La Vie Blues

ISBN: 2070552071
ISBN 13: 9782070552078
By: Han Nolan

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About this book

Despite her natural talent for singing, 6-year-old Janie knows deep in her heart that if you really want to sing and feel the blues, you gotta be black. Aren't the tapes of the "ladies"--Aretha, Etta, and Billie--that she listens to every night in the stinking basement of her first foster home proof enough of that? So the scrawny, blond-haired, blue-eyed child of a heroin addict changes her name to Leshaya, decides that her unknown father was African American, and shuts down all feeling; only allowing the sorrow of her hard life to escape when she opens her mouth to sing. Raised by addicts and drug dealers, Leshaya trusts no one and loves nothing except her music: "Didn't need nobody else. I could make love to my own self with that sound ridin' the beat." Finally, after surviving several foster homes, a harrowing heroin withdrawal, and an unwanted pregnancy, 16-year-old Leshaya finds a band and ends up with a single on the radio. But can even that be enough for a girl so hungry for love that she looks everywhere for it except the one place she's sure to find it--within herself?

Reader's Thoughts


I keep thinking Leshaya's black! But so far at page 141, I'm enjoying the book. Leshaya's insecurities and lack of maturity is starting to annoy me a little.I might be slow, but maybe why Janie decided to change her name to Leshaya was because she didn't like who she was. Her identity. Maybe that's why she keeps ruining things for people. But boy, is she selfish.Leshaya makes me think of a girl that is trying so hard to make herself happy(?) that she lies to herself and makes her beliefs come true. (To me it's like how Christians belive in God, ahem.) Like how she wants to be African American so bad, that even when the truth is in her face, she just continues to make believe and pretend she's African American anyway.It's quite sad, especially about the Paul thing. I thought finally everything will be okay. I cried when Leshaya sang to her mother, the song she created because of her. Honestly the book was just quite sad. Even the ending. She did what was best for her child, even if she couldn't be with her. I really wished she left the Jameses things at the front porch though, to let them know she's better now, that she's no longer the immature, messed up Leshaya.


Born Blue Review Some people don’t always have the easy, relaxed life. Not knowing your own father, always moving from home to home, and experiencing things a normal teenager never should. But this happens to be reality for some people.Take a journey through this tough lifestyle. It’s not a walk in the park. You can literally feel your gut wrench, not knowing what's going to be the end result. I’m not a bookworm by any means, but I was for this book! My hands were super glued to Born Blue, I just couldn’t put it down even if I wanted to. I guarantee anybody who reads this will fly right through it. This book is always going from one horrible situation to another. Let me tell you, you won’t even have time to blink! Get ready to ride the rollercoaster of emotions. 3..2..1.. blastoff! The main character Janie, who changes her name to Leshaya has a bold personality from early on. Singing is her passion, and no matter what that will never change. She said, “ I sung, and everything just felt alright again.” She has loved the attention since the day she was born. She grew up with Harmon in a foster home, and he is the only one in her life that really cares about her. Her mom has never been there in Leshaya’s life, she was always more interested in drugs than her own daughter. So after going from one foster home to another she goes and lives with a jazz band and believes she is living this glorious life. In her young troubled eyes, she has got it all. As if her life wasn’t already tough enough, tables took a turn for the worst. An average 13 year old girl is in middle school, hanging out with friends, and having a safe and normal life. But not Leshaya. She gets pregnant. But if she never knew better is she really the one to blame? The voice the author uses for Leshaya is very strong and stands out. The author writes the exact way that Leshaya would be talking. She does not speak correctly or use correct grammar, because she is not a tad educated. So she leaves off the g’s at the end of words. For example, talkin’ or sayin’.When you're reading like this you imagine her with an accent, which for me put me more into the story. If the author had not written like this and had Leshaya speak like that, the book would not be nearly as good as it is. This book is like a 4th of July fireworks show. Entertaining the whole way through never losing the excitement, and always keeping you interested, and the finale ends with a big, huge BANG! You will be on the edge of your seat while finishing. This book is amazing and will blow your mind into a hundred million pieces!

Christian Meneide

Our group likes the part when Janie got kidnapped by Mama Linda. Janie got kidnapped by her mom because her mom needed drugs so she sold Janie for drugs. One reason why we think this book is likeable because it has a lot of drama. Another reason why we think this book is likeable is because it has a lot of action. Janie kept facing difficult conflicts and running away from them. Last Janie got pregnant by a guy she doesn’t even know. This book is filled with mystery which makes you want to read more and finish the book. Our group dislikes some parts of the book because Janie can get very dishonest. One reason why Janie is dishonest is when she stole something at the James’s house and she lied about stealing it. Every time they asked Janie if she stole something she said no even though she did steal them. Another reason why we didn’t like the book is because Janie can’t take responsibility for her actions. Leshaya got pregnant and she accused Harmon of being the dad. The last reason why we dislike some parts of the book is because she deals with her conflicts by running away from them and not trying her hardest to solve them.


