a little of my path since graduation, and the details behind Somewhere in Blue.

Bloggers have been picking their year-end favourites, and Somewhere in Blue has made the 2010 Top Ten List of the blog In Between The Lines. Check out this link for more. This particular blogger used to live in Toronto and loved the local angle of the book.

Not long ago I visited St. John Catholic School in Toronto's Beaches neighbourhood. I spoke to the Grade 8s about Somewhere in Blue, and how to build a strong sense of place in their own writing. Big bonus: These students live exactly where the book is set, and they had some inventive ideas for places where I could set more action for these characters. Thanks to all the students for being such great listeners! Photos are posted here.

Late last year, I was chatting with visitors to the Teens Read Too Book Club Blog about Somewhere in Blue, Scorpios, Colin Firth and Shakespeare. Intrigued? Check out the interview I did with the blog here and scroll down to the October 28 entry. I'm still dreaming about the ideal meal I got to create!

By the way, you can learn lots more about Somewhere in Blue by reading an interview with me, posted recently by my publisher on the Lobster Press Blog. Click here for the interview. And for photos of my appearance at September 2010's Word on the Street, click here.


Sixteen-year-old Sandy is reeling from the recent loss of her father to cancer. A growing gulf separates Sandy and her mother, a self-absorbed banker who appears to be moving on quite nicely. Sandy's best friend Lennie is struggling, too, determined to rise above her bar-hopping cougar of a mom. Gentle romance from the boy next door cushions fragile Sandy, but when family secrets threaten to shatter both mother-daughter relationships, Sandy's relentless downward spiral shuts out her friends when she needs them most.

Set amid Toronto’s Beaches neighbourhood, its leafy streets, clanging streetcars and lakeside boardwalk a vibrant urban backdrop, Somewhere in Blue explores loss and loneliness through four strong female characters, as they reach out for connections and strive for individual happiness.

October 28, 2010: Check out where I was the featured author of the day and interviewed by young adult literature enthusiast Jennifer Wardrip on the popular blog Two lucky blog posters won copies of Somewhere in Blue!

November 1, 2010: I'll be joining a book club in North Rosedale, Toronto, to share my thoughts on the writing of Somewhere in Blue.

December 6, 2010: I'll be presenting to a group of Grade 8 students at St. John Catholic School, in Toronto's Beaches neighbourhood. We'll be talking about sense of place in the book and in their writing -- perfect, since these students live exactly where the book is set!

January 17, 2011: I'll be speaking about my career and book at the initiation banquet of my university fraternity, Kappa Kappa Gamma, at the University of Toronto Women's Club. It has been 30 years since my own initiation into this great group of women.



"The characters are believable and realistic, and the author uniquely balances the voices of both mothers and daughters in a third-person narrative. They are multi-layered, complex and flawed, yet extremely compelling and realistic. The language is vivid and lyrical, casting a spell over readers, and drawing them deeper into the story. The dialogue is well-crafted and believable, and the plot moves at a swift pace ... In her debut novel, YA author Gillian Cummings has created a beautifully written and affecting novel that will find an audience with both teens and adults." -- Canadian Children's Book News, Fall 2010

"Complex mother-daughter relationships drive Gillian Cummings' first novel, a story of family secrets and the struggle to rise above grief...the construction of the characters is insightful, the dialogue fitting and believable...Cummings sets Somewhere in Blue in her hometown of Toronto, and a strong sense of place is evident throughout. Descriptions of the houses, streetcars, parks, and city life give this story subtle colour...In fact, the 'character' of Toronto becomes central to Sandy’s healing. Somewhere in Blue is a moving debut, and shows Cummings to be a strong and promising new voice in Canadian young adult literature."
Quill & Quire, May 2010

"The strength of this novel lies in the nuanced and believable depiction of the awkward silences and angry outbursts between Sandy and Vivian. Through this central relationship, Cummings deftly captures the conflicts that may arise within families as different individuals deal in their own ways with grief and mourning." -- CM Magazine, September 17, 2010

"There is such heart here. So many tints and shades of blue but all suffused with light."
– Tim Wynne-Jones

"Quiet, eloquent storytelling depicts how these four strong women from Toronto battle back from loss together in this multilayered debut novel … A poignant celebration of friendship and the mother/daughter bond that will appeal to teen and adult readers alike."
Kirkus Reviews, April 2010

"Each of the four women has needs that are not being met, and secrets they are holding close to their hearts … beautiful language and a running water-based metaphor sometimes illuminate the characters' pain ... readers will feel great compassion for Sandy in her depression and Lennie’s attempts to draw her out ..."
Booklist, April 2010

"In her entrancing first novel, Somewhere in Blue, Gillian Cummings addresses the topic of teen suicide with sensitivity and skill."
Montreal Review of Books, Spring 2010