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Fire Color One

Review

Fire Color One

Jenny Valentine is a British children’s and young adult author residing in Glasbury-on-Wye, Wales. She is best known for her novel, FINDING VIOLET PARK, which released in 2007 and received the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. Her works typically release first in the U.K., and a year later in the U.S.A. FIRE COLOR ONE is her newest novel, releasing in the U.S.A. in January 2017.

FIRE COLOR ONE follows Iris, a fire-loving 16-year-old with a complicated family history. The novel starts off abruptly at a funeral for Iris’s father. The entire story rewinds and tells everything that has happened in Iris’s life up until that heart-breaking moment.

Iris’s mother and stepfather are not the best parents, and Iris recently had a fallout with her best friend. Nothing is going right for Iris when her parents force her to leave the U.S. to go to the U.K. to visit her rich, dying father who she has always been told abandoned her when she was a baby.

"I would recommend this novel to readers who love art and readers who know little about it. Teens who enjoy reading about tough topics, journeys and relationships will love FIRE COLOR ONE."

FIRE COLOR ONE is not what I expected it to be. It was much faster than I expected and covered a pretty small section of time. I found it interesting that Iris lived in the U.K. and the U.S., it made for a more intriguing novel culturally, and I think the author could have explored that a little more. Iris’s mother and stepfather were awful, and they made me feel so bad for Iris. What redeemed her relationship with her parents for me were the snippets of her relationship with her best friend, Thurston, and the newly forming relationship with her father that develops over the course of the story. There are a few twists thrown in that were somewhat predictable but necessary for the story to come full-circle.

FIRE COLOR ONE greatly revolves around art and how it can bring people together. Iris and her father find that one of the ways that they can form a relationship and relate to each other is through discussing art. I have not read a YA novel that includes art as its focal point, and that makes FIRE COLOR ONE unusual. I do not know much about art history, but I learned some interesting facts while reading this.

This novel was a journey, and to get the full effect of everything in it, you have to make it all the way to the end. Overall, Jenny Valentine crafted a thought-provoking, intense, and empowering read that young adult readers are bound to enjoy and learn something from. I am certainly glad I picked this novel up. It is not my usual read, and it is a great break from typical YA contemporaries. There is no romance or high school drama like what is expected from YA.

I would recommend this novel to readers who love art and readers who know little about it. Teens who enjoy reading about tough topics, journeys and relationships will love FIRE COLOR ONE.

Reviewed by Grace P., Teen Board Member on January 30, 2017

Fire Color One
by Jenny Valentine

  • Publication Date: January 31, 2017
  • Genres: Family, Fiction, Young Adult 14+
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Philomel Books
  • ISBN-10: 0399546928
  • ISBN-13: 9780399546921