Brutney G., Sabriya A, Edna T., Aisha lFreshman EnglishMrs.Fae, Mrs. Campbell6/13/14Born Blue by Han Nolan Book Review In the fictitious novel, Born Blue by Han Nolan the main character, Janie faces hardship such as, getting involved with drugs, moving constantly, and becoming pregnant. Janie’s biological mother, Mamma Linda, was an influential role model in Janie’s life even though it wasn’t one best people to look up too in Janie’s case.The book was very likeable in many ways. One reason why the book was likable was because the main character Janie was determined to fulfil her dream. Another reason is because Born Blue relates to reality, young girls now a days can go through some of Janie’s life experiences .The final reason is because this book teaches you lessons about life, one life lesson was that we don’t recognize how similar our flaws can be to someone who already faced them. The book is not dislikable because many of the things that happen in the book can happen to anyone.One thing I dislike about the book Born Blue is that the main character makes the same mistakes over and over again and never learns from them. Another reason why I dislike the book is because Janie does drugs and she doesn’t listen to older people who want to help her. We also hate her attitude towards older people. She thinks that’s she’s better than everyone and that she knows everything about the world.The choice of words in Born Blue was a negative and rude slang. The mood in this book was gloomy, dreary, and marked with hopelessness. The dialect of Born Blue was a ghetto slang from Alabama. As people would say this book is an example of Ebonics type of language. The setting varied because Janie was constantly moving, she never had a stable home. All in all Janie went from an innocent girl that was scared to lose her best friend to a rude, annoying, misbehaved, girl with a horrid attitude in the end


** spoiler alert ** Born Blue By Han Nolan was really great because of all this girl went through like almost being drowned my her mom at four and then her mama being on herion. Also living with patsy and pete they treated Leysha and Harmon which was Leshyas best friend like they were pretty much dirt. And after everything she went through which Im not gonna tell you everything she still seems okay in the end but not gonna give that away either you will just have to read it to find out

Lisa James

This is in the YA category. Ultimately, it's rather sad because the ending leaves you hanging & you never know if Jane/Leshaya cleans up her act, & grows up to realize her dream of being a jazz/R & B singer, or whether she gets back on the drug merry go round she's been on. Given what she's already been through, her mother a heroin addict who had her removed & sent to a bad foster home, then kidnapped from the foster home by her mother on an unannounced visit & in essence, traded to her drug dealers for a free supply of her fix, where she was taken better care of then she was at the foster home, but ran away from when the couple was arrested for dealing & sent to prison, etc. She proved she could survive, & we are left hoping that through it all, she learned some lessons about herself that would make her a better person.

Stormye Downer

Born Blue is a book about a young girl whose name is Janie. She was put into a foster home because her mom had become mentally ill. Janie changed her name to LaShaya, was sold for drugs by her mother, had a child at the age of thirteen and went through many tragic experiences.Born Blue has been one of the most interesting books I've read.Many people will be surprised about the things this girl went through. This story will make you want to keep reading on and on. Once you finish you will be curious as to what happened after the story ended. This story has parts that will make you want to cry, over think, say "Don't do this!". This girl goes through it all and she was only fourteen by the end of the story.I recommend this book to someone who likes drama type books. Any person that a few graphic details won't upset you. This book gives you a thrive that makes you want to keep reading. Any person who likes to read about drugs, foster care, illnesses, etc. this is the book for you.


