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Young Adult Fiction Coming Of Age

Beyond Blonde

Book Three Of The Series

by (author) Teresa Toten

Tundra Book Group
Initial publish date
Feb 2011
Coming of Age, General (see also headings under Social Themes), Emotions & Feelings
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2011
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 12 to 18
  • Grade: 7 to 12


The unpredictable and hilarious final book in the acclaimed Blondes series: In Beyond Blonde sixteen-year-old Sophie Kandinsky’s world erupts: Papa leaves home to get sober; Mama retreats within herself; her first love, Luke, is forced to get married; and even her refuge in basketball is threatened. To make matters worse, her own body betrays her at every single turn! Luckily, Sophie’s adored Blondes and audacious Aunties are there to help her navigate the cascading catastrophes and shocking secrets with humour and heart. Set in the 1970s and featuring addictive, vibrant characters, Beyond Blonde is the powerful, page-turning conclusion of a highly original series.

About the author


TERESA TOTEN won the Governor General’s Literary Award in Canada for The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B, which also won the American Library Association’s Schneider Family Book Award, and was chosen by the International Board on Books for Young People as one of its Outstanding Books for Young People With Disabilities in 2015. She is the author of the international bestseller Beware That Girl and the acclaimed Blondes series, as well as The Game, The Onlyhouse, and, with Eric Walters, The Taming. Teresa lives in Toronto, Ontario. Visit her online at and on Facebook, and follow her at @TTotenAuthor on Twitter.


Teresa Toten's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“[Me and the Blondes] is delightfully original, peopled as it is with uniquely hilarious characters and a quirky, down-to-earth protagonist. Readers can’t help but root for Sophie.” - Children’s Book News

“Wonderful, zany characters, laugh-out-loud humour, and common adolescent concerns make [Me and the Blondes] a book to be passed from one friend to another until all have enjoyed it.” - Brandon Sun

“[Better Than Blonde] is a delightful follow-up that may just surpass the original in brilliance and entertainment value.” - Ontario Library Association

“Young readers will fall in love with [Sophie’s] over-protective aunties … They’ll cry and laugh with her, and in the end celebrate her discovery that better than being one of the blondes is being Sophie Kandinsky.” - The Globe and Mail

Librarian Reviews

Beyond Blonde

While some readers will identify with stories that are set in rural areas of Canada, for a large number of readers these small-town settings will provide an opportunity to experience a completely different way of life. Yet a considerable number of our finest children’s and young adult novels feature modern urban landscapes. Teresa Toten’s Beyond Blonde, the third and final book in the series that began with Me and the Blondes, continues the story of soon-to-be-seventeenyear- old Sophie as she navigates the hurtles, heartaches and hilarity of her life in Toronto in the early 1970s. For Sophie, ‘home’ isn’t so much a landscape or a town as it is a memory: the recollection of a time when she and her Mama and Papa lived happily together under the same roof — before the drinking, before Papa went to prison, before she and Mama began the seemingly endless process of picking up and starting their lives all over again. Now, however, Papa is on the road to sobriety, Mama is desperately waiting for him to come back home to them, and Sophie still has her Blondes to watch out for her, to ply her with their various secrets and to always remind her of who she is and where she belongs. And, of course, there are the always outrageous Aunties!

While Sophie turns to her own inimitable blend of religions for comfort and security, she ultimately recognizes that home is where the heart is: right in the midst of the crazy collection of people who love her… Aunties and Blondes alike. While there are no rolling fields, magnificent ocean vistas or majestic cathedrals in Toten’s tale, she beautifully renders Sophie’s world of high school heartaches and family mayhem. She manages to portray the simultaneous ordinariness and outrageousness of it all in a story that is by turns heartbreaking and hilarious.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Summer 2011. Volume 34 No. 3.

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