After Iris

Natasha Farrant. Dial, $16.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3982-6
Twelve-year-old Bluebell Gadsby’s family has been collapsing ever since Blue’s twin sister, Iris, died three years ago. Blue’s father is working on the other side of the country, and their mother is traveling overseas, which leaves new au pair Zoran in charge. Between Blue’s older sister Flora’s rebelliousness, her two younger siblings’ antics, and the family’s pet rats, which live in the garden of their London home, Zoran has his hands full. Each chapter begins with a brief transcript of video diaries filmed by quiet, lonely Blue (“My plan is to record my life through words and images”). Then 16-year-old Joss moves in next door, saving Blue’s social life and becoming her first crush, which is complicated when he begins dating Flora. Literary scout Farrant, making her U.S. debut, balances Blue’s growth with wry humor and light moments (as when the rats make a chaotic visit to Blue’s classroom in remote-control race cars). Blue’s struggles are handled with honesty, and she makes a rewarding journey from observing her life to living it again and accepting what she has lost. Ages 10–up. Agent: Catherine Clarke, Felicity Bryan Associates. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/10/2013
Release date: 07/11/2013
Paperback - 260 pages - 978-0-14-242691-3
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