Farrant, Natasha. New York: Dial, 2013. 9780803739826
Quantitative Reading Level: There is no reading level set for this book set. The interest level is for grades 5-8.
Qualitative Reading Analysis:
I would rate this book as Middle Low on the “Text Complexity: Qualitative Measures Rubric for Literary Text”. The narrative structure is fairly simple but the format of a movie script and production may confuse the readers at first. The language is contemporary. The story does take place in England but there are few cases where readers would even notice. There is a lot going on as the family works to recover from the death of Iris and find their own place in the family.
Bluebell’s twin sister Iris died three years ago and the family has never been the same. Flora, the oldest is rebelling, Bluebell has withdrawn behind a camera, Mom works and travels all the time, Dad also travels and is secretive, and the two Babes – Twig and Jasmine barely remember. This story explores the family dynamics and especially how Bluebell (Blue) learns to go on living after Iris. There is quite a bit of drama with the older sister Flora and her boyfriend Joss who also happens to be Blue’s “crush”. Can the family reconnect and be happy once again or will they continue to drift apart?
This was a pretty interesting book. Bluebell and her family have all drifted apart after the death of Iris, Bluebell’s twin. There is rebellion, escapism, misunderstandings, fear, and anger. The author did a good job of revealing the inner turmoil of the characters and showing how a family in pain can hurt each other deeply without meaning to. This would be a good book for kids whose families have gone through emotional situations.
Subjects/Themes: Desire to Escape, Death, Family, Coming of Age
Iris – Sister who died 3 years ago
Bluebell – Iris’s twin who has withdrawn and hides behind her camera
Flora – Oldest sister and who rebels as a way of dealing with her sadness
Jasmine – Youngest sister
Twig – Only brother
Mom – Works too much and often travels, escapes to avoid dealing with her sorrow
Dad – A professor who is working on something but is secretive about it, he is gone a lot
Zoran – Au pair who watches the kids while the parents are gone
High Interest Annotation:
How does a family cope after the death of a beloved sister and daughter? How can they survive after Iris?