Reading this book reminded me of my troubled students. One thing for sure, parents make all the difference. I can tell lots of stories about my silver-spoon-fed students - those whose parents told them they don't have to worry about money the rest of their lives - and they are no different with Janie/Leshaya of this story. Janie grew up in foster care; her mother gave her up to an abusive foster parents. From the beginning there's always been someone who still cared for her, like Doris, the social worker who's assigned to check up on her from time to time. She's got a best friend in Harmon, who introduced her to 'the ladies' - the jazz greats Etta, Aretha, Odetta, Roberta - and made her sing. She could hit the right notes since she was little and people were struck by her youth when they turned around and see who sang.However, life hadn't spared her from bad parenting. The whole story took the readers to the downward spiral of Janie, reinventing herself into Leshaya, from an innocent 9 year-old kidnapped by a pair of drug dealers (her mom traded her for heroin) to a 13 year-old club singer who gave away her own daughter. At times people actually cared for her, but it had always been hard to trust people due to her upbringing, she ended up 'burning bridges' and either ran away or had herself kicked out.Some reviewers wondered how Leshaya failed to appreciate all the cares she received, but after spending time with middle-schoolers, I know that children has to be both taught and nurtured, and even when they thought they know everything about the world, they do not. Also, you cannot make a difference in someone's life unless you are willing to sacrifice yourself. It takes a long time for people to turn away from bad influences, especially when you've known these things growing up. Being a teacher means seeing a lot of different kids come and go. By the time kids reach middle school, they come with a lot of baggage, be it good or bad. I've been a teacher for almost 3 years, and sometimes I regret the way I acted toward some of my troubled kids, now going on to higher grades. Some kids have came up to me and acknowledged how my discipline have helped them in high school, but most just stayed their old same selves and made me wonder, if only I got to be their parents, I'd probably manage to change their bad habits. This book opened my eyes wider about being a good influence to people around you who need help. Sometimes you think you don't make any difference by helping someone in trouble, but as long as you do it because it's right, you've touched that person's life and maybe, just maybe, someday they'll appreciate it and touch other people's life because of you.Lastly, a word about the way this novel's written - it'd remind you of 'To Kill a Mockingbird' where the writer uses spelling and wording commonly found in the South, so please don't judge the book by its writing! And the way she ends the story, while it may exasperates some readers, I think it's a good way to end so we know that either way, Janie realized how this one decision may change the course of her daughter's life.


Janie, aka Leshaya, is a survivor; it is not as if she has any choice in the matter, since life keeps dealing her knockout blows. Born to a heroin-addicted mother, her childhood is spent in foster homes, passed around from person to person, few of whom take time to parent her. Her only salvation is music, for when she opens her mouth to sing, then and only then does Janie feel alive. Yet she looks everywhere for love: in food, in drugs, and always, always, falling in with the wrong man. Her mother kidnaps her, sells her for drugs, and yet somehow Janie keeps pushing on, sure that this is merely the hard road she must travel in order to find success. The book is told in first person with a heavy urban dialect. A tale of survival as gritty and harsh as any set in the wilderness.

Alexa Cruz

A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. First book to come to mind when I think of favorite books. Couldn't put it down. The words created vivid imagery. It makes you really think about the book.


Born Blue, by Han Nolan, is a young adult novel about a girl in foster care. It follows the story of her growing up, interweaving the importance of music in her life. The girl, Leshaya, has a troubled youth and adolescence. She is ill-behaved, stubborn, hateful, and completely lonely. She finds that the only good part of her life is music. It fills the spaces that were left in her soul when her mother abandoned her, when her foster brother was taken away, and when she found one day that there was no one in the world that she loved. Born Blue is a soulful tale of a girl with a prickly, spitfire personality, but a heart that falls deeply in love with what is good. This book left me feeling emotionally drained, but content. When I finished, I felt as though I were coming home at last from an arduous journey. This book is recommended for for people who may see themselves in Leshaya. We are able to learn a great deal about the consequences of decisions she makes. If you like a heavy, soul-searching read, then this book is definitely for you.

Jennifer Jederberg

A very indeaf book. you will never loose your consintration....cause i didn't....and in away it relates to our everyday life...only its more intense and theres more detail.This story is about a troubled young girl, named Janie, but She later changes her name to leshaya. In this novel, you will see how this young woman overcomes her obstacles and never gives up on her dreams. At only 4 years old, Janie is taken from her mother Linda and put into Foster care. I believe, since she told us this first, this event was her most significant memory and the beggining of her major troubles. She begins her story, by describing her very first memory. She fought through the water and thinks her mother is going to mad at her. At one point she thinks she is dead, but screams anyway, for her mother, who never came. She awoke in a dark room surrounded by strangers, and begs to see her mother. All she was told, was her mom was sick and is going to get help. She was sent to live with Patsy and Pete, her new foster parents. She desperatly wanted to be with her mother. When she finally saw her mom again, she begged and cried to live with her again. All her mother said was, " No you can't, Im sick again. Before I tell the whole story and spoil it for you, I will only tell a few more important parts. Well as I began to write this I told you, the narrators use of childrens language, such as the at the beggining she says " He cracked a bit of a smile, so I could see his lower teeth and they was kinda crooked. Janie also shows her immaturity. I thought about this and she was only four when her mother died, that is near the age children can speak sentenses. I wondered if she was educated, after the age of four. This make not make any sense to you, but it does to me. If that was the start of her pain and troubles, was it also the end of her caring about an education. When I lost my grandmother to cancer, what I used to find a top priority iun my life, ment nothing to me anymore. I gave up for a little while, maybe she did too? Though her mother is not diseased, she is from her life. Another part I found to be important in this novel, is she finds her most happiness in music. She dreams of one day being a famous singer. She knew the odds of living her dream were against her most of the time, but she refuses to give up on them. Her other happiness was the attention she had always craved, which she found in Harmon. Harmon was true friend, and the only good thing about with Patsy and Pete. Harmon is a black guy, witha tall and beefy figure. I found it to also be important that she fell in love with him. I found it amazing that when she decribes him, she throws out the fact that hes black and describes him to us saying "He got the friendliest face I ever seen in a person, too, witha bigsmile so fullof goodwill it could melt anybody's heart." This shows me, that Janie dosnt care about color what others say. Also she loves people for them and what what they have, not what they dont have. So does she live her dream in them end? Whell you have to read and find out, Ive told to much


