After Iris [NOOK Book]

Overview

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 ...
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After Iris

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Overview

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. 

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Emma Brockes
There is a pleasing mixture of the modern and the old-fashioned in After Iris…The story is told through a combination of Bluebell's written journal entries and transcripts of the video she is shooting, a gimmick that gives the action a sense of immediacy and makes the page inviting, perhaps, for reluctant readers…Farrant is very good on the vagaries of children's relationships with each other…
Publishers Weekly
Twelve-year-old Bluebell Gadsby’s family has been collapsing ever since Blue’s twin sister, Iris, died three years ago. Blue’s father is working on the other side of the country, and their mother is traveling overseas, which leaves new au pair Zoran in charge. Between Blue’s older sister Flora’s rebelliousness, her two younger siblings’ antics, and the family’s pet rats, which live in the garden of their London home, Zoran has his hands full. Each chapter begins with a brief transcript of video diaries filmed by quiet, lonely Blue (“My plan is to record my life through words and images”). Then 16-year-old Joss moves in next door, saving Blue’s social life and becoming her first crush, which is complicated when he begins dating Flora. Literary scout Farrant, making her U.S. debut, balances Blue’s growth with wry humor and light moments (as when the rats make a chaotic visit to Blue’s classroom in remote-control race cars). Blue’s struggles are handled with honesty, and she makes a rewarding journey from observing her life to living it again and accepting what she has lost. Ages 10–up. Agent: Catherine Clarke, Felicity Bryan Associates. (July)
The New York Times
"Bluebell Gadsby is the kind of heroine who brings to mind Cassandra Mortmain in ‘I Capture the Castle’ or Harriet the Spy…”
The Wall Street Journal
"At once funny and painful and tumultuous, with a deus-ex-machina ending that will make readers want to cheer."
The Horn Book
"The grand finale...is one of the best Christmas scenes ever."
Newsday
"Natasha Farrant gives a full, engaging portrait of a complicated family through the eyes of Blue Gadsby, surviving twin and aspiring filmmaker."
BCCB
"Bluebell is poignantly marked out as the observer in a crowd of actors...readers who enjoy quirky family stories may want to follow the Gadsbys’ journey to reconciliation."
Booklist
"They used to be a unit: Flora, twins Bluebell and Iris, Twig, and Jasmine. But now Iris is dead, and the family is falling apart. Dad spends most of his time in Warwick—perhaps writing, perhaps having an affair (possibly both, of course). Mum jets around for her new job. The kids are being watched by male au pair Zoran. And Blue, almost 13, is watching from behind her video camera, trying not to get involved with life when it can hurt you so badly. But life has a way of drawing in even the reluctant. When wild, sweet Joss moves next door, he captures her heart, only to break it after becoming involved with Flora. Still, there is skateboarding to be learned and friendships to be reignited—and a family to be repaired, but that’s a more complicated process. Farrant offers a story that is a mix of madcap fun and heartfelt emotion. The characters, adults and children, are flat-out wonderful, fully realized, and unique. The movie “scripts” that frame some of the chapters can distract, but the narrative quickly returns to Blue’s voice, which captures events better than video."
VOYA - Sherri Rampey
Death is a hard fact of life that comes to us all. For twelve-year-old Blue, the tragic death of her twin sister, Iris, has left a huge scar on her family. Blue captures each individual family member through her camera lens, and photographs how death has affected each one of them, including herself. From the sassy sister to the workaholic mom, this tragic yet comedic novel may help a reader through a time of grief and loss. While Farrant developes quirky and likeable characters, the voice and pace of the story is a bit slow and bumpy in the beginning. Farrant captures the personality of Blue beautifully. The loss of a sibling is overwhelming, but the loss of a twin would seem to be even more devastating. The grief that Blue feels extends through her camera and into her journal. She withdraws into herself and becomes the victim of bullying. It is only through self-discovery and self-forgiveness that Blue can finally move past the death of her sister, and help her family move on with the grieving process. This is a good read for those who are dealing with loss, but who are also in need of a good laugh. Reviewer: Sherri Rampey
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Bluebell Gadsby's twin died three years ago, and her life has not been the same since. In her quirky British family, her loving parents are absent most of the time and struggling with their own grief; her younger siblings, Twig and Jasmine, are adamant about their interests and wishes; and her older sister, Flora, is trying hard to be sophisticated and rise above the family chaos. Twelve-year-old Blue is obsessed with recording her life; and her narration is a mix of her diary entries and screenplay transcripts from her videos. Reminiscent of Hilary McKay's "Casson Family" series (S & S), this title features an unusual live-in babysitter, a no-nonsense grandmother, and assorted neighbors and school friends who contribute to the idiosyncratic events that the protagonist relates. Blue's pain at the loss of her sister is vivid and heart-wrenching, but never dire. Emotions both drive the plot and provide the humor. Blue has a crush on a neighborhood boy, who in turn is entranced with Flora. While the story is not particularly unique, it contains refreshingly entertaining characters who are sympathetic without being melodramatic. A realistic slice of life that bubbles with wit and charm.—Carol A. Edwards, Denver Public Library, CO
Kirkus Reviews
In this keenly drawn family drama, Blue, sure that no one else still misses her twin, Iris, turns a camera on her workaholic parents, tempestuous older sister, Flora, and younger siblings Jasmine and Twig, the Babes, who entertain themselves with race-car–driving rats. Blue captures the action in film transcripts and diary entries written in breathless, run-on sentences that reflect the family's spinout. With their parents absent, possibly divorcing, their doctoral-student baby sitter struggles to maintain control. Flora dyes her hair pink, the Babes get lost, and even Blue gets in trouble when a cute bad boy convinces her to seek revenge against a bully with a stunt involving the rats. A typical early adolescent, Blue has a sharp eye but is believably blind to everyone else's sadness. As she comes to terms with her own grief, she grows ever more aware. But it takes another near tragedy to rally the family--although, as readers will have come to expect with this hapless crew, miscommunication and mayhem, even nature itself, almost keep them apart. With her first children's book, Farrant has created a wounded, flawed cast of characters and depicts them with great compassion. The situations are a mix of hilariously funny and poignantly touching. Ultimately, loyalty, forgiveness and love reunite them, and the closing scene is lovely: The camera is turned on Blue, and readers see her laughing. An uplifting, memorable read. (Fiction. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101611005
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 7/11/2013
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 412,209
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 920L (what's this?)
  • File size: 914 KB

Meet the Author

Natasha Farrant is a literary scout specializing in children’s and young adult literature, and she has published three novels in the United Kingdom. This is her debut middle grade and her first book published in the United States.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2014

    Anony,ous

    This book is good so kudos to natasha farrant ,but my problem with this book is it has alot of cussing. Also why did they wait til the end to tell you the cause of Iris' death. Other than that this a real heart felt story. :•)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2014

    Ok

    I think ill read this book love the cover

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2013

    Nobody really reads this book!

    Which is annoying, BTW. I am still the same girl who posted that post on the bottom. But seriously, this is a book you'll never, never, never, EVER forget. Once you read this book, you will be dying to read this book over and over again until you can't stop. And just to let you know, this a realistic fiction book. Me, I am more, SO MUCH more into fantasies, but I decided to give this book a try. Please, please, please, please, please read this book!!! This is now coming from an anonymous 7th grade girl.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews

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