05 July 2013

{Book Review} After Iris

By: Me My Shelf And I | 05 July 2013 at 12:07 AM | | | | |

 

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After Iris
Author: Natasha Farrant
Pages: 272
Release Date: July, 11 2013
Publisher: Dial
Reading Level: Middle Grade
Rating: 4.5 Birds

An unforgettable middle-grade debut that will steal your heart Blue Gadsby’s twin sister, Iris, died three years ago and her family has never been the same. Her histrionic older sister, Flora, changes her hair color daily; her younger siblings, Jasmine and Twig, are completely obsessed with their pet rats; and both of her parents spend weeks away from home–and each other. Enter Zoran the Bosnian male au pair and Joss the troublemaking boy next door, and life for the Gadsby family takes a turn for the even more chaotic. Blue poignantly captures her family’s trials and tribulations from fragmented to fully dysfunctional to ultimately reunited, in a sequence of film transcripts and diary entries that will make you cry, laugh, and give thanks for the gift of families.
With the charm of The Penderwicks and the poignancy of When You Reach Me, Natasha Farrant's After Iris is a story that will stay with readers long after the last page.

I’m happy that After Iris was Natasha Farrant’s first US published book, because I adored the Gadsby family to ruins. Quirky and heartbreakingly bittersweet, After Irisfollows the course of the Gadsby family after a tragic loss through film transcripts and diary entries (which worked out fantastically) of the twin all on her own now, Bluebell Gadsby. Even middle grade novels have the strength to pull the strings of my heart and bring me to cheer on the bonds of a broken family trying to mend themselves back together again. And having the book take place in London was a great scene change from most novel I read taking place here in the states.

Flourishing with personality, the family is absolutely unforgettable. Between the flower names Mr. and Mrs. Gadsby named their children by; the Babes—Jasmine and Twig—obsessed with the care of their rats that steadily multiply throughout the novel, and even enjoy driving around in remote control cars; Flora, the dramatic older sister with a purpose for dying her hair outrageous colors and her love for her iPod; Bluebell, filmmaker extraordinaire with a heavy burden to bear; Zoran, the Bosnian au pair who tries to maintain authority over the rambunctious Gadsby children while their parents are away at work, and happens to be my favorite witty and hilarious character of the whole book; and then there’s Iris, Bluebell’s twin who had passed away three years prior to the novel leaving a Iris-shaped hole in the family. The cover does a wonderful job of hitting the key points of the characters in their own frames, and I love the cartoon versions of the characters. Blue’s frame has to be my favorite out of the whole cover.

The quirks of the family are what I absolutely adored. In their own way, each sibling and parent is going through the motions of the loss of their family member in their own way, while Blue believes she is the only one still holding onto Iris’s memory. But Blue is not the only character in the book that misses her sister terribly. Friends she had and even people who have never met Iris, but hold onto the memories about her miss her.

The mystery of Iris, who she is and what happened to her back in December all those years ago, throttled the book into a jumpstart for me. Through Iris is the main focal point of the novel with the reader constantly wondering what had killed her, how the family copes with their loss through all the dysfunction and chaos the children get themselves into makes the novel stronger.

Through the funny moments, the sad realizations, unexpected friends and lost crushes, Blue and her family come to cope with love and loss, humiliation and realization, friendship and hardship, and some trips to Grandma’s. After Iris is more than just a middle grade novel in my eyes. I laughed out loud and I felt the urge to cry. These characters have personalities that I found real and flawed, but still fantastic. They surprised me, showed me their strength and opened up their sensitive sides. And I couldn’t ask for a better book with better characters or a better premise, because After Iris was pretty damn near perfect in my eyes.

FIND NATASHA FARRANT:
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4 half birdsnew

Courtney

1 comment:

  1. Currently reading this book and loving it! great review.

    ReplyDelete

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