I had a seriously hard time staying focused on the storyline and it wasn't because of the content itself. The jargon and phrasing that the story is written in was aggrevating. It painted a good picture of who Janie/Leshaya was supposed to be but it took all of my concentration to get past it to the actual story. It is however, if you can shift your brain to understand the improper grammar, an easy read. The morals of Janie/Leshaya are not very high and there are so many things wrong with her that are her own fault I cannot even feel sorry for her. If I hadn't been given the book, I never would have read it, and I honestly cannot say it was worth my time. It may prove helpful in deterring middle scholars from doing drugs, if they can catch on to that message through what I'm going to call 'the language barrier', albeit it still using English words. The reader might even be able to catch onto the "having sex at whim, unprotected, or while on drugs is bad" theme. There is even that phrase we used to be taught in school: "don't talk to strangers". Yes, there are some moral lessons in this book. They're hashed over so much in schools and society that they seem glaringly obvious to me, and therefore this book was a waste.I'm not going to say it was bad as a book, but in my opinion it did not interest me.One star for a decent storyline.Second star for not being a generic druggie teenager story.

Manny Mendoza

Born Blue was a bit of an odd book but somewhat interesting for me. It is about a girl who lives with a family that is not her real family, she loves laying on the floor and listening to old music. She doesn't know her mother that well because she is a drug addict. Her real mom hires Two people to adopt her and take care of her so her mom can see her more. This book was a bit tough to follow because a lot of things happened at once and the author jumped around a lot. But its unique plot definitely got me hooked and kept me reading, I always wanted to know who or what situation she was going to run into next. The vocabulary was definitely a bit tough for me and there were a lot of words on each page so it took me a while to read. Overall the book was odd but definitely unique. I would recommend this book that likes books that have plots that get you thinking and confuse you.


There's this girl named Jamie who loves and lives to sing. She grows up with a drug addict for a mother who eventually almost drowns her in the Gulf of Mexico. Then Jamie is taken into a foster home where she meets her future best friend, Harmon. Harmon and Jamie spend time together until Harmon is eventually adopted by the Smiths, an upper class black family. Then, one day, while Jamie is on her way home, she is kidnapped by her mother. Her mother takes her to live with a drug dealer named Mitch and his wife named Shelly. One day, Shelly takes Jamie to the mall where she sees Harmon. Harmon gives her his address and the two depart. Another unsurprising twist, Shelly and Mitch are arrested for posession of marijuana. Jamie takes their money and goes to Harmon's house and lives with his family for a year or so. Harmon has also loved to play the sax so he's in a church choir. Jamie joins the choir also and meets a boy who's 16. Jamie is only 12 at the time. The two run away together until they meet an asian man. This man takes them to some wierd party and they take ectasy. The asian man, Jimmy, drugs Jamie up and has sex with her. She eventually becomes pregnant but doesn't know it. Jamie and the 16 year old get busted by the police and Jamie is taken back to Harmon's house. Harmon's family yell at her and Jamie is sent to her room. Jamie steals a gold watch and a bunch of other stuff. Jamie then runs away and is sent to a clinic where she finds out she's pregnant. Jamie lives with a woman named Joy who takes care of her until she has the baby. Jamie runs back to Harmon's house, gets naked, and falls asleep in his bed. The next morning, she lies and says she's pregnant. She comes back with her baby and he takes her baby. She leaves again to see her mother who has aids. Her mother dies and she goes back to Harmon's house, looks at the happiness of her baby and leaves the stolen belongings in a sack anad hangs the, on the door and leaves.

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