The Mystery of the Colour Thief
The colour is draining out of Izzy’s world. Her mother is in a coma, following an accident. Her father is struggling to cope. Her best friend has dumped her in favour of "cooler" company. And all the while, a mysterious and menacing figure invades her dreams at night, apparently removing colours from the mural she and her mother lovingly painted together on her bedroom wall.
Then Izzy befriends Toby, a new neighbour. Their trips to a nearby river to visit a family of swans offer some much-needed distraction, and Izzy starts to finds some solace. Can she make sense of the past, manage her present and retrieve the colour she needs to look forward?
The book paints a convincing picture of a harrowing time in a young life. The author’s interest in juvenile mental health issues is clear and we see Izzy learning the value of time and talking in processing trauma. This is by no means a gloomy read, offering ample humour, hope and optimism.
Toby (who happens to be a wheelchair user) plays a particularly positive role; their friendship (along with a subplot involving a small cygnet) also offers subtle opportunity to caution the reader against jumping to conclusions about what sort of help might be best offered to those apparently "in need".
Meanwhile, the slow unravelling of the truth behind Izzy’s mother’s accident keeps the reader absorbed to the end.