After Iris

(2 reviews with an average rating of 5 out of 5)

Publisher: Faber Children's

Given a video camera on her thirteenth birthday, Bluebell Gadsby sets out to document her life and her quirky, bohemian family. Her parents have gone away leaving Blue, her older sister Flora, and her younger siblings to the care of Zoran the au pair. Then there's charming 'bad boy' Joss next door, not to mention their three pet rats, who may or may not be pregnant. Daily life is full of noise, chaos and drama - but underneath it all is Blue's profound sense of loss, following the death of her twin sister Iris a year ago. As the rest of the family try to bury their grief, Blue struggles alone with her guilt about Iris's death, and tries to come to terms with what has happened.

This gentle, moving but funny family story, is beautifully told through a combination of diary entries and transcripts of the videos Blue makes of those around her. Tender, sensitive and astute about the complex nature of grief, this is an emotionally rich novel that is nonetheless told with a delicacy and lightness of touch. With something of Hilary McKay's Casson family series, After Iris is an utterly charming story, and young readers are certain to be enchanted by the wonderfully eccentric Gadsby clan.

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