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I just devoured After Iris by Natasha Farrant and oh my goodness it was lovely. Twelve year old Bluebell (her parents named all their children after plants as an homage to their forgotten hippie days) is one of 5 kids. She and her twin sister Iris were inseparable until 3 years ago when Iris was killed. Now her family seems to be falling apart - both of her parents have jobs that keep them away for weeks at a time, her older sister suddenly has pink dreads, and her younger two siblings need more. Zoran, their au pair, is wonderful but everything seems to be spiraling out of Blue’s control.
Can I just say that there is nothing that drives me battier than bad parenting. I wanted to sit these two parents down and remind them that while they are dealing with Ivy’s death SO ARE THEIR CHILDREN. THEIR FOUR LIVING CHILDREN WHO LOVE THEM AND NEED THEM AROUND. But that’s part of what makes this book so great - I cared so much and so deeply about all these people and can’t wait for the copies that I ordered for my library to arrive so I can start giving it to patrons.
This book will be great for fans of Reel Life Starring Us (both main characters are aspiring directors who are dealing with big family and social issues), Looking for Red by Angela Johnson (both main characters are dealing with the death of a beloved sibling) (also oh my goodness I love that new cover! So much better than the dated cover I’ve got here at my library. Maybe that one would circ more - hmmm), orEach Little Bird that Sings by Deborah Wiles (both have that sort of intense, poignant feel that pulls you through and leaves you crying in the break room at work even though nothing especially traumatizing has happened yet).
(Many thanks to Netgalley for the ARC)