EVERYWHERE BLUE by Joanne Rossmassler Fritz #CYBILS 📚🎶

ya verse novel fritz

Right after we launched our book playlist feature, Joanne Rossmassler Fritz contacted us to share the Spotify playlist her son created for her book EVERYWHERE BLUE. Riya describes it as “stunning.”  


By Joanne Rossmassler Fritz

Holiday House

Winner – Poetry
2021 CYBILS Awards

The Book

Young Adult
Climate Change, Family, Growing Up, Mental Health, Music, Mystery,
Realistic Fiction

Everywhere Blue [is] a lovely, lyrical novel in verse that begins with Maddie’s favorite kind of day, “a symphony of sameness.” Unfortunately, that day quickly changes when she learns that her brother, away at college, has gone missing, a mystery that nearly tears her family apart. Fritz offers a sensitive and age-appropriate treatment of difficult themes in a way that is accessible to middle-grade readers. She weaves together musical references, explores mental health, and highlights environmental issues, all in the context of complicated family dynamics. The blues of music, nature, and mood interact as that shift in “sameness” forces Maddie and the rest of her family to see themselves through different eyes and to begin to make changes.

Beautiful poetry provides a constant undercurrent of music, through both the happy and the sad parts. As a detective who is starting an investigation about Strum talks with Maddie, he asks about the dog, Gizmo, thinking he is hers. “He’s Strum’s dog,” I say, my voice wavering, a tremolo. “But he sleeps in my room now.” In another musical thread, Maddie’s struggle and triumph with the oboe show her growth of self-confidence, touching on all the ways she is growing up. Maddie’s voice is genuine and clear, and amidst her confusion, angst, and suffering, her earnest and loving essence shine through.

In addition, Everywhere Blue does a beautiful job blending themes of family dysfunction, a neurodivergent protagonist, and Earth’s environmental/climate crisis. The earth is not in harmony, and neither is Maddie’s world, but readers will love her faith that her missing brother is somewhere out there. Seeing her work things out even when there isn’t a lot of support will be inspiring for middle-grade readers who might also be feeling alone in the world. Maddie’s voice telling us her view of things will find readers who think “That’s me (us)” as they consider their own personal friendships and family relationships– both the good and the bad in all shades of blue.

Blurb by the 2021 CYBILS Awards Poetry Panel, Round 2


The Music

Everywhere Blue is a beautifully woven story of Maddie, a young girl navigating different relationships and discovering more about herself in the process. Music themes are intertwined throughout the story, and this playlist comprises all of the music referenced in the book (plus some of my personal favorite pieces that spoke to me for this book.!

With the author’s permission, we have blended her son’s Spotify playlist with songs Riya chose to complement the book.

The Girl

Riya Fernando

Riya is thrilled to be able to combine two of her favorite things: books and music. She is an avid reader who can often be found with her nose in a murder mystery while listening to contemporary piano music, her favorite genre of piano music to listen to and play. She was introduced to CYBILS Awards through her mother, Category Chair and CYBILS Awards Board Member, who helped Riya cultivate her love for books. She hopes that others will love these playlists as much as she does!