Fire Colour One

Jenny Valentine

HarperCollins

9780007512362

July 2015

paperback

This is SO good! Absolutely up my street. An economically written YA novel with wryly observed characters and an original storyline that is emotionally engaging to a degree that more overblown, in-your-face writing can never reach.
I want Wes Anderson to discover it and make a movie of it.
Sixteen-year-old Iris has long been estranged from her father, until she is taken from America by her mother and step-father (the shallowness of these two is both mercilessly and totally believably depicted) to visit him on his deathbed.
But not before she has met the most amazing boy called Thurston around whom life becomes magical and positive.
Iris is not a happy teenager. She has taken to lighting fires of various magnitudes.
The tone and story arc of the book cannot be faulted. Valentine is an expert at writing dialogue, and needs to be in the long heart-wrenching scenes between the dying art-expert father and his estranged daughter.
This is what YA fiction used to be like before the days of rampant fantasy and vampire romance.
It has immediately become, like M. T. Anderson’s Feed, one of my favourite young adult novels of all time.
You know, sometimes those straplines speak the truth: “A bold and brilliant novel about love, lies and redemption,” says the back cover. Believe it, buy it, read it.

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