A quirky series to start with

Hi everyone, this first review post is about a series of books I stumbled into by chance. Without giving away too much; I’d like to say that if you enjoy stories of quirky families, the inner thoughts of a tween and a funky style, this is definitely for you!!

The Diaries of Bluebell Gadsby

light blue and white cover. six blue oval shapes with people inside. middle one of girl with camera and ghost-shape of another girl. Text After Iris in blue and purple at bottom.
Bluebell Gadsby series

Title: After Iris

Author: Natasha Farrant

Genre: Fiction – contemporary

Publication details: Dial Books; NY, 2013

ISBN: 9780803739826  (Hardcover)

What this book is about: Blue Gadsby hasn’t felt more invisible now than she had ever been when her twin sister Iris was alive. She tries to hide in plain sight or behind the lens of her video camera. Enter an eclectic Russian au pair and a troublemaking boy next door into the mix – each who actually see Blue for who she is. And now Blue is actually enjoying the attention. Before long, Blue and her whole family are able to see how their lives will go on – even after Iris. Told through an intriguing series of diary entries and video transcripts, this is an unforgettable story about the power of family and memory that is both heart wrenching and heartwarming.

My review: A really good read!! I had actually forgotten this story so I found it a few months ago and re-read it. Turns out that when you read something for a second time, it feels like you’re getting to know them all over again!! Yes, it tells of how one family picks up the pieces after losing a child, but the description of Blue’s school dramas and the pet rats balance out the sadness with scenes that are hilariously funny!! I loved the change of pace and narrative that the diary entries and video transcripts gave to the overall storyline. It added an additional layer to the story as it was either Blue’s inner voice or through the lens of her camera!! A great story and lovable characters!!

My rating: 5 ⭐

young girl in blue and red flowery pyjamas holding book under arms sitting on bed. text at bottom Flora in love in purple. Natasha Farrant in black.
Bluebell Gadsby series

Title: Flora in love

Author: Natasha Farrant

Genre: Fiction – contemporary

Publication details: Faber & Faber; London, 2014

ISBN: 9780571297979  (Paperback)

What this book is about: The second heartfelt instalment in this beautifully-crafted, sassy series that will make you laugh and cry. As much as Bluebell wants a normal life she knows that, with her family, that’s asking the impossible: Mum is acting strangely, Dad is ‘liberating’ the pets and her sister Flora has fallen deeply and desperately in love. Will anyone notice that Blue is having problems of her own?

My review: Another excellent, witty and hilarious installment of Bluebell Gadsby’s diaries! I love this madcap family and the things they get up to. This time Mum is pregnant with a baby and Flora’s new heartthrob has problems which spill over onto the Gadsby’s. Zoran has a different role here and we see the younger two, Twig and Jas, in more hilarious adventures!! Just love Natasha Farrant’s writing. She’s such a great storyteller. I look forward to other titles she writes!!

My rating: 5 ⭐

Additional notes: Natasha Farrant has published two more stories to this series titled ‘All about Pumpkin’ and ‘Time for Jas.’ Sadly I was unable to locate these two and read them before going into lockdown but I do know that they are available. They were both published by Faber & Faber in 2015 and 2016. If anyone does find them, please let me know!!

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