The unnamed narrator of this verse novel is an adolescent girl who lives in Hong Kong. Like many teenagers, she struggles with body image problems, which, in her case, manifests in eating disorders and self-loathing, denial and depression, and affect her interpersonal relationships, including with her family members and her friends. Blue Squared is unflinchingly honest in its examination of adolescence and its associated challenges, but it is also a sensitive and beautifully-worded portrayal of one girl’s struggle to continue living despite (and, perhaps, because of) everything and everyone.
Eleven-year-old Veer Prann runs away from his posh boarding school, where he was bullied, to Suryanagar, where his father is a forest officer. At Suryanagar, he makes friends with the forest guides and learns about the jungle. It’s a different world from boarding school, but nothing prepares Veer for the naked red-eyed girl he sees in a tree one day. The girl, whom Veer calls Medha, is a mystery, an intelligent and intuitive being who communicates with Veer through the psychic transmission of images. Afraid that she will become Suryanagar’s next tourist attraction, Veer must figure out whom to trust and how to save Medha from capture.
Wehia t’Doniyat, the eldest daughter of a knifesmith’s holding that specialises in ornamental daggers, wishes with all her heart to make a longsword like the one created by her great-grandmother. She journeys to the City of Swords to be apprenticed under her kinswoman, Hadana t’Tolani, the head of a powerful swordsmith holding. Among strangers and missing her family, Wehia must learn to curb her impatient and reckless nature to endure the hardships that come with being a swordmaker’s apprentice. But despite making a true friend at the holding and being accepted by Hadana, Wehia’s impulsiveness threatens to destroy her dreams of Fire Heart, the sword that sings to her.