Valerie O. Patterson

Beach background © 2009 Jupiter Images. Flip Flops © 2009 Getty Images. Clarion Books, imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009.

Fifteen-year-old Cyan, named after the color blue by her artist mother, feels blue in all its shades, when she returns to the Caribbean one year after the loss of her father, drowned in an inexplicable boating accident. Expected to play host to a potential stepsister, Cyan’s past and future seem colored by mystery. Did her mother drive her father away? If he killed himself, why didn’t he leave her a note to help her understand? And what is she to make of the ice bucket and shattered champagne glasses found on board, or the promises of information from the local rich-boy? As the gulf between her mother and herself grows, Cyan must explore the depths of the color blue—the blue of sadness, the ocean, the horizon, and herself—in this story of love, betrayal, and, ultimately, hope.

Short Story "Mr. Nakamura's Garden" published April 2017 in Malice Domestic Anthology Murder Most Historical.

Short Story "The Birdcage," published in Defining Gravity, Fiction by DC Area Women, edited by Richard Peabody, 2014

Operation Oleander
Paperback publication date May 5, 2015 (Book guide available on book guide page)

Hardcover published 2013

What do you do when something you intended for good goes terribly wrong? In the summer before ninth grade, thirteen-year-old Jess Westmark organizes her friends on Ft. Spencer Army base in Florida to collect school supplies for an orphanage in Afghanistan where their parents are serving in the US Army. The orphanage’s association with Americans, however, draws it under attack. The explosion shatters lives in Kabul—and across the world in Florida. Reeling from the impact, Jess struggles to respond. Her actions not only have implications for her own family and the strained relationship with her best friend, whose life has forever been changed by the attack, but also for her growing sense of responsibility to others—even strangers continents away.

The Other Side of Blue
Teenage Cyan returns to Curaçao one year after her father drowns inexplicably.


Selected Works

"Full of detail about Army life, Patterson's elegant prose brings readers deep inside Jess's conflicted point of view and the many stresses she is under, as she reevaluates her role as a member of a military family. -- Publisher's Weekly Junior Library Guild Selection 2013, VOYA Top Shelf Selection Middle School 2013
Teen Fiction
“A story tender and true...each word seems to shimmer.”
–Han Nolan, National Book Awardee

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